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The Sleeper and the Spindle

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  33,677 ratings  ·  5,016 reviews
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She
Hardcover, 72 pages
Published October 23rd 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (first published May 3rd 2014)
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Lucy Takeda If your children appreciate the rather gruesome original fairy tales, they'll probably like this.
Assikatsum Well, slightly. Snow White kisses the sleeping Beauty on the lips (because it's the traditional thing to do - kiss the princess awake) but other than…moreWell, slightly. Snow White kisses the sleeping Beauty on the lips (because it's the traditional thing to do - kiss the princess awake) but other than that, there's nothing explicitly "in your face" LGBT about it. I didn't find it as such a big deal.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,677 ratings  ·  5,016 reviews

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Caz (littlebookowl)
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, cover-love
4.5 stars!
Absolutely loved this story and the illustrations. I wasn't sure what to expect going in to this and I was pleasantly surprised with it.
Miranda Reads
I've read so many versions of fairy tales that it takes a really interesting spin(dle) (ha) for me to enjoy.

Unfortunately, this was not the case

The best part - how Gaiman takes the fairy tale characters and weaves them into a new-old story.
“You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men."
Yes, there's a sleeping beauty but she's nothing is like the original story. Yes, there's a Snow White, but gone is the calm Disney gal.
Emily May
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars. I almost always love Gaiman's work, but this one was mediocre for me.

Riddell's artwork is - not surprisingly - absolutely stunning. The illustrations are black and white gorgeousness, decorated with gold leaf here and there. It's definitely a visually impressive book.

And yes - there's a cool twist to the traditional Sleeping Beauty tale, as well as a new spin on the Snow White story. But the book is so short that there are no really interesting or developed characters. The villain

The Sleeper and the Spindle could have been such an enchanting, lovely lesbian fairytale retelling. But no. Instead, it’s romance-free and pretty deceiving. The illustrations are rather ubiquitous and of good quality… but not that necessary. At least, it isn’t necessary to have that many of them. I just want to clarify something: this is not a graphic novel.

This being a short story, and the author not having depicted everything or everyone in extreme detail, we never get to know the characters
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, posted at

Neil Gaiman took one of his twisted, rather creepy fairy tale stories and turned it into a 66 page picture book with wonderfully whimsical and detailed illustrations by Chris Riddell (who also did the amazing illustrations in the illustrated version of Neverwhere).


I went out on a limb recommending this to Kelly (and the Book Boar) for her fairy tale retellings project when I was only halfway done with this, but I'm relieved to say I still liked i
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“There are always choices.”

It seems every time I delve into the world of a retelling I begin by pointing out how much I didn’t care for the original. I guess it should come as no surprise that Snow White and Sleeping Beauty weren’t my idea of a great time when I was a kid either. In fact, the entire world of Disney princesses kinda creeps me out – unless it’s these kind of princesses . . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

But I digress.

Due to the above I didn’t h
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Purest magic! A fairy tale as classic as they get, with a twist as modern as can be.

Once upon a time there was a queen. She had a troubled childhood, and lived in the shadow of her abusive, narcissist stepmother. It is hard to break the spell of manipualtive, hurtful personalities. But magic works both ways. Learn to use it to grow, and there will be choices.

You can walk a new path. Reject the one chosen for you. You can say no to power and yes to self-determined life. All that is possible, in t
Let ancient magic weave its soporific spell.
Choose your path, your destiny, and your friends wisely.
Take care of what you touch along the way.
Beware the briars and spiders’ webs that would entrap and cocoon you.
Don’t be beguiled by transient and superficial beauty.
Let ancient magic weave its soporific spell.

Image: Dedications to daughters, illustrated with dwarfs

“Once upon a time....”

Words we love to hear and, a generation later, read aloud. Snuggled in a comfy chair, adult wrapping child in l
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves fairytales and fairytale-retellings
“The path to her death, heartbeat by heartbeat, would be inevitable.”


