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Spindle Fire #1

Spindle Fire

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A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.


It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.

351 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 11, 2017

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About the author

Lexa Hillyer

7 books544 followers
Hello! I'm the author of the YA fantasy duology Spindle Fire & Winter Glass, YA speculative contemporary Proof of Forever, and the upcoming YA contemporary Frozen Beauty. I also wrote the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold, which won the 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Award. I'm one of the founders, and President of Publishing, at creative development company Glasstown Entertainment. I live in Carroll Gardens with my husband, daughter, and a very skinny orange tree. Follow me on instagram @ProofOfLex and twitter @Lexa_Hillyer !

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5 stars
597 (16%)
4 stars
1,214 (33%)
3 stars
1,162 (31%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 752 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
602 reviews87.2k followers
August 20, 2017
2.5 ish?
This seems to be a recent trend where I'm super excited to read books because they sound amazing and then I actually read them and I'm like ????? WHY. Unfortunately, this was the case here. UGH.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
588 reviews3,506 followers
March 23, 2017
2.5 stars

"One night reviled, before break of morn, amid the roses wild, all tangled in thorns, the shadow and the child together were born. The bright sun did spin, the moon swallowed day, when one her dear twin forever did slay."

What happens in Spindle Fire, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, you ask? Here's the short version:

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora: Omg, we love each other!

Isabelle: I would do anything for you!

Aurora: I would do anything for you!

Evil government agent: Isabelle, we're sending you to a convent.

Isabelle: No, I don't want to go!

Isabelle's childhood best friend Gil: Yo, babe, I'm hitching a ride to my relative's house forever. Wanna come with?


Um, yeah. Btw, I hate Aurora now because she's a princess and I'm not.

(They leave)

Random faerie: *does faerie things*

Aurora: *wandering around sad in an aesthetic way* I have to get Isabelle back. I'm going to go after her right now—Ooh, an abandoned cottage! Ooh, shiny thing...

(She falls into a deep sleep and wakes in Sommeil, a land in a dream dimension)

Aurora: Wh-where am I?

Hot stranger Heath: Are you a malevolent spirit? ANSWER ME! No? Then *presses his finger to her lips* chill, babe, I'll protect you.


Random faerie: *does faerie things*

Isabelle: Oh noes, my country has the sleeping sickness!? I must save my sister!

Gil: *thinking how much he loves Isabelle, but can't act on it because of honor* Huh? Oh, yeah, sure. Let's get in this boat.

Boat guy: We're a whaling ship. Here, blind girl, you man the harpoon.

Isabelle: *pulled off the boat and disappears into the sea*

Boat guy: Huh. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

Aurora: I have to return to my world, but Heath is so hot. When he touches me, I just—

Isabelle: I'm alive! I have to find my sister's betrothed Prince William because only true love can save her. *breaks into the Prince's royal chambers* You have to come with me right now to my virus-ridden country!

Prince William: Well, it is highly unorthodox, but okay. We have to sneak out because my advisers would selfishly stop me from going.

Aurora: Oh, Heath. I mean, Isabelle. I have to go back.

Random faerie: *does faerie things*

Isabelle: Oh, Gil, love of my life, I miss you so. But William is really sexy. No, bad Isabelle, he's for Aurora.

Prince William: *breathes*


Random faerie: *does faerie things*

Isabelle: This convent that kindly took us in seems to be hiding something. Let's investigate!

Prince William: K

Nun: What the flip do you think you're doing?

Isabelle: Um—

Nun: That seems like a reasonable explanation. Come, you must make haste to rescue the princess!

Isabelle: Who? Oh yeah, her. Sorry, I've been really busy angsting over Gil and William.

You get the idea. I love that the sisters are physically disabled (Aurora is mute and has no sense of touch, and Isabelle is blind), but the story surrounding them is lacking. Too much time was devoted to the multiple romances and not enough on the sisters' relationship. And the middle dragged like a cram school kid's backpack.

Another great premise gone to waste.

ARC provided by Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,117 followers
Want to read
June 29, 2016
May we please take a step back and appreciate the glorious beauty of this cover? 'Kay.

And SJM and Bardugo?!? SAY NO MORE.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,188 reviews34.9k followers
October 24, 2017
3.5 stars

"If this is what it means to be a true princess—making difficult decisions that could risk uncountable lives—she’s gladder than ever that she isn’t one."

Fantasy, Fairy tale, curses, magic, warring queens, sisters, etc.

This book is a retelling of sleeping beauty but with the Author's own spin on the tale.

Isabelle and Aurora are half sisters. Isabelle is the illegitimate child of their father's. Her sight was tithed by fairies. Aurora is the legitimate daughter who had her sense of touch and voice tithed by fairies, The sisters are close and have developed their own way of communicating with each other. They spend their days together until news comes that Aurora will marry a neighboring prince. Tragedy happens as it often does in fairy tales and her prince does not arrive. Then it is announced that Isabelle is to be sent away. In one day their entire lives are changed forever. Both sisters go their way.

Soon Auror pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep. Only the kiss from a true love can awaken her. Sounds familiar right? This is where things get interesting. Isabelle attempts to save her sister. I don't want to give too much away but their is romance, adventure, fairies, etc. What is also nice is the atmosphere in the book. It is also very much a character. The Author does a great job at creating atmosphere and describing locations, events, etc. This really helps to set the mood and to help the reader visualize the happenings in this mood.

The bond of the sisters is really the gem here...well that and the beautiful writing. I also liked how the sister never let their disadvantages( i.e. blindness, inability to speak) get in their way. They are both strong in their own right but I have to say that Isabelle stole the show for me. I enjoyed her part of the story so much more than that of her sisters.

