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Spindle's End (Folktales)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,207 Ratings  ·  1,116 Reviews
All the creatures of the forest and field and riverbank knew the infant was special. She was the princess, spirited away from the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But the curse was cast: Rosie was fated to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a poisoned sleep-a slumber from which no one would be able to rouse her.
Paperback, 354 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Ace (first published May 22nd 2000)
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Kelsie Yes, all the 'folktales' are standalone stories. I don't know why they're being marketed as a collection, they're completely unrelated to each other.
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Jul 21, 2008 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Spindle's End (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty) is odd in a lot of respects, and therefore a lot of people aren't going to like it. To outline these:

1. Most of the book is narration. There is very little in the way of dialogue, even when it comes to things that most other authors would have left for characters to say.

2. It is hard to say who the main character really is. The person who you would assume to be the central character at the beginning is very peripheral by the end.

3. While based on a
Moira Russell
Oct 29, 2009 Moira Russell rated it really liked it
This was a really adorable book, altho I think you have to be in the right mood for it. When I started reading it I bogged down a little in an atmosphere which I found sort of Fucking Twee, and then I went back to it later and found it much easier to get into. I really liked the characterizations of Rosie and Peony, especially how they were both good characters without being wimpy or Mary Sues; and I really liked their friendship -- it's a v Chloe-liked-Olivia kind of book. It was interesting to ...more
Melissa Rudder
Mar 02, 2008 Melissa Rudder rated it it was ok
Robin McKinley's young reader retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, Spindle's End, smells good. It's made up of those yellowing pages that you run your fingers down and feel the soft fibers of, and as you thumb through the pages it fans your face with the invigorating smell of book. And that's probably the best part of it.

I read Spindle's End because I read McKinley's Beauty in seventh grade and can vaguely remember loving it. I didn't love Spindle's End. I did grow to love some of the charact
Mar 31, 2008 Jared rated it liked it
Spindle's End is a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. I love many of McKinley's other "re-telling" stories, like Beauty and The Outlaws of Sherwood. The first three-quarters of this book are no exception.

The characters are engaging. The description of life in the little community where Rose (Sleeping Beauty) grows up is so idyllic that you want the book to keep going just so you can read about the town.

Unfortunately, the last quarter almost does the book in. The magic in this book show
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 13, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fairy tale lovers
A fun, greatly expanded retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with Briar Rose going against stereotype by being a strapping young woman with a love for animals and the outdoors, and no regard for her beautiful blonde hair.
I really enjoyed the story until the confrontation with the evil fairy Pernicia. Then Robin pulls her familiar trick of a foggy vague battle and some unexplained magic to get us through to the end. Bad Robin!
Oh, well, most readers will forgive her. I, though, choose to dock her a sta
Aug 05, 2011 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This could have been an interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty. McKinley had some good ideas, but the plot rambled along at such a boring pace that it's hard to remember what they were. Long-winded and useless descriptions of every mundane thing you can imagine were a huge part of what bogged the book down. I think if it had been chopped down to 150 or 200 pages, it would have made a pretty decent story. At 400 plus pages? Not so much.

I also thought that the fact that her love interest was 20
May 28, 2012 Macha rated it liked it
this was really disappointing. especially after such a fine beginning, with the imaginative world-building, the detail on just everything gloriously written, and some promising characters. and she's clearly engaged in taking apart the fairy tale to take a close look, something that always gets my vote.

unfortunately, it doesn't last. too bad. that whole headlong flight of Katriona's with the baby, and how the animals buy in, it's just lovely; i settled in. but Katriona's issues fade into Rosie's
Jul 14, 2014 Shauna rated it liked it
There was much I liked about this book, and much I was frustrated with. First I felt it was too long. This is a bad sign. If the book is irresistible, I don't mind if it goes on and on. But this one was tricky, full of rogue magic that changed things willy nilly and was hard to control, characters that likewise changed prominence back and forth throughout the story, endless animal names without helpful reference points (how I am supposed to remember which was a dog, fox, cat, horse, owl, whateve ...more
Mar 29, 2007 Ali rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I grew up reading Robin Mckinley, and periodically like to revisit her works. While Beauty was the first book I read by her (and the first book I reread until the spine wore out), and her Damar books hold a special fascination for me, there is something about Spindle's End that keeps me coming back.