A wonderful book with beautiful illustrations and a new perspective on our most beloved fairytales.
I'm not a big fan of Gaiman's writing, I guess. Would this be the same artist but a different author, say Laini Taylor or Catherynne M. Valente, this could have been as magical and wondrous as I had wished it.

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Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, retellings
The first thing you should know: this is NOT a lesbian retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I'm sure you've all seen the Chris Riddell illustration of Snow White kissing Sleeping Beauty awake by now, and will have seen this book lauded as LGBT representation. It is not.

Suffice to say, I was let down. I was expecting a properly queer retelling and that's not what I got. What I got was one sweet lady smooch and one (admittedly beautiful) illustration to accompany it...and that was all. Literally. Not tru
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

I got this book from the library but I can tell you it is going to be added to my bookshelves as I must have it. The story is so different and dark and good. The graphics are AMAZING!

Queen Snow White doesn't seem too happy in her current situation, she is to be wed and have babies and do this and do that....


.....until one day, three of her dwarfs tell her about a land where everyone is asleep...

and the queen who is ready for some adventure, or so it seems, h
Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

“Names. Names.
The old woman squinted, then she shook her head. She was herself, and the name she had been born with had been eaten by time and lack of use.”

Story ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In this story a strong queen goes on an adventure to save a kingdom and her sleeping princess.
It’s a combination of the Snow White and the sleeping beauty fairy tale in a beautiful new way.
It’s one of the most perfect children fairytales I have ever read 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Characters ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The strong female main character, the queen, was b
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Wow! This was so absolutely terrible! Why do you always polarise me Gaiman? Sometimes I love what you do and at other times I absolutely hate it. I just have no middle ground with you.

Gaiman subverted the standard fairy-tale so much that his ending, one that was clearly meant to be surprising, was so blatantly obvious to the point of actually being mundane. I called this one from the get go. Certainly, some of the changes he makes are, indeed, praiseworthy. We have a gallant hero, one ready to
A wonderful Neil Gaiman retelling....remashing....reimagining of a fairy tale. A gothic, creepy tale for sure. I listened to the audio and it was wonderful. A full cast of characters with music and various sounds. Fantastic. Though I must get the print to see the drawings that are part of the book.
Paul Bryant
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ideal Christmas present alert! However old your kids are, buy this for them. If they don’t like it, you might want to think seriously about disinheriting them, because it will show they have no heart, no eye for beauty and no sense of humour. And you don’t wanna empower people like that, really. They might be sociopaths.

Those with no kids - yeah, buy it for each other.

The art by Chris Riddell is so stunning, every other page is a gobsmacker, and it helps that the young (nameless) queen kind of
this book has the most beautiful cover i have ever seen in my LIFE. and beautiful black-and-white illustrations. and it's a fairytale retelling. and it's by neil gaiman. and it's short.

i have loved books for all of those reasons alone. like, by neil gaiman? done. pretty? done. illustrated? done. short? done. fairytale-y? doooooone.


it just didn't feel particularly any of those things, i guess. the writing was meh for neil gaiman. everyt
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are choices, she thought, when she had sat long enough. There are always choices.

Since I've read The Graveyard Book I wanted to read more books by both Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell. So when I found out that they were translating this book in my country, I was beyond excited and my expectations for this book were pretty high. And now, that I've read it, I can safely say that this book was just as good as I expected it to be.

This was a retelling of Sleeping beauty and Snow White mixed toget
Dan Schwent
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
As a sleeping curse hits the kingdom, the queen postpones her wedding and sets off with three dwarves to free the sleeping princess and end the curse...

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell team up yet again to present this short fairy tale, a dark combination of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

As dark fairy tales go, it had its moments. I loved the sleepers talking and eventually sleepwalking after the heroes. I've said it many times before but Gaiman's tales for kids are way creepier than the ones for
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 magical stars

Enormous peaks of mountains separate the kingdoms of Dorimar and kanselaire. Kanelaire is rowdy as the wedding of their queen approaches. But Dormiar is silent as it mourns the spell that has put its princess to sleep.

