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Spindle's End (Folktales)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  19,706 Ratings  ·  1,212 Reviews
Renowned fantasy writer Robin McKinley, author of the lush "Beauty and the Beast" retellings Beauty and Rose Daughter, has produced another re-mastered fairy tale, this time about the dreamy Sleeping Beauty. Much like in the original story, the infant princess, here named Rosie, is cursed by an evil fairy to die on her 21st birthday by pricking her finger on a spindle. Tha ...more
Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published May 13th 2002 by Firebird, Penguin Group (USA) (first published May 22nd 2000)
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Renee
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 end.

3. While based on a
...more
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 ...more
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 charact
...more
Jared
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
...more
Misty
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
...more
Anne
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 20
...more
Macha
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 into Rosie's
...more
Shauna
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ali
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 ba
...more
Becky
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 Rosie's birth (as
...more
Gloryseeker33
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
ambyr
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.
Kate
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. She is the lea
...more
Jennifer
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 of rich language
...more
Sophie
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
...more
Kat
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stellarseas
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Я ожидала, конечно, шо-то необычное в конце, НО ЧТОБ ТАК!
Jessica
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
...more
Ali
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.
Melody
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kate
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Considering how much I loved Beauty, I was disappointed with this book. Rosie, Katriona, Aunt, Narl, Peony are all good characters, but I just couldn't get into the story. The pacing was slow, covering 21 years of Rosie's life, most of which nothing happens. Well, what happens is she grows up not knowing she is the princess and makes friends with a lot of people and animals who will be important in the climax. Even so, large chunks of the book could be cut out without the reader missing anything ...more
rivka
May 07, 2008 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!
Dea
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-and-own
Oof, this has to be one of the most boring books I've ever read. (And I have an English degree! I've read so many boring books!) The writing is muddled and unclear, and when I was confused about why something was happening, I didn't know if it was poor writing or because I kept zoning out. (I'm gonna guess it's a bit of both.)

It also has a particularly awful ending, so don't bother skimming to read the end. Just quit when you've had enough, like I should have, 250 pages ago.
Megan
Jun 19, 2008 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.
Yehudit
3.5 stars.
Sandie
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Everyone knows the story. A royal couple, after years of longing, have a beautiful baby girl. All their subjects and the fairies and woodland creatures come to celebrate the birth. But one evil fairy, miffed that her invitation didn't come, storms the party and curses the baby to prick her finger and fall asleep forever.

In this imaginative retelling, Robin McKinley gives an alternative story. When the evil fairy, Pernicia, casts her spell, a fairy named Katriona is there. She won the lottery in
...more
Vivian Chen
Spindle’s End is a retelling of the classical fairytale “sleeping beauty.” McKinely has taken a very unique perspective of the original story. The King and Queen invites fairies and creatures from all different places, and a fairy, named Katriona, is selected from Foggy Bottom to go to the newly birthed baby’s name day celebration. An old fairy, named Pernicia, had been an old rival of the Queen, but everyone thought have disappeared, so she was not invited to the baby’s name day. In honor of th ...more
Jeanie
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-ya
I read this through the catastrophe of late July through mid- September 2017 during which time my mother died, I lost the ability to read or write and eventually had brain surgery, then orchestrated my mother's memorial service, and began recuperating from surgery. So it took a long time.

That said, I loved the book, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and much more satisfying. It took concentration to make my way through the long and convoluted sentences, but the story and the story twists were wond
...more
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
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  • Golden:  A Retelling of Rapunzel
  • The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold
  • Briar Rose
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • Thornspell
  • The Wild Swans (Faerie Tale)
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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
More about Robin McKinley...

Other Books in the Series

Folktales (3 books)
  • Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
  • 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.” 133 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.” 54 likes
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