There were times when I wanted to hurry this book up a little. Long passages of writing where I thought it would have been nicer to have more actions but overall I enjoyed this book. There is going to be another book in the series so that might explain how this one ended.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,685 reviews1,266 followers
April 8, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, featuring Aurora and her illegitimate half-sister Isabelle.

Aurora and Isabelle were both strong characters, and both managed to do well despite the senses that had been taken from them. I felt quite sorry for both Isabelle and Aurora when it came to light exactly how they had lost their sight/sense of touch respectively, although Isabelle probably got the worse end of the deal.

The storyline in this was about Isabelle leaving the palace rather than being sent to a nunnery, and Aurora going after her. Aurora then came across a spindle and fell into a deep sleep, whilst Isabelle learned what had happened and did her best to reverse the spell on her sister. I have to say that this book really struggled to hold my attention though, and I kept wanting to put this down and not pick it up again. I didn’t like most of the romance, the bits following random fairies were just confusing, and overall I just felt bored.

The ending to this didn’t really tie anything up, the book just stopped on a bit of a cliff-hanger.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
June 15, 2017
Had some good moments but to be honest I found my concentration roaming during a lot of this book. If you like fairytale retellings a lot than check this book out for sure.
Profile Image for Jess.
269 reviews58 followers
Want to read
June 28, 2016
Update: 28/06/2016


I'm praying for zero romance and hella sister dynamics.
Profile Image for Red_Queen_Lover.
164 reviews42 followers
April 14, 2018
** There are Spoilers in here****
This book was so creative and detailed I didn't want it to end.
I enjoyed the imagination and creativity in this book. I mean, Fae who TITHE the powers from the princesses instead of giving?? I would have never thought of a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty to be like this.
In this re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, we have Aurora and her bastard half-sister, Isabelle or Isbe.
Aurora's mother hates Isbe because it reminds her of the kings first love, causing her jealousy to become hate towards Isbe. At Aurora's christening, the Fae Claudine had given her Beauty in exchange for her voice. Almandine took her sense of touch for beauty (her parents agreed because not feeling pain would be the best for their daughter, even though not all touch is painful). Malfleour (who's basically the Maleficent in this re-telling), comes to the christening to tithe Auroras youth. Her parents refuse for her to even get near Aurora, causing Malfleour to curse her with the original curse of Sleeping Beauty. Violette, who tithes eyesight, changed the curse so that wat Aurora could be awoken by true loves kiss, but wanted her eyesight in return. The parents trick Violette and give her Isbe for her to tithe her eyesight instead of Aurora. Later on, over the years, Aurora and Isbe create a language controlled by how many times they tap into each other's hands
Years later, Isbe and Aurora are caught eavesdropping on the court and learn that Prince Philip and his younger brother have been murdered. The court is furious and reveals their plans to have Isbe taken away, which would have originally happened the day after the wedding, but since the Princes have died and Isbe has gotten into trouble again, they carry out their plans then and there.
Gilbert is Isbe's lifelong friend and is in love with her despite her obliviousness. They've only kissed once, which had been a delightful accident according to Isbe. Gil is ecstatic that Isbe is getting sent away because he too had to leave. He convinces Isbe to run off with him and she agrees. Before she leaves, Aurora and she have an argument which causes Isbe to leave a few short hours later.
The night of Auroras birthday, she heads out into the woods hoping to find tracks of where Isbe has gone. She gets lost and settles into a cottage. She notices strange objects in the cottage such as a Spindle wheel which belonged to Malfleours twin sister, Belcour who she had slain.
Aurora accidentally touches the spindle wheel and FEELS it. She's thrown into a world where she can speak and touch and feel, which causes her to be overwhelmed in the best way possible. She meets Heath who saves her countless times throughout the book. The rest of her kingdom sleeps while she does.
Meanwhile, Isbe finds about the sleeping sickness, where whoever touches or becomes near the princess falls into a deep sleep close to death, and sets out to find the youngest prince who will awaken her sister with true loves kiss. Binks, the Fae who tithes luck, cheats Gil in a game of cards causing Gil's luck to be taken away. When shipwrecked, Isbe cannot find Gil and has to set out on her own. Eventually, she does find the prince and they set out to help her sister. Sooner or later, Pince William falls for Isbe and proposes. She declines, insisting that her sister will awake and marry him. The story ends with William kissing Aurora and nothing happening, causing Isbe to accept his proposal.
Profile Image for Isabella.
363 reviews21 followers
October 29, 2017
Meine Meinung

Bei diesem Roman hat vor allem das traumhafte Cover mein Interesse geweckt – und da ich Märchen-Nacherzählungen liebe, habe ich mich vom Klappentext ebenfalls sofort angesprochen gefühlt. Wie der Titel schon erkennen lässt, handelt es sich hier um eine Dornröschen-Adaption. Die Grundidee, das Märchen als Geschichte zweier grundverschiedener Schwestern zu erzählen und mit Magie zu würzen, hat mir wirklich gut gefallen.

Meine Begeisterung hat nach den ersten paar Kapiteln allerdings schnell einen Dämpfer bekommen. Denn selbst ich als absoluter Romantik-Fan fand, dass die Liebesgeschichten den Roman in diesem Fall eher gestört als bereichert haben. Isabelles und Auroras Romanzen standen viel zu sehr im Mittelpunkt und waren noch nicht einmal besonders glaubwürdig geschrieben. In beiden Fällen ist es Liebe auf den ersten Blick der unrealistischsten Sorte, zudem kamen mir viele der romantischen Szenen klischeehaft und abgedroschen vor. Beide Schwestern verlieben sich im Grunde einfach in den erstbesten heißen Typen, dem sie begegnen.

Hinter dem ganzen Romantik-Gesülze tritt die eigentliche Handlung leider in den Hintergrund, dabei wäre sie an sich gar nicht schlecht. Die Szenen, in denen es wirklich Action gab, waren spannend und konnten mich gut unterhalten. Wenn Aurora nachts durch einen magischen Wald irrt oder Isabelle bei einer Waljagd mitten im Ozean über Bord geht, blitzt kurz das unglaubliche Potential auf, das diese Geschichte eigentlich gehabt hätte. Ich bin sicher, mit ein bisschen mehr Spannung und weniger „warmen, festen Oberkörpern“ hätte dieser Roman großartig werden können.

Ich bin mir immer noch nicht sicher, ob ich das Worldbuilding nun märchenhaft und poetisch oder einfach nur vage finden soll. Dank der wunderschönen Karte vorn im Buch konnte ich mir die Fantasywelt gut vorstellen, allerdings hat es mich gestört, dass die Königreiche einfach auf ein paar simple Eigenschaften heruntergebrochen werden. Komplexes und originelles Worldbuilding sieht anders aus. Der Schreibstil ist grundsätzlich nicht schlecht, schließlich ist die Autorin selbst Editor, doch das Kopfkino wollte nicht so richtig in Gang kommen. Lexa Hillyer findet schöne sprachliche Bilder und schreibt in klaren, kurzen Sätzen, man merkt dem Text jedoch an, dass die Autorin auf Teufel komm raus poetisch sein wollte. Manche der Metaphern und Beschreibungen sind so kreativ und künstlerisch, dass es zwar wundervoll klingt, man sich das Beschriebene aber gerade nicht mehr vorstellen kann.


Eine magische Geschichte, die jede Menge Potenzial gehabt hätte. Leider wird die an sich spannende Handlung von gleich zwei unrealistischen Liebesgeschichten in den Hintergrund gedrängt.
Profile Image for Bex (Books and Looks).
116 reviews32 followers
August 23, 2017
I am a huge Sleeping Beauty fan and this book did not hit the mark for me. I wanted so much to love this story but the plot is strung out and the characters are not likable. The story revolves around two sets of sisters-Aurora and Isbe (whose adventures we follow) and Malfour and Belcour (the fairies responsible) so you think this will be a tale of sisterly love and family. Let me tell you-it is not. There is no family present and everyone has resentment and hates each other the whole book.

Its biggest fault: THEY DRUG OUT AND POORLY WROTE THE "MYSTERY." While I do think unanswered questions can make a book mysterious, the way it was written just made this book annoying, drug out, and a bit confusing. Once we got the answers (at least the few that we do get), I was frustrated because there was no reason to prolong some of them and I did care about anything at that point.

The story was unoriginal and just not that exciting. There were multiple love triangles (at least 3)-all of which I found unnecessary. I could hardly care less for ANY of the relationships in the book so I had no interest in finding out who ended up with who or whatever. I had a hard time pushing through the book and really wanting to know the resolve that the characters were destined to get. I really wish the writer didn't try so hard with all the "mystery" because it was just done so badly that eventually I just did not care. And good thing I didn't care, because you get no resolve. NOPE-they had to make this a series, with a cliffhanger ending that just gets you pissed you ever spent all that time reading this book to begin with.

Poor writing and lack of interest for these characters made this a trudge and I am sad to not be fully enveloped in my favorite fairy tale. I doubt I will continue this series.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,691 reviews859 followers
May 16, 2017
Spindle Fire was a really different read and I am still not quite sure exactly what I think of it. There were certain elements and characters that I loved reading about and others that just did not work for me. I know that the majority of the readers DNFed this one but the more I read, the more I found myself getting into the story, and by the end, I was completely engaged and into the story… so as a whole, I guess it was kind of midline? I don’t know!

I think the reason a lot of readers didn’t enjoy this one was because the plot was all over the place and the pacing was quite iffy. I think that was mainly because of the weak beginning. It really affected my enthusiasm to get into the story, especially because the author’s writing style at this point was very clunky and full of information-heavy sections. We had to wade through some very dense and tedious passages to get to the meat of the story and it was hard to devote the energy to do that when we barely knew all the details we needed to understand the story’s context. We were very much thrown in the deep end and the little information we knew about Deluce, the sisters’ home country (which they are meant to be the princesses of), made it hard to feel grounded in story. The protagonists’ ‘escape’, which was meant to get the story going, felt rushed and random. I was honestly not very engaged in the story until Isabelle and William’s stories intertwined.

My favourite aspect of Spindle Fire was undoubtedly Isabelle. I enjoyed her plotline much, much more than Aurora’s storyline. I’ve always been a sucker for journey adventures between an unlikely pair, especially when they dislike each other despite the obvious sexual tension between them. This trope is such a guilty pleasure of mine and William and Isabelle made such a great duo. I was engaged and invested in Isabelle’s unyielding desire to save her sister, no matter what the consequences may be, and found her easy to root for. I was also surprised to find myself attached to William almost immediately. I adored his sense of humour and his sense of duty to his kingdom. I wanted to read more about how he planned to defend his home country (which I am hoping will be a major focal point in the sequel) so I was able to fly through Isabelle’s chapters very easily.

While Aurora’s plotline was not nearly as captivating, I did like that her arc brought out the retelling aspects of the story. I loved that Hillyer was able to draw in so many elements of both Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland while making sure her world remained unique. My biggest problem with Aurora’s storyline was the fact that the entire Borderlands situation - or whatever that place was called - was not particularly well described or developed. I struggled to tie the Malfleur backstory with what was happening to Aurora and the significance of the ‘clues’ was lost on me. I didn’t really understand what made the Night Faerie (whose name is completely slipping my mind) so powerful or what the point of the Impressions was or how they connected to everything else. This was probably only problematic because of how undeveloped the fae lore was in general. The author mentioned tithes numerous times and implied that this was the ‘type’ of magic that faeries held but the details of it were confusing. Did tithing mean they had the ability to ‘steal’ a particular something from humans, like their luck or sense of smell? How does this work? If they are born fae, why is magic dwindling? I really struggled to wrap my mind around these details and I would have appreciated more information about it in the story, especially to clear up the Malfeur/Nigth Faerie subplot.

