Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

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It’s lucky this was an ARC. Else I might not have been able to prevent myself from buying this gorgeousness.

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Release Date: April 11, 2017

Rating: 2 Stars

So far this is the biggest disappointment of 2017. Because DO YOU SEE THAT COVER. The synopsis is intriguing too, and of course I love all things fairy tale and retelling, but THE COVER.

Spindle Fire is quite creative and very unique. Hillyer is a poet, and it shows. Some of the sentences she writes are lovely. But perhaps Spindle Fire is…too unique? For lack of a better word? It just seemed so strange.

I honestly cannot tell Aurora and Isbe apart. They seemed so bland, and besides Aurora’s lack of touch and voice(so creative) and Isbe’s blindness, I can’t really say too much about their personalities, good or bad. Same issue with their respective love interests. Just unremarkable. And the switching POVs really bothered me (which I guess isn’t that unusual) maybe because of the narration style. Every time I finally felt some sort of connection it was yanked away by a new POV.

This book is told in 3rd person present tense, which isn’t my favorite anyway, and this time I absolutely hated it because I felt so detached from the story. I still don’t really know what was going on the whole time. And there was a weird gap between the narrator and the characters, which in books like The Vanishing Season works well and is enjoyable, but flopped in Spindle Fire. And the narrator kept butting in to point things out that we’d have to be morons to not understand. Like how what the characters were doing now related to a past experience. Just obvious things like that. I didn’t read long enough to see, but I bet she’ll even explain the significance of all the names.

The names were another example of how the writer seems to think we’re not too smart. i.e. Malfleur-bad flower. Whenever I saw that name all the magic was gone because “bad flower” is a terrible name. Belcoeur-beautiful heart. So does she end up good? I don’t know, but all the clues hint hint hint… and finally the kingdom of death, our lovely LaMorte. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too hard on the poor names. But I think names with “hidden” meanings should be way more subtle.

The worldbuilding is not terrible but it’s not particularly great either. There are some info-dumps, though not awful. To me there was just something not quite established enough about the world the story was set in, and this made me feel like I wasn’t quite seeing what I was supposed to be.

The idea behind  Spindle Fire is clever but everything seemed so simplistic-and yet I still don’t know what’s going on. (It must be my tendency to overanalyze, because there’s nothing in this book that should stump me. Remember bad flowers?)

The pacing is weird. We’ll be skipping along leisurely and then BAM! And then la dee da BAM – wait, what? Does that make sense? Would that happen in the very specific year of 1313? And so on.

But the cover is gorgeous. It looks pretty on my shelf. And the imagery in the writing is pretty. A few sentences are great – just not the actual book. Someday maybe I’ll read something else Hillyer writes.


Synopsis – Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

It all started with the burning of the spindles.
No.
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.

Spindle Fire is the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

Hmm. I only read half of the book, but the half I read had no notable swearing and no sex. The rest of the book could go either way, I guess.

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