Maybe that's because Mckinley is more open with the workings of magic in this world; in other books magic is a furtive, secretive thing, like a wild animal. We get more of fairies and magicians and ba
May 17, 2010 Becky rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this book so few stars. But I honestly can't say that I enjoyed it. I actually skipped parts, and the darn thing was only 300 or so pages long.

McKinley is a good writer; she produces gorgeous and very funny prose, she's a master worldbuilder, and she creates believable characters and complex plots. I would have happily read the short story version of this novel. But I got bored at about the hundred page mark.

The reason I got bored is that this novel began with Rosie's birth (as
Jun 12, 2008 Gloryseeker33 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All ages
I have read a number of books by this author and really liked all of them, but this one is a standout for me. It is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but goes far beyond the limitations of the original tale. The author manages to create a delightful, suspend-disbelief magical kingdom and populates the story with fully rounded characters who are both entertaining and engage the reader's sympathies, along with a plot line that departs from fairy tale formula just enough to keep us guessing ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tween and teen girls, people that like fairy stories with grubby princesses
I can't believe I've not read this since I started using Goodreads!

I love this book, it's such a beautiful, gentle story, McKinley at her best. The plot is obviously based around the Sleeping Beauty fairy story, but really, it only starts like it (fairy curses princess to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 21st birthday).

McKinley writes a tale of a no-nonsense girl, Rosie who grows up in a small village, the guardian of two fairies, not knowing that she is the princess. She is the lea
Apr 18, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I read Beauty (retelling of Beauty and the Beast) by this author when I was at BYU and really enjoyed it. My friends Robin & Camille lent me this book and The Hero and the Crown (which I will read next).

This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It was great! It had a lot of depth and characters in it, plus some fun and sad/happy twists.

I love juvenile literature because it avoids the raunchy stuff that most adult literature has. This was not an "easy" read though. It was full of rich language
Aug 21, 2015 Stellarseas rated it it was amazing

Я ожидала, конечно, шо-то необычное в конце, НО ЧТОБ ТАК!
This is total comfort reading for me. Like being wrapped in a big fluffy blanket of fairy tales. Fairy tale retellings are the best. All the romance and fantasy with much less of the sexism.

The magic in this book is a little woojy, and maybe that was McKinley's intention, but it makes it hard for me to visualize the scenes that are mostly about magic. The setting the rest of the time is wonderful and easy to picture.

Evil contains the seeds of its own destruction. Family is less about blood than
May 23, 2011 Kat rated it really liked it
This book is an adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty legend. Imagine what would happen to a real girl if she were "blessed" with all of the gifts the fairies could imagine for her, and her gifts actually scared her? It was definitely an intriguing take on the story. As with all stories by McKinley, it made me think.
Jul 27, 2010 Ali rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have so much to say, and not much of it is good. Let's proceed from that statement, shall we?

1. This book is classified as a YA/Teen read. While many teens and young adults could read and even enjoy the novel, I'm surprised that it's not in the adult fiction section of the bookstore. (And by that, I don't mean the romance/erotica- maybe I should just say the fiction section.) Spindle's End is closer to Wicked in terms of length and made-up/fantastical words, so I'm not sure why one is fiction
Aug 01, 2009 Melody rated it liked it
Hypnotic, tangled and often impenetrable narrative. The briar roses that grow up around the sleepers in this oddly compelling retelling of the Sleeping Beauty legend are a good metaphor for how McKinley's words coil around each other in paths untraceable by me. There are lovely, memorable passages which exist almost independent of the story, one of which I think I'll keep forever.

"What you describe is how it happens to everyone: magic does slide through you, and disappear, and come back later l
May 07, 2008 rivka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has everything that was missing from the same author's Beauty -- not simply a retelling of a classic fairy tale, but a reimagining. The pacing is marvelous, the foreshadowing-without-giving-anything-away spectacular, and the ending brilliant.

The backstory of the fairies and the other supporting characters is lovely -- fantastic yet realistic. The depth of characterizations is excellent.

