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Spindle's End Paperback – January 5, 2010
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Although the entire novel is well written, McKinley's characterization of Rosie's animal friends is exceptionally fine. Observations such as "...foxes generally wanted to talk about butterflies and grasses and weather for a long time while they sized you up," will spark reader's imaginations. It won't be hard to persuade readers of any age to become lost in this marvelous tale; the difficult part will be convincing them to come back from McKinley's country, where "the magic... was so thick and tenacious that it settled over the land like chalk dust...." Highly recommended. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Why? Just saying that it's a beautifully written novel isn't enough, I guess. It combines some elements familiar from early McKinley works (the unconventional hero(ine), the surprising spin on well-known stories) with aspects of the later (beautiful, lyrical prose, a surprising (yet satisfying) ending). But all of these elements, familiar as they are, combine to create a novel that is unique. If you've enjoyed anything by Robin McKinley, buy this book. You'll find something to love.
Also--and this isn't a part of the plot at all, so it's not really a spoiler--I was very happy to read that Lissar and Ossin are still happily raising fleethounds.
McKinley has returned to the lighter touch evident in "Beauty" so this book can be recommended to readers of all ages. Books from McKinley are often years in the waiting for her fans. This book was well worth the wait. For a completely different treatment of the same tale, I also recommend Jane Yolen's "Briar Rose."
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely. The reading was enjoyable, the plot suspenseful. There were funny and sad moments, and the new, somewhat conversational tone of "voice" McKinley uses is quite wonderful. (If you notice, since she's been in England, her expressions and spelling have become decidedly more British.) As always, her plotting and pacing are superb, and her nods to other novels and stories brought a smile to my face. It took me a while to realize why such a satisfying story left me feeling...vaguely DISsatsified; I think it's because it was a little too familiar.
All of you reading this should know by now that this is based on Sleeping Beauty, so I won't bore you with plot details. The main character, Rosie, was lovelable and suitably un-princesslike; but then, so was Harry (of "The Blue Sword"), Beauty of "Rose Daughter," and especially Aerin (of "The Hero and the Crown"). I don't object in the least to having a strong female protagonist -- indeed, that's partly why I love McKinley's books. But in this case, I felt always a little distant from Rosie, possibly because we don't get her viewpoint until halfway through the book (but not even at a chapter break, which was one of the occasionally awkward viewpoint shifts). (Incidentally, I also felt that for as long as we had Katriona's viewpoint, we never really got to know her.Read more ›
Peony is actually much more of a traditional Sleeping Beauty--meek, beautiful, skilled in the feminine arts, and somewhat passive. Rosie is an active, callused horse doctor who ultimately takes on the traditional prince's role, with the help of her friends Katriona, the blacksmith, and some very remarkable animals.
Have no fear, "Spindle's End" is not a feminist rant. Men get some very nice walk-on roles and the only really evil personage is Pernicia who hovers threateningly throughout the novel:
"Perhaps I shall even come to her, in secret, tonight...and press her tiny soft hand against the spindle end..."
McKinley has created a densely magicked universe, shading over into cutesy only occasionally. Unfortunately most of the shading was in the first couple of chapters and I almost got clogged by the treacle and stopped reading. I was glad I didn't because this is a marvelous, non-wimpy reworking of the usual 'beautiful woman can do nothing for herself but wait passively for handsome prince' fairy tale.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A delightful retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Ms. McKinley has described a young woman coming of age and coming into her power very well. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Grace Troeh
Not what I expected, in a good way. The princess is born the curse is laid, but that's just the beginning. I expected to read a nice little reworking of a well-known fairy tale. Read morePublished 8 days ago by llunl
I read this book many years ago and just purchased it to share with my daughter. Great story. Robin Mckinley is a fantastic writer! I greatly enjoyed rereading this story.Published 1 month ago by Tessy Moon
One of my favorite books! Such a unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty.Published 2 months ago by Junsui
One of my favorite books by this author. We're working on reading it aloud as a family.Published 3 months ago by Kathryn
Even though it's a retelling of a classic fairy tale, the plot isn't predictable -- and neither is the ending. Read morePublished 3 months ago by A. Hoy
Sleeping Beauty, retold in a way that will make you wish for more fairy tales in your life.
I have read this countless times, to the point where I will open it up to any page... Read more
I love the story of Sleeping Beauty, so was a little surprised at the direction this story took. It wasn't long, though, before I was captivated by this unusual version of Princess... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer