Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and All the Stars and Teeth: The Bone Spindle, by Leslie Vedder.
I picked up The Bone Spindle to read on a plane, the kind of book you take with you because you think you’ll manage a few chapters, then fall asleep, then hopefully a few more chapters after you get up. No one’s eating anything on a plane these days, so it’s just sleeping and reading.
Except I couldn’t put the book down. I didn’t sleep, I just kept on reading till I was done. And then, afterwards, I kind of paused and thought about how the worst part about getting ARCs to review is that there was no sequel I could just look up. I would have to wait, just like everyone else.
Reading The Bone Spindle feels, at times, like you’re caught in one of those interminable action sequences in the middle of one of those modern action films. You know, the ones that actually include feelings. Not in a bad way, either. There’s enough fairy-tale in this that it doesn’t feel like any other book you’ve read before. But there’s still a certain comfort to reading this book, like by making a mashup of different genres and stories, Leslie Vedder has actually managed a mashup of things we like.
Including, but not limited, to the kind of partners that start hating each other and end up willing to die for each other, something that either really, really works, or really, really doesn’t, but here it just clicks.
The book is, at its core, a genderbent version of Sleeping Beauty. It follows Fi, a treasure hunter, and Shane, a fierce warrior with an axe, who team up to find a map. What is the map leading them to? Magic. Treasure. Who knows? Either way, the thing is that, along the way to the map, Fi pricks her finger on a bone spindle and ends up waking Prince Briar Rose. Yes, his name is Briar Rose.
His spirit then comes along for the ride as Fi and Shane’s endgame changes. Now they have to figure out a way to break his curse, because of course they do. Wouldn’t you?
Does this sound like the best thing you have yet to read? Because I swear, in so many ways, it is. It’s fun, it’s a breeze to read, it’s engaging, and the characters are so so easy to root for. There’s also great worldbuilding and omg so many questions and things I want to see in the sequel. Like, can I get the next book now? I have QUESTIONS.
And feelings about both love stories we get in this tale, because yes, we get two. I’m always a sucker for genderbent retellings, and I’m especially a sucker for queer retellings. So if any of the things I’ve just mentioned sound like your kind of thing, then please, give The Bone Spindle a chance. And even if they don’t, I would still recommend you give it a try.
If nothing else, it’ll probably make you smile. There are a lot worse things to do these days than read a book that’s gonna make you smile.
The Bone Spindle is available now wherever books are sold. You can find the synopsis below:
Two girl treasure hunters. One sleeping prince. A hundred-year-old curse and one very angry witch. Fantasy with m/f and f/f romance for fans of CINDERELLA IS DEAD. A pacey, fractured twist on a classic fairy tale.
Filore, a treasure hunter with a knack for riddles, is busy running from her own deadly curse, when she pricks her finger on a spindle. Bound to the sleeping prince Briar Rose with the spindle’s magic – and chosen as the only person who can wake him – Fi is stuck with the prince’s ghost until she can break his ancient curse and save his kingdom.
She’s going to need a partner. A warrior huntswoman with an axe to grind (literally), Shane couldn’t care less about curses and ancient texts. But instead of riches, the two girls find trouble.
Dark magic, witch hunters, nightmarish beasts – and of course, curses – all stand in their way as Fi and Shane undertake the dangerous journey into a forgotten kingdom where the sleeping prince’s body waits.