I was also not as invested in Aurora’s relationship with Heath as I wanted to be. Heath did not have much personality and I found it hard to connect with him, let alone ship him with Aurora. I did like that he was unwilling to accept his imprisonment and actively tried to find a way out but there was not enough substance to him for me to truly care about him. The situation with Wren - and the implied love triangle - was entirely unnecessary. It just added drama where there did not need any to be.


Once I got into this story, I did enjoy it. I had a lot of problems with Aurora’s storyline and the development of the fae lore but this was mostly balanced out by my love of Isabelle and William. I liked seeing a different kind of retelling play out and I have high hopes for the sequel since this story reached an exciting point by the end. I am eager to see what Hillyer will take our characters next. I definitely want more Isabelle and William!

Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Beth.
3,126 reviews261 followers
April 4, 2017
Two sisters, close even against the odds, until Aurora blood causes her to be swept away to an alternate world where she meets Heath…while Aurora appears to sleep in this world.

Isabelle wants to save her sister. She finds everyone in the palace has a sleeping sickness and she must go in search for a prince that can wake Aurora and hopefully save the day from the evil fae Malfleur.

Malfleur is a faerie, building an army to take LaMorte, Aurora and Isabelle's kingdom, after she killed her twin, the Night Faerie.

I couldn’t help but think of Spindle Fire as a twist taken from the Sleeping Beauty with fae and just for that I would of been all in. The premise was incredible, completely what I would love in a book…but the execution missed it mark. It just seemed choppy and lost my attention often. Lots of potential, extremely creative and yet I had a hard time with continuing. I’m sure this will hit its mark with some young adult fantasy fans. But for me, I appreciated the imagination behind the plot. I appreciated the strong female character, especially Isabelle, and in the end that is what made me like it and continue on.

I received this ARC copy of Spindle Fire from HarperTeen in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication April 11, 2017

My Rating: 3 stars
Written by: Lexa Hillyer
Series: Spindle Fire (Book 1)
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
ISBN-10: 006244087X
ISBN-13: 978-0062440877
Genre: YA | Folklore Adaptation | Fantasy

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spin...
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spindle-Fire-L...
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spind...

For Reviews and More Check out: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Jesse Nicholas.
279 reviews65 followers
June 3, 2017
reviewsSpindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
Published by HarperCollins on April 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 351
Format: ARC
LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer is a uniquely told retelling of the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. I can honestly say I went in with low expectations and walked away with a great story that was both visually and mentally appealing to read.

The Good

Unique Retelling

I've read many fairy tale retellings in my time as an avid reader and it's hard to be surprised because you tend to know what is going to happen. But Spindle Fire takes bits and pieces of Sleeping Beauty and turns it on it's head for something that was completely unique and fun to read.

Hillyer manages to create two very different sisters; each with their own personalities and specialties. Aurora is mute and has no sense of touch while Isabelle is blind. These senses were taken from them at Aurora's christening by greedy fairies in exchange for other princess like qualities.

Then you throw in a dream world, two very evil fairy queens out for revenge and you have Spindle Fire in a nutshell. I quite enjoyed these new twists to the classic tale!

Love the Characters

Aurora is sweet is and sheltered as the crown princess. She doesn't let her shortcomings rule her world. She seeks justice and knowledge and loves spending all her free time with her sister. Isabelle is headstrong and brave. As the King's illegitimate daughter she holds no standing in the royal family. But she doesn't let that stop her from being with her sister. The two are inseparable.

I loved seeing the sister relationship take a major role in the story. Hillyer does a great job showing that a princess can save herself. She doesn't always need a prince to come save the day!

Beautiful Writing / World Building

The world of Spindle Fire is beautifully depicted by Hillyer. All the descriptions are extraordinarily appealing to the imagination. She built a world that wasn't too complicated, but still not a basic fantasy back drop.

Together, the writing and the world go hand in hand. It all comes across quite grand and exceeds expectations!

The Bad

A Little Frustrated

A book is never with out a little frustrations. So it didn't surprise me that there were some aspects of Spindle Fire that left me a little frustrated. Whether it was a certain characters actions or a specific direction the book took, there was definitely a couple things that erked me a bit. But sadly I have to leave it at that to avoid spoilers.

I highly recommend this one if you like sisterly love, cool dream worlds, and fairy take retellings. Let me know what you guys thought of Spindle Fire  by Lexa Hillyer!  I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,



Profile Image for Lilly (Lair Of Books).
332 reviews180 followers
April 27, 2017
My full review can also be found on my blog LairOfBooks

HUGE thanks to HarperCollins, Edelweiss, and Lexa Hillyer for the ARC copy of Spindle Fire.


