“..Even among the other nerds who majored in folklore, Sleeping Beauty is nobody’s favorite. The romantic girls like Beauty and the Beast; basic girls like Cinderella; goth girls like Snow White. Only the dying girls like Sleeping Beauty.”
A Spindle Splintered is a spitfire of a novella. Here we are introduced to Zinnia Gray, a dying girl who is doomed to expire young. Because of this, Zinnia has been obsessed with the story of Sleeping Beauty since she was a small child, and has basically made that fairy tale her entire personality. On the eve of her twenty-first birthday, as she begins to feel her time running out, Zinnia finds herself thrust into a fantastical, impossible situation. Is she the damsel in this situation, or does she finally get to become the hero?
“It’s one of the rules for dying girls: if you like something, like it hard, because you don’t have a lot of time to waste.”
I really liked Zinnia as a character. She was in a truly terrible situation, and she often expressed her anger and depression and the hopelessness she sought to combat. And yet, even with everything she was dealing with, she never came across as morose or even whiny. Her situation seems inescapable, and yet she’s always on the hunt for an out. I also really enjoyed Charm and Primrose, the two major side characters in the book. They were well fleshed-out and multi-dimensional. Harrow has a way of making even bit characters, who have very little time on the page and sometimes disappear without even leaving a name, seem totally tangible and unique, which is one of the things I most appreciate about her work.
“I see her choosing now whether to make her love into a cage or a key.”
There’s something about Harrow’s writing that is simply magnetic. What makes this even more impressive to me is that her voice differs radically between projects, and yet it maintains that magnetism in a way that feels effortless. The voice she utilized in The Ten Thousand Doors of January resonated more strongly with me than just about any other book I’ve read in my entire life, and I firmly believe that it will always be one of my all-time favorites. The voice in The Once and Future Witches was still magnetic, but didn’t speak to me quite as deeply, and I found that A Spindle Splintered delivered a similar experience. I really enjoyed my time with the story, but I don’t see it sticking with me in the same meaningful way as Harrow’s debut.
“Maybe the universe doesn’t naturally bend toward justice either; maybe it’s only the weight of hands and hearts pulling it true, inch by stubborn inch.”
I can’t say much more about A Spindle Splintered without giving the story away, especially considering its very brief length. It was a wonderfully engaging and easily consumable book, which is exactly what I needed when I picked it up. As much as I love a good, meaty tome of a novel, there’s something to be said for brevity. While I didn’t adore A Spindle Splintered in the same way that I did The Ten Thousand Doors of January, I absolutely enjoyed it enough to pick up A Mirror Mended, the next novella in Harrow’s Fractured Fables series. If you’re looking for a bite-sized reimagined fairy tale with a satisfying combination of heart and teeth, A Spindle Splintered is an excellent option.
You can purchase this book from: Blackwell’s | Bookshop.org (Support independent bookstores!) | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible | Libro.fm (Another way to support independent bookstores!) | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide!)