Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first book
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.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you might know that fairy tale retellings and I don’t often get along. I just find that the stories are too familiar, the beats too well known, so that there’s little surprising or new feeling in them – I know how it will end before I even begin.
That didn’t happen with THE BONE SPINDLE – in fact, I am rather surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. Indiana Jones meets a gender-swapped Sleeping Beauty is an absolutely spot-on description for the book, and it works so well.
It starts with the prologue – which is another thing that’s not usually for me – but we get the classic Sleeping Beauty (well, the Disney version!) opening. The big chance you notice immediately? It’s Prince Briar Rose as the one getting blessed and cursed. I don’t know how I missed the Prince’s name in the blurb, but seeing that in the prologue was what told me I was about to be in for a real treat, full of nods to the animated movie.
And there are so many nods. My absolute favourite (cue the silent squealing) was the fact that there’s a scene that parallels Aurora dancing with the animals in the clothes to mimic a man from the Disney film. I mean!!? That would have been so easy to miss out and yet the magic is cleverly used to get it to work.
The plot itself is a lot of fun – booby traps and puzzles in old forgotten studies/houses of witches. Trying to get into the old kingdom and avoid the witch hunters – not to mention a truly awful ex (please can he get his comeuppance in the sequel?!) The two girls go from reluctant allies to friends while also grappling with their own demons. It’s a dynamic that works to well.
And, of course, there’s the romance between Fi and Briar. (There’s also Shane and the witch, and the witch just steals scenes like no one’s business. But there’s not too much I can say about that relationship without spoilers! But, yeah, trust your gut on Red the witch, and just enjoy all her scenes.)
Back to Fi and Briar. I really liked the way he was brought into the story so that they had plenty of time to interact and come to trust one another. It makes the romance more believable than “oh look, kissed him and bam! in love.” Plus it doesn’t end at the “all in love”, but in a “tentative possibility of it becoming something real now”, ready to deepen with more time in the sequel.
And yes, there is a sequel! Not sure if it’s a duology or more, but either way, I will certainly be reading it.