A dark tale is spun in Spindle Fire…when baby Aurora is born, the last of the powerful faeries that used to rule the land pay the kingdom a visit. They bestow certain gifts of beauty & grace in exchange for tithing her voice and sense of touch. The King & Queen accept these tithes but it is when the Faerie Queen interrupts & asks for the child’s youth that they draw the line. The Queen then places the curse of death on Aurora by her 16th birthday. It is her half sister’s involuntary sacrifice that offers up some hope, Isabelle’s sight is tithed by another fairy who claimed she could reverse the curse & instead of dying…Aurora would one day be put into a deep sleep…

As preparations are made for Aurora’s wedding, plans are also being made to send Isabelle away since she is viewed as troublesome. Isabelle who is very much a free spirit makes a run for it with her best friend & love interest Gil who worked in the castle. Aurora hears of Isabelle running away & decides to go and look for her. She stumbles upon a cottage with a Spindle & whelp we all know how the story goes lol. I appreciated the turn this story took in originality. After Aurora pricks her finger she finds herself in an another world created by the Faerie Queen’s sister. So, it’s not like she just asleep the duration of the story, she’s busy in her sleep trying to get some answers. It is within Aurora’s dream world that we get to know the story of Malfleur (Faerie Queen) and her twin sister Belcoeur…


Aurora & Isabelle are our MC’s, they are half sister’s with a language all of their own making. Since Isabelle is blind she communicates and Aurora is mute, the communicate via a series of taps on each other’s hands. They’ve had years to perfect their way of communication and can easily finish each others thoughts. Although they are half sister’s, Aurora is the daughter to the Queen and therefore is treated as a royal. Isabelle on the other hand receives less than royal treatment & is viewed by the court as trouble for her rebellious nature. Since this story is told in alternating first person POV chapters, we get to know these girls and their individual traits. Aurora loves romance novels that end with the prince swooping in & Isabelle can’t fathom the idea of being tied down by anyone. The sister’s are complete opposites, Aurora knows she was born to marry into royalty and is OK with that. Isabelle on the other hand would rather be chasing the next adventure far away from the castle. I was much more a fan of Isabelle, her chapters were def more exciting and even her approach to love seemed more realistic. We get introduced early on to Isabelle’s best friend Gil who is also her “love interest” and theirs is a complicated relationship. It seems like Isabelle has love for Gil more so than actually being in love with Gil. Later on in the story she meets the one that makes her question her actual feelings. I appreciated that her feelings were made known from the start of the story & it made for a more interesting progression. Now I can’t say the same about Aurora’s love interest which felt like a bad case of insta-love. I say this because typically insta-love doesn’t really bother me but I guess when contrasted against Isabelle’s, it stood out more in a bad way. I actually really enjoyed the Faeries that were introduced and their dark history. Perhaps more than Aurora & Isabelle’s story line, I looked forward to learning more of Malfleur & Belcouer. The faeries may have played the role of supporting characters yet it felt at times that they held the real meat of the story. I hope that the sequel sees more from these dark magical beings that once ruled the land.


I’m a sucker for all things Sleeping Beauty, probably because she’s the princess who I feel got the bad end of the stick. She doesn’t have little birds cleaning & sewing her clothes while she sings. She doesn’t get talking tea cups & kettles to keep her company or a vast library to sulk in. No, she legit gets put to sleep & laid to rest in a glass case while the 7 dwarfs try to get her true loves kiss *major eye roll* LOL! so it’s safe to assume that Spindle Fire caught my immediate interest. I loved the darker tones in this re-telling & the fact that Hillyer changed something that I for one could’ve done without in the original lol. However, Spindle Fire was told from Aurora & Isabelle’s POV’s and if i’m being honest, I found myself enjoying Isaeblle’s chapters way more than Aurora’s. It wasn’t until the last chapters that Aurora won me over & by then I kind of felt short changed. This may just be my preference however, I will say that even with this holding me back, the pacing was on point with non-stop action. The world building was A+ particularly the faeries and their fall from positions of power as well as their need to tithe. This re-telling is unique, creative, and the story itself was enjoyable but it may be just be a case of writing style that made this a 3 star read for me. Spindle Fire is told in present tense/third person POV which makes for an awkward reading experience. I see tons of ways this story can go & have some wishes for it myself. I’d love to see more of Aurora reclaiming this re-telling & more of the faeries in this world in the sequel to come. The ending sets up the groundwork for book 2 nicely which means that yes, I will be reading the sequel ;)

Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,144 reviews244 followers
November 11, 2018
Yeah I'm sorry. I still really like this book. It's cheesy and sweet and dark.

I am super shocked at how low this book is rated (3.35 stars as of me writing this) and how few ratings (412) there are for a YA fairytale retelling with a gorgeous cover and that was in a subscription book box.


Holy crap! I loved this book way more than I was anticipating. The love triangle was so well done and the sister's relationship that kinda mimicked the villain and her twin was so beautiful. One of the sisters is blind so I automatically thought she would be dependent on others but she takes the lead while you slowly see others less noticeable disabilities take effect. If you liked the Lunar Chronicles, pick this up! I'm excited for the sequel now.

I really didn't see any girls hating girls for stupid reasons and its got some diversity with one of the main characters being blind
Profile Image for nat..
383 reviews181 followers
June 5, 2018
“One night reviled, Before break of morn, Amid the roses wild, All tangled in thorns, The shadow and the child Together were born.

everyone gets a broken heart here, including me. yay!
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
880 reviews251 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 6, 2018
Gave up on Page 155

So, this was a case of "it's not you, it's me". I started this book during a stressful time. It was the week before finals, I had lots of big projects due, and I was leaving for a trip that weekend. I did not finish it before the trip and since I checked this book out from the library, I left it at home (I did not want to take a library book across state lines). By the time I got back, I just couldn't get back into the book. I had so many other books that I wanted to read instead, so I read those, and I actually felt like I was forcing myself to read this one. Pretty soon, I had no freaking clue what was even happening in the book. So, I'll put this on aside. I might pick it up another day and start from the beginning.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,206 reviews466 followers
December 15, 2018
Want to see more bookish things from me? check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

Aurora and Isabelle are half sisters and daughters to the King of Deluce. When they were young, the fairies tithed things from them in payment for the gifts they bestowed on them. Isabelle lost her sight and Aurora lost her sense of touch and her voice. One day, Aurora pricks her finger on a spindle and falls into a deep sleep and awakens in an alternate universe where she meets a hunter named Heath. Now, Isabelle must find Prince William to give Aurora true love's kiss and seal an alliance between their two kingdoms before the Fairy Queen and her army attack.