Absolutely marvelous!
Jul 30, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, lovers of fairy tales retold
Shelves: fantasy, ya, fairy-tales
I loved this book. Only the odd, disorienting shifts of chronology kept me from giving it five stars. In particular, I love the beast-speech--definitely a gift I'd like to have!--and the complete creation of a believable, realistic, and yet utterly fantastic fantasy world. I love books that make it easy to visualize the story, and I had no trouble at all finding myself in the world of this book.
Dec 17, 2014 Mallory rated it it was ok
My thoughts every five pages: "It's okay, you're slogging through, but it will get interesting and pay off soon." My thoughts every two pages: "Awh, that was well-written, and what an adorable idea. Can I stop reading yet?" It never compelled me to read. 350/420 pages in I started skimming, because I couldn't take the agony anymore. I almost dropped the book with a handful of pages left at the end because I SO. Didn't. Care. If a portion of the cute ideas in this book were put into another book ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Another of Robin McKinley's excellent adaptations of fairy tales, Spindle's End re-envisions Sleeping Beauty with a number of strong female characters and hardly any sleeping.

The bare bones of the well-known story are intact, with Princess Briar-Rose (who has 20 other names that come before that which I couldn't list to save my life) being placed under a curse at her Naming Celebration. Spirited away by a fairy named Katriona, the newly re-christened Rosie is raised in a tiny backwater town as a
Emily Snyder
Aug 20, 2011 Emily Snyder rated it really liked it
Spindle's End is one of those delightful fairy tale expansions, and an excellent addition to McKinley's bookshelf.


At the time of its printing, much was made of the fact that the final, IMPORTANT kiss came not only *from* a woman, but *to* a woman as well. Although the kiss is non-romantic, but practical (more like the fairy tale equivalent of the kiss of life), concerned parents need not worry overmuch. However, in the wake of the social changes happening in the world today, parents of
I had a hard time getting into this the first time I tried reading it. I think it was the tiny font of the first edition I attempted to read more than anything.

The second time around was pretty much a straight shot. It helps that finished reading Sunshine a few days ago, so that had me craving more McKinley. Now, this novel sucked me right into its world right from the very first page, and it was really one of those novels where the small details really made the story, such as the princess's ou
Jenna St Hilaire
Already impressive for her ability to achieve a variety of moods and styles—her opus ranges from the mythic, ethereal Beauty to the serious, detailed The Hero and The Crown—McKinley further proved her authorial flexibility with Spindle’s End, which is flat-out hilarious. This novel struck me as a four-hundred-page cousin to Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, what with fairy godmothers giving awkward gifts and magic being a quirky, ever-present part of daily life. I was also pleasantly put in m ...more
Spindle’s End isn’t the first book by Robin McKinley that I’ve read. I also read The Hero and the Crown and Beauty and I enjoyed both of them. Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and Spindle’s End, as you may have guessed, is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I enjoy reading different versions of myths and fairy tales, and this was definitely interesting. However, the main character - “Rosie” in this case, not Briar Rose, like in the Disney version - was kind of annoying to me. I don’t ...more
Carla *Jen7waters*
Oh NOOOOO! This can’t be! Can’t be! My heart aches that I can only give 3 stars to a McKinley book but it takes so long for something important to happen in the story, that I would read a couple of pages and get bored…oh, my heart sobs! I mean, I knew I was going to encounter a quite complex and descriptive extended beginning, because that’s how Robin rolls, but in this one it’s as if this introduction just keeps going and going and going, until eventually it takes over the whole book, and the e ...more
This is one of McKinley's strongest works to date, and it makes me laugh to think that she essentially wrote it on a dare. From what she's said on her website, she had no love for the sleeping beauty myth -- after all, the princess spends it completely useless and out of the action, exactly opposite McKinley's usual heroines. The story she crafted in response to the fairy tale beautifully recasts the outside of the tale (the curse, the fairy godmothers, the spelled sleep, and rose hedge) with a ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Fairy Tales Eclectic: "Spindle's End" Discussion - November 2014 Group Read 40 27 Dec 05, 2014 03:03AM  
  • The Tower at Stony Wood
  • Zel
  • The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, #2)
  • Golden
  • Briar Rose
  • The Swan Maiden
  • Bryony and Roses
  • The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
  • Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • Never After
  • Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)
Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

Other Books in the Series

Folktales (3 books)
  • Beauty
  • Rose Daughter

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“When they finished laughing they were on their way to being not just friends, but the dearest of friends, the sort of friends whose lives are shaped by the friendship.” 127 likes
“Cats were often familiars to workers of magic because to anyone used to wrestling with self-willed, wayward, devious magic--which was what all magic was--it was rather soothing to have all the same qualities wrapped up in a small, furry, generally attractive bundle that...might, if it were in a good mood, sit on your knee and purr. Magic never sat on anybody's knee and purred.” 45 likes
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