It all started with the burning of the spindles.
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.
Pros – Isbe & Aurora’s relationship, the Prince, the structure of the book
Cons – Book 1 of 2, Isbe’s relentless quest to sacrifice, Aurora’s relentless quest to be right
Spoiler – None. Well, there’s a spoiler involving the Princes, but the information is pretty quickly revealed in the book so I don’t know if its a real spoiler or not.
Note – I do some speculation in this review, because once again I went in thinking this was a stand alone and its not.
Review – In my GR review I mentioned that I couldn’t make this an outright four star because there is so much about it that leaves me hanging – when I wasn’t expecting to – that it frustrated me. I read an e-ARC of this title and at the time I read it (October 2016) the only indication that the book had a sequel in the works was in a note in the book itself. Nothing I have seen otherwise (as of Oct 2016) mentioned it.
Early impressions leave me rather satisfied. Some answers can be figured out early on if you are good at riddles or piecing together patches of seemingly unrelated info. The book is third person omniscient but jumps between primarily Aurora & Isbe, with interludes from the Fae for context (regarding the curse, the conflict between the Fae Queens, etc). It’s also split into five parts, though I’m a little less understanding of that reason. This almost feels like a television episode or movie in set-up actually.
What I did appreciate was that while there are romances for each girl, more or less, what drives Isbe is her love of Aurora and what drives Aurora is her sense of right. They both want to do right by the Kingdom – for Isbe that means saving her sister and sacrifice, for Aurora that means unraveling the truth of her curse and the truth of the land she finds herself. Two sisters long ago, one so bright and shining, the other desperately trying to live up to that sister. An unintentional betrayal, a bitterness so vast it couldn’t be filled and a consequence no one could have seen.
The Prince…I won’t say his name as its a bit of a spoiler…is at first quite obnoxious. I didn’t quite like how he treated Isbe, though as time wore on I realized it was less out of princely conceit and more out of an academic’s disinterest in the social niceties. I do like how the two banter and argue, often came to the same conclusion but from different viewpoints.
Aurora during her adventures grows considerably. Not that she began as a spoilt princess, but much like Isbe she was not used to the “real world” and unlike Isbe who was never treated like a princess, Aurora found it at times difficult to reconcile everything she had been told (as a future ruler) vs. the reality. This doesn’t make her a bad person, and indeed I enjoyed watching her learn and grow from her mistakes.
Isbe is harder to like much of the time. Her snarky commentary and brash attitude covers up a resentment I’m not sure she even recognized. She’s prickly, unwilling to bend unless really forced into that position. Snaps first, questions later. Her journey to save her sister mellows her, teaches her patience and not to jump to conclusions, but in the end I think Aurora proved to be strong in a way Isbe could not be.
Overall a solid fantasy, with some intriguing world building and use of folk lore and stories to distort the truth of things.
Want to Know More?
Published by: Paper Lantern Lit
Release: April 11, 2017
Series: Spindle Fire Book 1
Add it to Goodreads