This book was very average in my opinion. I think the book and story line had so much potential but it fell a bit short for me. The bond between sisters was definitely the best part of the story. You could tell they both truly cared for one another. I enjoyed how different the two sisters were from each other and how they both had their own unique personalities. I definitely enjoyed Isbe's chapters more than Aurora's but I still liked them both! I can't decide if I liked the love interests or not... At times I loved them but at other times I hated them. I will say that the love triangles were a bit unnecessary and definitely took away from the story for me.

Profile Image for rowanthorn ✨.
124 reviews100 followers
August 20, 2018

I truly thought I would adore this book. My love of retellings is no secret, and this one just looked and sounded so good. Everything about it seemed creative and unique and the first couple pages were interesting enough to keep reading.

And then everything just deteriorated.


I think most of what I disliked came down to the writing and execution of story. Because the story in theory was great. Sisters, a quest, magic, a dream world - perfect, right? But it was the execution of all this that didn't work.

The whole book is written in present tense, which just does. not. work. The whole story felt "narrated" to the reader, not shown. This happens, then this happens, then this happens. The present tense and third person POV made for a very shallow reading for me. Any world building felt like sudden info-dump of facts, and the all characterizations of both main and secondary characters just seemed to skim the surface. Nothing hit deep and nothing felt interesting, and so I found myself just not caring.

Furthermore, the writing felt incredibly convoluted. Pages would fly by and I wouldn't have any idea what had just happened. There were some parts that were gorgeously told, but these were far and few between.

While the idea of this book is great, I just think it got weighed down with slow, tangled writing, the wrong choice of tense, and lackluster characters. Concept is A+ but in my opinion the execution just didn't pay off.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,147 reviews153 followers
April 9, 2020
I was lucky to receive a physical ARC copy in a trade with a friend!

Growing up on fairytales, I'm a total sucker when it comes to re-tellings, especially if it is from one of my personal favourites. Sleeping Beauty is one of them. We follow two girls, half-sisters called Isabelle who due to the actions of fairies, her sight was affected and Aurora who lost her ability to touch and has no idea what objects or others feel like. Aurora (like the classic) is in the position of deep sleeping. Meanwhile Isabelle and one of the princes must travel together to try and break the spell and unleash Aurora from her deep sleep. For the huge majority of the story, I really didn't understand what was going on or where the story was truly going. Even though I did complete it from start to finish, I generally didn't feel the writing style gripped me as much as I would have liked. Sadly, not one of my favourites!
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
615 reviews301 followers
July 6, 2022
DNF at 28%.

There's no one thing that stands out on why I am DNFing this. I like that the two lead characters have disabilities and I love their love for one another.

I'm just really freaking bored by it, and life is too short to read boring books.

I just want to point out that it’s 2022 and I am reviewing an ARC of this book I received from Edelweiss in 2016 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It’s been a long time coming, with other review books getting prioritised over this one, the actions of which I regret. I’m working through my old ARCs because I feel bad for never getting to them.
Profile Image for Meigan.
1,107 reviews67 followers
March 28, 2017
Think you know the story of Sleeping Beauty? Think again. Spindle Fire is the story of Aurora, the princess who sleeps, and yes - she does prick her finger on the spinning wheel, and yes - a sleeping curse is set in motion. But that's where the old story ends, and Hillyer's new and fresh version begins. Complete with feuding fairie queens, dueling kingdoms, curses and magical realms, Spindle Fire is truly a unique story that takes the bare, familiar essentials from the classic story we know, and weaves a fresh reimagining of Aurora and her brave and unfailingly loyal half-sister, Isbe.

I'm a huge fan of retellings, simply because I'm a huge fan of the original fairy tales that I've grown up with. There's always a risk involved with retellings - stay too close to the original, and it's feels old and tired. Stray too far from the original, and it seems like "retelling" is thrown in as a simple label for the sake of simply needing to add a label. Hillyer struck a fine balance with Spindle Fire, managing to incorporate many elements of the original, while managing to add not just a breath, but what felt like a tornado of freshness. By far, my most favorite part of this tale, and actually where Hillyer's uniqueness was most visible, was the character of Isbe, Aurora's half-sister. Brilliant, strong, independant, unfailingly loyal was Isbe. And speaking of strength, Aurora had every chance to be the often-standard, wishy-washy fair maiden princess, but again - Hillyer's penchant for exceptional characterization made sure she wasn't. Both sisters were incredibly resilient, possessing incredible strength both as a team and as individuals.

Aside from the characters, Hillyer's world(s) surrounding them was equally as inventive. Fairies, and their magic, run this world. These fairies aren't the Tinkerbell and glitter type, not at all. The ruling queen is exceptionally beautiful, and exceptionally dangerous, willing to do whatever it takes to make sure she wins the impending battle. There are other important fairies in play in the war, but Malfleur is the one who inspires the most fear. There is only one other fairie who has the potential to match Malfleur's magic, but that's where things get a little ... murky. There's a whole lot of magic at play in this mortal world, and there's also another world to contend with - a dream dimension, which is threatening the human inhabitants who are stuck there. Both worlds are in grave danger, and will remain so as long as the princess and her kingdom are cursed.

Bottom line - Spindle Fire was a phenomenal entry into the world of YA retellings. Fast-paced and full of surprises, I didn't want it to end. And end it did, on a rather tense and abrupt note. Highly recommended, and I certainly can't wait to see what Hillyer does with the sequel.

*Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy through a newsletter contest (I think?).
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,124 reviews459 followers
April 4, 2018
*Source* Edelweiss
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
*Rating* 3.5-4


Spindle Fire is the first installment in author Lexa Hillyer's Spindle Fire duology. Fairy-tale retellings are extremely hot in the YA market, and this is the tale of Sleeping Beauty like you’ve never seen it before. It has elements of Alice in Wonderland thrown in. Lexa has taken these familiar stories and twisted them into something completely new and different. This is a story about two very different sisters; Crown Princess Aurora and her half sister Isabelle who are nearly inseparable. Spindle Fire is told in alternating views between these two characters.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for Angelina.
385 reviews46 followers
April 5, 2017
Originally on Fable's Library

I received this arc from the publisher at New York Comic Con (I’m not sure if I’m supposed to acknowledge that or not(?) so I’m putting it here anyways!) This doesn’t make my views any different. Thank you!!!

What I Liked
Nothing… *cries*

What I Didn’t Like
-I wasn’t a big fan of the writing in Spindle Fire. I usually love elegant, flowery writing but I felt like this was more telling you than showing you. That and the tense is what really bothered me most. Spindle Fire takes place in 1313 (I think), and it’s written in present tense. The author can do what she wants with the tense, that’s cool, but it kept taking me away from what was happening. I kept questioning why it was written like it was happening right now if it took place in the past. I think that might be the biggest reason why I didn’t like this book at all.
-I’m not sure what I was really expecting from Spindle Fire and I’m really not sure why I finished it either. From the very first page it was slow and boring. I hoped that eventually the story would pick up pace, I was hoping there’d be a battle, something ANYTHING to pick up the pace. But nothing came and the pages dragged on. I’m honestly surprised I stuck this book out until the end. And, actually, I’m kind of upset I did. I thought Spindle Fire was a standalone book and that everything would be solved by the end. But nope. There’s a second book and I don’t think anything was resolved at all. Ever. That made me hate the ending.

-I felt like a lot of the things in Spindle Fire were predictable, but I tend to see things coming before they happen all the time. I don’t think anything really surprised me.
-Another thing I didn’t like about Spindle Fire was the characters. I felt nothing for them, they didn’t impact me and I felt like they weren’t very developed? I don’t know, I just didn’t like them and I couldn’t bring myself to care for them.

-I’m sorry but I really don’t have anything positive to say about this one. Maybe I’m just not a big fan of retelling, who knows? I just thought it was slow, boring and had an awkward tense that I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,234 reviews477 followers
April 13, 2018
This retelling of Sleeping Beauty has a bit of a Frozen vibe with the two sisters, Aurora and Isabelle, as well as the earlier estranged faerie sisters, Belcoeur and Malfleur. It is a happy circumstance that I can move directly to the sequel. Looking forward to seeing if Aurora and Isabelle are able to live happily ever after and free themselves from the fae magic affecting their kingdom.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews103 followers
October 19, 2017
*3.5 stars rounded up to 4*

Fun fact: I love fairy tale retellings.

Therefore, when I was offered the chance to read and review Lexa Hillyer's Spindle Fire - pitched to me as perfect for fans of Malinda Lo's Ash (another AMAZING YA book - please check it out if you haven't already!), I instantly said yes.

The result? Intoxicating and spellbinding, Lexa Hillyer's Spindle Fire is an intricate take on Sleeping Beauty.

Spindle Fire introduces us to Isabelle and Aurora, two sisters that couldn't be any more different. The child from the king's illegitimate affair, Isabelle has always been the unwanted child, only deemed useful by the king and queen when her sight was snatched and used to make her sister Aurora more appealing. Isabelle hasn't let it get her down, however; her bond with her sister is stronger than most, and she's always been known as the strong-willed, fearless, and albeit slightly reckless daughter of the king. Aurora is quiet and reserved - two characteristics that aren't helped by her inability to speak and feel. However, there's more to her than just that - she has an incredible way of seeing things, and more importantly, describing them to her sister.

While I enjoyed getting to know both sisters, my favorite was Isabelle. I loved how adventurous and strong she was, how she would go to the end of the world to save her sister, no matter how bad things became. I also enjoyed the transformation Isabelle experienced. Prior to leaving the castle walls she’s never been completely alone, and while at first, she’s shaky about it, it turns out she has everything in her power to succeed. Aurora also experiences a transformation over the course of the book. Similar to her sister, Aurora’s never been truly alone – she’s grown used to have Isabelle communicate for her. Suddenly, given a voice as well as the ability of touch, she finds out that maybe everything she’s believed all her life – especially regarding her parent’s choices – weren’t necessarily the best.

The plot in Spindle Fire was another part I enjoyed. It was filled with adventure, sisterly bonds, and even a touch of romance. I especially enjoyed the wide range of settings and the challenges each presented. From the sea to the castle to the world Aurora is placed in, there wasn’t a time where I wasn’t fully immersed in the respective worlds, dying to know what would happen next. I also found it refreshing that while there was a sleight touch of romance for both Aurora and Isabelle it wasn’t a big focus of the book. I do hope, however, that we’ll see more of certain boys in the future – especially the uncertain fate of one.

Lastly, while Spindle Fire has adventure and romance, its heart consists of the bonds between sisters – how they can make or break you, and more importantly, that at the end of the day your life is up to you. I loved seeing two very different sister relationship over the course of Spindle Fire – the strong one between Aurora and Isabelle and the dark, twisted one between the Fae.

The only aspect that brought Spindle Fire down a little in my eyes is the same problem I saw with Heather Fawcett’s Even the Darkest Stars – the first book problem. A large portion of Spindle Fire revolved around setting up the world and the characters, and while I appreciated the time Lexa placed into this, there was a certain lack of spark that arose- a lack that never let me go from “really enjoying” to “outright loving.”

Regardless, Spindle Fire is perfect for fans of dark fairy tale retellings. I can’t wait for book #2. I have so many questions!

