Review: The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder is a fun, adventurous, gender-bent fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty, all contained in its own magical world. Check out my thoughts below for more reasons why I really enjoyed this book & can’t wait for book 2!
Many thanks to Penguin Teen for providing me with an advance reader copy which in no way influences my thoughts below.
The Bone Spindle (The Bone Spindle, #1)by Leslie Vedder
Published by: Razorbill
on January 11, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Retellings, Young Adult
Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and All the Stars and Teeth.
Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn't believe in true love.
Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.
Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who's been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.
Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi--until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she's stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.
Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way--not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane's heart, along with whatever else she's after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.
Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.
The Bone Spindle was just the kind of YA fantasy I needed – fun, adventurous, fast-paced, and gender-bent. You see lately I haven’t been able to devote much of my attention span or brain space to deep fantastical world building. BUT The Bone Spindle made the world clear and easy to understand. There was world building, it was accessible, and a very fast-paced story which helped a lot. Oh and I especially enjoyed that the world isn’t patriarchal and is also very queer normative.
We have two main characters, Fi & Shane. Fi is a book smart artifact hunter, who seeks knowledge and besides being really good at finding secret things, she also finds the hunt fun – but yeah, sometimes searching the ruins can put your life is in danger. But the thrill of finding magical possessions, in a world where magic has dwindled due to a curse that was leveled on the most magical line of witches, has it’s own powerful draw and possibly downsides.
Shane is a natural ax warrior, who puts her services to hire, while running from her past and familial obligations, who has a treasure map and seeks out Fi to partner up to find some magical treasures or troubles! Shane is my favorite character, and it’s not just because she is queer and strong and a total badass, okay, okay maybe it’s all of that, but she just loves so fiercely, and that includes her friends. Her platonic dedication to Fi as the journey progresses is just so admirable.
What neither of them expected to stumble upon the same cursed item (that over 100 years ago laid an entire magical kingdom to sleep) and the only way to break it the curse that Fi is now connected to – is to find and kiss the sleeping prince, Briar Rose. Since Fi pricked herself on the same spindle as the prince, his magical light witch spirit has awoken and he is able to help assist (in kind of a ghostly way) to find his hidden castle and awake him and his entire kingdom. Briar is actually really funny and sweet and works on Fi’s closed off heart the whole way through, because he believes in fairytales, and that she must be his destined beloved if she found the spindle and can truly save him.
Of course there are obstacles in the way, like witch hunters, witches, parents, ex-boyfriends, giant eight-legged magical creatures, and of course more magic, curses, and riddles to solve & defeat! There are also matters of the heart that must be addressed before destiny can be achieved.
This is a multi-POV book, and not everyone gets equal screen time, and that is okay as the story flows well, but I could have loved some more from Shane’s POV. I can’t help it, she was my favorite, and her side story was full of intrigue and the start of a very feisty relationship. Plus her backstory help set the world building a whole lot. I have to say I am really excited there is another book coming as the story has a satisfying ending and doesn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger, but is more the set up for book two!
To sum it up, The Bone Spindle is fun, fast-paced fantasy retelling with strong female characters, a queer subplot, and world of magic to get swept away in!