Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell #BookReview #RetellingsReadingChallenge #FairyTale

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (illustrator)


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.

My thoughts:

The queen (Snow White) is due to marry her prince and live happily in her kingdom until she’s informed of a sleeping enchantment that has taken over everyone in a nearby land. She takes matters into her own hands, alongside her dwarves-at-arms, and journeys to see what this enchantment is all about.

“She called for provisions, and for her horse, and then she rode out of the palace, towards the east.”

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I adored Snow, Glass, Apples and have enjoyed nearly everything I’ve read by him. This fairy tale was enjoyable too. It’s more of a reimagining than a retelling because it combines “Snow White” with “Sleeping Beauty” but woven into a new, unique tale with a main emphasis on the women. The writing is smooth, making this an easy read, and it’s a quick one too with under one hundred pages, including the illustrations. I grabbed the physical copy and read it along with the full-cast performance audio. I highly recommend the audio because it helps to deeply immerse you in the story creating a richer experience.

“This is not honorable,” said a dwarf. “We should stay and fight.”

“There is no honor,” gasped the queen, “in fighting an opponent who has no idea that you are even there. No honor in fighting someone who is dreaming of fishing or of gardens or of long-dead lovers.”

“What would they do if they caught us?” asked the dwarf beside her.”

“Do you wish to find out?” asked the queen.

“No,” admitted the dwarf.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is dark and gothicky with some clever twists. It’s beautifully illustrated in black and white by Chris Riddell, which magnificently complements the story. The cover is stunning too! This story had me engaged, but in the end, it felt short and simple with more room to grow. It left me craving more.

Overall, this was still an interesting read. I ended up ordering a copy for our collection.


Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Publisher : HarperCollins; First Edition (September 22, 2015)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 64 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062398245
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062398246
  • Reading age : 13 – 17 years
  • Grade level : 8 – 9

This is another addition to the Retelling Reading Challenge. You can see my challenge by clicking the image below.

Thanks for reading my review! Have you read this book? Do you have any other favorite Neil Gaiman books? Feel free to share your thoughts below.


26 thoughts on “Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell #BookReview #RetellingsReadingChallenge #FairyTale

        1. I see. There’s 10 books in the series, and I just looked on Goodreads and see he has multiple series with Chris Riddell. I didn’t even realize these were written for elementary age either. My library has them, so we’ll give them a shot.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Reads and Happenings: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry – Hatchet & The River by Gary Paulsen #Reading #AmReading #Books – ReadRantRock&Roll

    1. I think it’s probably considered more of a reimagining just because all’s he’s really done is used the characters. It’s so loosely based and unique. Coraline is one of our favorites too. Thank you for reading, Diana. Hope you’re doing well today. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2021 Retellings Reading Challenge: #2021ReadingChallenge #FairyTales #RetellingsReadingChallenge #Retellings #Books – ReadRantRock&Roll

  3. Pingback: Late March/April Wrap-Up #Books #BookReviews #Music #ReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

  4. Pingback: Final results! 2021 Retellings Reading Challenge: #2021ReadingChallenge #FairyTales #RetellingsReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s