Grade: B+
Profile Image for Karina.
164 reviews164 followers
September 10, 2017
If you’ve known me for quite a time then you probably know how excited I was for this book. That’s why when I was given a chance to have an early copy, I really couldn’t hide my happiness. I was so so excited for this one but when I started I was immediately mildly disappointed for some reasons. And sad to say, this one goes to my “most anticipated reads who let me down” list.

My reactions for Spindle Fire went from “Ooh what a poetic writing” to “This is so unbelievable and impossible” to “This is so weird” to “Wow, this is cool” to “Booriiing” to “What the heck?”

First and the main problem I had with this book was the writing. I find the writing at first very poetic which made me hope that this could be as beautiful as I hoped for it to be – especially with that tagline, who wouldn’t hope that high? To my disappointment, along the way I find the writing falter. It becomes beautiful then suddenly weak, beautiful then suddenly confusing, poetic and then suddenly not. It was definitely hard especially that I was having a hard time keeping up with the story itself because the story alone was confusing on the start.

Princess Aurora has no sense of touch and is mute while his half sister Princess Isabelle mostly called as Isbe is blind. So it’s really hard for them to communicate. And they have this secret language where Aurora taps Isbe’s hands to say something because she can’t obviously say it out loud. And I was so confused how that worked for the both of them. Though it was said that “they have plenty of time” to learn that, I still can’t get how they can say different words and names by tapping the other’s palm. It’s so weird and ridiculous for me. Isbe’s abilities also was so impossible to believe. It was so ridiculous especially on the start since all I know was she is just a normal person.

The wind is helpful, anyway, to her sister. It carries information – sounds and smells that tell her who is coming and how high the tides are, what will be served for dinner, and which of the soldiers guarding the front gates have bedded which of the housemaids.

Aside from that I was welcomed by this book with some ridiculousness, the story was utterly confusing and it was like the storyline wasn’t constructed well. And even though I was already more than 100 pages in I still couldn’t get into the story. There were just so many things happening that didn’t make sense to me even though I was already far from the beginning.

What made me dislike this book even more was that it was filled with so many questions. There were questions after questions about the story and about the characters themselves from their present and their past which were the reason why I had a hard time connecting to the story. Aside from that it felt rush, only few questions were answered at the end – not even to mention that it was a cliffhanger – making the long journey or reading progress feels useless and senseless. And it made me not just unsatisfied but utterly unsatisfied right after.

Another thing I want to point out was its parting for five. This book has five parts with its titles I really loved but they were honestly irrelevant. I couldn’t see any reason why it was parted to five since there weren’t any remarkable events happened in each – maybe there were in some of them but that’s only because those were the first and the last parts anyway.

Though it took me quite a while, I eventually learned to love some elements in this book. I loved the variety of the characters from humans to faeries. I loved that instead of just focusing solely on the two main characters, others were given a spotlight as well. There were equal spotlights given both for the human characters and the faeries, hence, showing multiple point of views. I also liked that despite having the element of romance, it didn’t focused that much on it. It was focused on sibling relationships; the loving and the hating. And to top it all, most of the characters – especially the main ones, Aurora and Isabelle – aren’t just typical. Both princesses are different from the other.

I also loved how Hillyer did show us two completely different stories of two sisters. For me, this is what most readers will definitely like in this book. Hilyer chose to show us both a healthy and unhealthy sibling relationship. Princess Aurora and her half sister Isabelle having a very loving relationship where both are willing to do anything for the other, these two sisters who love each other unconditionally while Malfeur and Balcour, the most powerful faeries of them all who have a revengeful relationship full of jealousy and hate. Malfeur and Balcour’s story intrigued and excite me the most. I can’t wait to see where is their story going.

The world-building was actually good. Though everything became a mess when the thing about being trapped in a dream came into the scene. It was a whole completely another world and it was actually the most confusing part of the story.

Though it also took a long while, I finally saw and noticed that the storyline was actually interesting – especially with its characters even though it was so so so confusing on the start and the story were mostly just about how Isbe is going to wake her sister and save their kingdom which was really not surprising anymore since this is a Sleeping Beauty reimagining – there were other side stories as well that added a lot more impact to the whole story especially the faeries’ stories and the looming war between the most powerful faerie of all and humans. Also to add that thing where there were people trapped inside a dream, that idea was cool even though it was the most confusing part on the start because that was also the reason why this book gave me Alice In Wonderland (ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES!) feels.

Spindle Fire really could have been an epic fairytale if just given some improvements. This, sadly, didn’t lived up to my expectations – well, maybe closed to being almost. I still want to read the next installment just for the sake of curiosity to what will happen next and to see if there will be improvements. I hate to say this but I don’t think I will be recommending this one.
Profile Image for Anna (Enchanted by YA).
360 reviews353 followers
April 11, 2017
It’s been a few days since I finished this book and while it didn’t necessarily leave a lasting impression, the time spent reading it wasn’t wasted. The story held immense potential which was let down by weaker plot points and a lot of world-building info dumps. I appreciated being able to visualise and understand the different settings, but while descriptions were beautifully written, some went over my head because my eyes kept skipping ahead to see if some action would happen next. Unfortunately y this rarely happened which made it slow-paced.

I had a hard time connecting to either of the main characters, but I appreciated that they reflected different types of strengths. Isabelle and Aurora’s relationship as sisters took centre stage which was refreshing in YA, showing both the loving moments and times of resentment (though I wish they had started with the former so that I understood it more). The parallel between them and the fae sisters was actually my favourite part.

While I’d be interested to see how these relationships play out, I doubt that I’ll be picking up the sequel. Not after Spindle Fire was almost a DNF because it failed to grab or hold my attention in the way that I need with a book.

***I received the ARC ebook as a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review***

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