Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil GaimanThe Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
on 2014-10
Pages: 72
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell - weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish. On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future - and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents. Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

The Sleeper and the Spindle combines two classic fairytale and gives them a delicious twist. A queen, complete with dwarf escorts, goes on a quest the day before her wedding to save a kingdom and a princess from a witch’s enchantment. This is Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty but not in a way we have ever seen either of them before.

At only 72 pages, The Sleeper and the Spindle is a fairly short read but it managed to deliver a complete story full of evil witches, royalty, curses and everything you expect from a fairy tale. This book is a tale with a delightfully dark edge to it and manages to deliver a few surprises throughout the story. This isn’t just another tale of courtly love and prince charming. I thought it was a great take on the fairy tale genre with the story falling somewhere in between Grimm and Disney.

This edition of The Sleeper and the Spindle is absolutely beautiful. Pictures of the book online do not do it justice. Chris Riddell’s illustrations, done in a combination of black and metallic gold, bring Gaiman’s words to life. The drawings are so detailed and the gold elements add a certain special something to the otherwise black and white illustrations. I loved how many drawings there were throughout the book and having them entwined with the story made this a very special read.

Whilst this book is a fantastic addition to the fairytale genre, I wanted more. It’s short and does tell a complete story however there is so much more I would have liked to know and see. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spend reading this book.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is a fun and quick read for fans of fairy tales and twisted stories. Neil Gaiman’s trademark quirky style is evident in the story and he gives readers an interesting take on stories we all know. Perfect for younger and older readers alike, The Sleeper and the Spindle is beautifully presented with the illustrations giving the story extra depth and meaning.


Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy.  


    • Seriously – the illustrations are gorgeous. My 2 year old niece was flicking though my copy pointing at all the flowers and faces (by faces… she means skulls!). It’s a lovely book and the pictures make it all the more special!

  1. I love, love, love fairytales, so I’ll definitely be reading this. And also I keep hearing promising things about Neil Gaiman, though I’m get to actually read any of his novels. But yeah, this is going on my to-read list for after exams. 😀 Great review!

    • Thanks Kara 🙂 I quite like Gaiman’s novels. I’ve read American Gods, The Graveyard Book and I started reading Stardust. He’s a brilliantly creative author but definitely one of those where I have to be in the right mood to read him. Hope you enjoy his work if you read any of his books!

  2. I want this book so much, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a copy for review, but I am going to buy it. It looks so beautiful and I can’t wait to see the pictures in real life. I didn’t realise it was going to be so short either, but I am still very excited. Great review, thanks for sharing.

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