“Up the blooming stairs and past the blooming cook and what are you cooking now, eh, great land-arse, nothing in your pots and pans but dust and more dust, and all you ever do is snore.”

There is one oncoming calamity, though, poking its head out its burrow, vi
Evelyn (devours and digests words)
Whimsical and deliciously dark at times, The Sleeper and The Spindle is a retold fairytale featuring a not-quite Sleeping Beauty and a sword-weilding Snow White.

The moment I set my eyes on the book cover, I knew I need to have this beauty in my possession. I was beyond delighted when I found out that this tale is accompanied with gorgeous illustrations by Chris Riddell (who also drew for the macabre children's story, The Graveyard Book. Another favourite!). Coupled with Neil Gaiman's exce
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
This was so, so short, it would be impossible to review it w/o giving any spoilers. Let's just say, it was Gaiman style through and through and the audiobook production for it delivered a whole cast to enjoy. A little twisted, as expected, it plays out as a short of the original tale with a punch of a parody.

Enjoy :)
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
I liked this very much. I think I liked this very much. I'm almost positive I liked this very much . . . o.O

Full RTC.
Sarah Churchill
This pair have never let me down yet.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is a fairytale retelling / mashup of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but with the characteristic darkness and twists we'd expect from Gaiman.

Riddell's illustrations are as stunning as always, presented in black, white and gold to give a very traditional and magical feel to a very modern fairytale.

It's a short story, made to be read it one sitting, and I would say it's the perfect bedtime story if it wasn't for the extra level of
Mariah Roze
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I listened to this book on cd and it was very good. They had back ground music and multiple different voices for each character. It felt like listening to play. I highly suggest listening to this short book. It was very good :)
April (Aprilius Maximus)
First read down for the 2017 BookTube-A-Thon!
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell collaborated on this 2014 publication that is a re-telling or revisioning of a fairy tale.

Almost Sleeping Beauty and not quite Snow White this is all pretty cool. Gaiman’s ability to weave fairy tale and folklore with fun new twists is what keeps readers like me coming back to him.

A queen who is about to get married over her objections takes off to a neighboring kingdom who is in the grips of a strange sleeping spell. All standard Grimm and Disney with s
Sam Quixote
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Sleeper and the Spindle is an illustrated short story, mashing up Snow White and Sleeping Beauty with a feminist twist - the Prince Charming character is a woman and, gasp, she kisses another woman to awaken her! Also, most of the book is characters walking across a fantasy landscape so if you’re a Tolkien fan, you’re gonna love this!

Are we still not over post-modern takes on fairy tales? Do we really need another “darker” version of a well-known, heavily Disneyfied story? Apparently Neil G
Viktoria Winter
“Well,” said the third. “Somebody’s got to do the honours.” “I shall,” said the queen, gently. She lowered her face to the sleeping woman’s. She touched the pink lips to her own carmine lips and she kissed the sleeping girl long and hard.”

Truthfully, I bought this book for the illustrations alone, but I must say the story itself was quite remarkable as well. It’s a thrilling retake on two old classics merged into one. Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty in this girl-power adventure of a lifetime
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Neil Gaiman fans,

Welcome to the story of a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty.


1. Neil Gaiman. DUH.

2. A wonderful twist on a fairytale classic. You think you know the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Or the Snow White? Think again.

3. GIRL POWER!! Gaiman's Snow White and Sleeping Beauty don't need princes to kiss them or save them. They're sisters doing it for themselves ;)

4. Gorgeous illustrations

5. Touches on subjecs like what happens after happy ever after and what if the pri
Feb 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overrated, ya, z2017, ebook
I don't know what it is about Gaiman's writing. Every time I finish a Gaiman book I tell myself I won't read another book by him again and yet, I keep reading his books. I don't think he's a good writer or maybe he's just not my preferred type of writer. Every time I read a synopsis for one of his books, I'm always intrigued because they sound amazing, interesting and original but they turn out to be meh at best. Unfortunately this was worse than meh. I didn't enjoy it at all. The best thing abo ...more
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