Review: Spindle

Spindle is the third book I've read from Kimberly A. Rogers' Love's Enchanted Tales series. It felt appropriate to read a book from the middle of the series after completing the second to last book, Dragon's Maid, and the first book, Selkie's Song. Spindle is about on par with the sweet love story from Dragon's Maid and is a vast improvement over the faux Disney-mocking from Selkie's Song, though it did contain some welcome cameos of Naia and Malik. This book stood out among the ten in the series because "Sleeping Beauty" is such a versatile story to adapt. The fairy tale is so simple that every novelization is unique in how it chooses to expand upon the details. This version follows the protagonist's journey after she wakes up to learn that a century has passed and her kingdom is in turmoil. It has everything you would expect from a contemporary retelling of "Sleeping Beauty."

Spindle by Kimberly A. Rogers

Spindle is the story of Celena, the cousin of King Eric from Selkie's Song, the first book in this series. Celena is cursed by a dragon to fall asleep when she pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. For some reason, that does not stop her from spinning flax as a hobby, which makes it that much easier for the curse to take effect. One hundred years later, Celena is awakened by a mercenary named Brand, who must take on the burdon of revealing to her that everyone she knew is long gone. Yet, adjusting to the new century is not the most difficult challenge Celena must deal with. Upon her research about the time she was asleep, the duchess learns of a civil war that began while she slept and that her kingdom is in danger of being overtaken by a wicked tyrant. Though she had no prior ambition to rule, she must now face the task of taking back her kingdom for the sake of protecting the citizens.

This is the first book I read from Love's Enchanted Tales that does not have a paranormal romance between a human and a dragon or selkie. Then again, I suppose a woman who lived a hundred years in the past qualifies as paranormal. I thoroughly enjoyed the development of Celena and Brand's romance and all of the challenges that come between them. As stereotypical as it is for social class to divide two lovers in the middle ages, I liked that Brand was hired as Celena's Captain of the Guard so he could remain close enough for her to get to know him better while his lack of noble ranking remains as an obstacle. It was bittersweet to read about him answering all of her questions about the past to the best of his abilities as well as his fierce determination to protect her from becoming corrupted by the new order.

Though much of Spindle focuses on the politics of taking over a kingdom, it doesn't get too tedious due to its strong pacing. It is half as long as Selkie's Song, which works to its benefit in just about every way. After Celena is awakened, she is tossed around like a piece of meat among the nobles who wish to find a consort to use her newfound power as the heir to the throne. Among them, she meets the Duke of Glenrowan, who is the love interest from the following book. He added a healthy dose of mystery and intrigue to the story and gave Celena a believable love triangle instead of making Brand her only viable option. I also enjoyed the dichotomy between Celena's innocence with the corruption among all the other nobles she was forced to deal with in her quest to take back the kingdom.

Spindle is exactly what you would want to see from an updated retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." It places the power back in the hands of the protagonist by transforming the tale of a helpless princess into a one about a courageous woman fighting to restore her kingdom after years of corruption. The book doesn't dance around the fact that Celena must cope with the loss of everyone she held dear before she fell asleep. It dove into all the emotions that a person in her situation would experience. I love how supportive Brand was toward her plight even if he did not fully understand what she was going through. His humility combined with her obligation to marry a consort of noble blood gave this book the perfect fairy tale romance to complete the story.

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