Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer


Spindle Fire By Lexa Hillyer

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: April 11th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling

Pages: 351 pages

Format: eGalley & physical ARC (giveaway win)

Rating: ★★★ (3 Stars)

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

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

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

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.

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…

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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 another world created by the Faerie Queen’s sister. So, it’s not like she’s 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…

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Aurora & Isabelle are our MC’s, they are half sister’s with a language all of their own making. Isabelle is blind & Aurora is mute, they 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 😉

Have any of my bookish peeps read Spindle Fire? if so, which sister’s POV did you enjoy more? 😉

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Author: LairOfBooks

"Between The Pages Of A Book Is A Lovely Place To Be"-Anonymous

27 thoughts on “Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer”

    1. Thank you Stephanie! 😉 I’m on the Spindle squad as well, i just wished I had enjoyed this one a bit more. I hope you enjoy when you get around to it & yea sooooo many books so very little time *sobs*

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  1. Great review for this book Lilly. As a fairytale retelling Spindle Fire was always going to be an automatic add to my to-read list. It’s a shame you weren’t as interested in Aurora’s chapters, and I guess with the instalove angle on top I’m likely going to feel the same way, but it sounds like Isabelle is a great character. Also I love the sound of the world building. I feel like I’m going into this book with neutral expectations, so it could go either way for me when I eventually get around to it. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Beth! Isabelle is a strong character I think you’ll enjoy, Aurora has her moment at the end that made me raise a brow lol. I hope book 2 sees Aurora at the forefront since ultimately it is a Sleeping Beauty re-telling and she is the main character. I think neutral is def a good way to go into this one 😉

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  2. I don’t know if I ever tell you, but I absolutely love the layout of your reviews and the graphics. The blog is so beautiful. This review came together quite nicely 😉 I do like the fact that she in another “realm” instead of just asleep. But I have to agree, it is a real shame it took so long to connect with the MC or find any true interest in her. Hopefully the sequel will do her justice 😉

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    1. Seriously having a moment over here! THANK YOU DANIELLE! that mean a lot to me, you’re too sweet 😉 I LOVED that she wasn’t just sleeping while everyone else had the adventure. I’m hoping book 2 sees Aurora more front and center & less naive. Don’t be surprised if your notifications blow up tomorrow lol, I owe you a visit & will be playing catch up 😉

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  3. I’ve been looking forward to your review for this one, Lilly! And you’ve actually made me more curious about this book than I was before. That sucks that you didn’t really care for Aurora’s chapters though. Especially since it’s in two POVs. I would have been looking ahead because I get so impatient when I don’t like one of the POVs 🙈. Either way, I’m thinking I might have to check this one out from the library and read it at some point. Mainly because it has faeries and books with faeries automatically have my interest 😂. Great review as always!! ♥

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  4. Thank you Melissa! sometimes I wonder, who reads my reviews?!?! LOL! I’m actually glad that it has heightened your curiosity. I read a ton of bad reviews before reading Spindle but didn’t let that discourage me. Ultimately, I think that this can improve and I’m hoping that it does. I love faeries & anything based around Malefecint is a plus for me, I’ll keep an eye out for your thoughts 😉

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  5. I can’t believe I missed this book as I love retellings. I’m not entirely sure that I’m convinced to pick it up now though tbh. I’m a bit overly critical of retellings if truth be told because I always have such high expectations going in and so your own issues would no doubt niggle me – although I do like the idea of the other realm.
    Lynn 😀

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    1. yeah I feel like it completely fell under the radar. I actually 1st heard of it at Bookcon last year when I arrived at the booth 2 minutes too late for an arc copy lol. This only made me want it more only to be left feeling a little underwhelmed. The other realm was OK, not the best tbh. Now the faeries themselves were pretty intriguing & the Queen was def channeling Malefecint which I was all for but still…meh lol.

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  6. Oooo I really like the cover for this! AND its a Sleeping Beauty retelling?!?!

    “Isabelle is blind & Aurora is mute, they communicate via a series of taps on each other’s hands…” This is amazing! Didn’t expect the representation here. I assume it is well done or you would have mentioned it.

    Anyways! Sounds like a great retelling with fantastic world building BUT awkward writing style… That’s too bad. Maybe the author will sort it all out in the next book. Fingers crossed!

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  7. I love the idea of half-sisters, one blind and one mute, who narrate alternating chapters. What a fascinating idea. You mentioned that reading this was a bit awkward for you– are you just not a fan of present-tense, or did you struggle with other aspects of the writing? I imagine it must be a challenge to write from both of these perspectives!

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    1. It is a very unique concept, one that I was intent on enjoying. It’s def a matter of writing style with this one. I actually enjoy present tense very much however, it did t work in Spindle’s favor. One sisters story line def fell short compared to the other. I always admire authors who write multiple POV’s as it is also one of my fave style to read. I’m not giving up on this duology though, I’ll be seeing it through to its end with hopes for improvement.

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