Audio Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

I borrowed The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman from my local library. This audio book was performed by a full cast which I always love so much!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Summary from GoodReads:

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.

I’m biased when it comes to Gaiman, I usually find his way of writing stories and viewing life so interesting. This story definitely has it’s twists and turns and didn’t exactly go where I thought it might. At the same time the story feels familiar because it is based on fairy tales we all know and love. I do like retellings and I love a good mash-up so those aspects of the story kept me listening, plus it is a short story so it was over really before I knew it. But that was also part of the problem, there wasn’t as much development of character that I normally expect from Gaiman and the twists were OK, but not of the deep and dark and unexpected caliber that I have come to expect from the author.

Listening to a full cast is always fun, it makes telling the different characters apart easier and I enjoy hearing several people chime in on a story. No one stood out as particularly brilliant or horrible, just good voice actors giving life to  a story. (As I read the audio version of the book, I cannot comment on the supposed amazing pictures of the hardcover, but I hear it was brilliantly done.)

I enjoyed this retelling from Gaiman, but it is not my favorite of his stories. Some of the story line was predictable and it was so on the go adventuresque (that’s a word, I think?) that I didn’t get the same sense of development of character as I have from his other books. The ending was different than I expected, but not so much so I was blown away by it. While a fun fairy tale retelling/mash-up story to listen to, I’m glad I borrowed it from the library.

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