Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spindle's End” as Want to Read:
Spindle's End
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Spindle's End


3.81  ·  Rating details ·  21,261 ratings  ·  1,320 reviews
"Spindle's End" is a retelling of the fairy tale, "The Sleeping Beauty", which takes the reader into a magical world filled with modern characters who encounter adventure, love and loss. The curse placed on Rosie at her christening will hunt her down through the years.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by Corgi Childrens (first published May 22nd 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Spindle's End, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Amelia It's part of the world building. Things that stay firmly on the ground are not prone to the whims of wild magic. E.g. rocks aren't often turned into…moreIt's part of the world building. Things that stay firmly on the ground are not prone to the whims of wild magic. E.g. rocks aren't often turned into other things and when they are, you usually still sense the rock underneath. Things that are sometimes on the ground but move e.g. people, land based animals are more prone to magic. Animals that fly are more prone still. Animals that swim are so prone that they've become a kind of taboo.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,261 ratings  ·  1,320 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Moira Russell
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 rea ...more
Jul 06, 2011 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 2
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 boo
Melissa Rudder
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 characters:
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i
Those who have struggled with McKinley's writing style and penchant for tangents in the past will probably not get on with this book, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. It's slow -- as most of her books are -- and occasionally convoluted -- as most of her books are -- but it felt... homey. Cozy.

Full review (maybe) to come.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea how to review this book. I started out enthralled with it and Robin McKinley’s beautiful writing.
My progress got slower and slower till I finally stopped at chapter 21, nearly at the end.
I feel awful not finishing it but it just lost allll interest in this book. I feel like it’s at a more rambling, sleepy pace than it was at the beginning and the characters it focuses on now are much less interesting (to me) than the ones at the beginning.
#Did not finish because I’m too busy ri
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done, ya, 2017, fantasy
Very good variant of Rumpelstiltskin, in which a fairy accidentally absconds with the princess after she's cursed. The princess is raised with no idea who she really is. I stayed up too late reading this one. :)
Shauna Hruby
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
belle ✨(bookishlybelle)
4.75 STARS!!

I finished this a couple days ago and I'm STILL thinking of it. I can't even describe how absolutely gorgeous the world-building and magic system in Spindle's End is. The whole book I felt like I was sinking into a soft cloud, or maybe wandering through magical forest with cozy cottages sprinkled throughout.


The writing is "flowery," (sometimes abundantly so) so if you're not a fan
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 i
A warm, fluffy blanket of a book in which the tiny bit of conflict seems almost superfluous. The only surprise was how relentlessly heterosexual it managed to be despite a climax that involves two women kissing each other.
Zane Jones
That took ages to read. It wasn't terrible, it just could have been so much better. It was dense with words upon words and I thought I would never be done with it. It was just what I needed for a while: a nice, slow book to read in my spare moments, but by the end I was sick of it. So, 2.5 stars.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
Saving the world by talking to animals and with the power of female friendship <3
I really like all the world-building in this. There's such a lot of it, right from the first few pages. The problem with it is that there's too much of it -- it's very vivid, but it weighs down the story. The story of Sleeping Beauty is usually fairly unadorned, and the elements of the original story seemed bogged down in all this detail.

It's delightful to read, in some ways, but it did take me a long time to finish reading, and it didn't grip me or become compulsive. I loved the tongue-in-chee
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. Sh
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basic Plot: 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.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
This book was one of the most delightful and charming things I have ever read. Y'all know I love me some Robin McKinley, and I love me some modern fairy tale retellings even more! The combination here leads to to a version of the Sleeping Beauty story that is simultaneously more interesting and more feminist in the original. For one thing, the princess saves herself in this one. And unlike the Disney version, she doesn't spend 80% of the story fucking asleep.

From the very first page,
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oooooh. So I love Sleeping Beauty. It’s my childhood and the entirety of my fantastical dreamscapes as a little girl. I have always enjoyed the story in all its forms from Perrault to Anne Rice to Jane Yolen to Disney. I’ve even trekked to Neuschwanstein castle because I adore the story so much I begged my parents to take me even when I was sick with pneumonia. And I am so glad I read this.
Retelling a fable can go awry sometimes, but this was on the mark. It felt like a Grimm Brother or Shakesp
Mar 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this, I really did. Robin McKinley was one of my favorite childhood authors, so I felt like it was time to read some of her novels that I haven't read. Here's the thing about Robin McKinley, her books are either amazing ("Sunshine", "Hero and the Crown", "Beauty") or quite frankly just suck. Unfortunately, this book falls into the latter.

Spindle's End is a retelling of the story of "Sleeping Beauty" and by retelling I mean like borderline plagiarizing (think Melania
I was recommended this after bemoaning the lack of female friendships in literature and, really, I'm so happy so thank you for the rec Kiersten! :)

So first, this is a retelling of... Sleeping Beauty (Yes, I just googled that, I am soo put together right now). The story begins before the princess's birth and follows her life up until the days when the curse is supposed to take effect. There is a lot of things set-up in the beginning slated for her 18th birthday, which makes the wait n
Picked up again on May 23 2019 to attempt a reread and DNF.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a favorite.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tower at Stony Wood
  • Zel
  • Swan Sister: Fairy Tales Retold
  • Firebird (Fairy Tales #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Golden:  A Retelling of Rapunzel
  • The Swan Maiden
  • Snow White and Rose Red
  • Never After
  • The Wild Swans
  • The Night Dance:  A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold
  • A Curse Dark as Gold
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid
See similar books…
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 she read

Other books in the series

Folktales (3 books)
  • Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
  • Rose Daughter
“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.” 138 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.” 70 likes
More quotes…