Only dying girls choose Sleeping Beauty as their favorite princess. At least according to Zinnia Grey, and she would know because she is dying. Most of her life has been playing out the clock, until her 21st birthday when she, you guessed it, pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls into a fairytale realm. I love that this story didn’t go the way I expected it to. I had the traditional fairytale-happily-ever-after plot diagram in my head and this story deviates from that. The cursed women take control of their own stories and work to carve out their own path that the folklore didn’t give them. Great for fans of retellings, strong women, and multiverse theory. — From Cailey's Picks
October 2021 Indie Next List
“A refreshing and humorous feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty, where the villains are not who you remember and the women are stronger than ever.”
— Katie Harveson, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX
USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow's A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham's original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty, fractured and reimagined.
“A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales.” —Katherine Arden
It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one.
Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.
About the Author
A former academic and adjunct, Alix E. Harrow is a Hugo-award winning writer living in Virginia with her husband and their two semi-feral kids. She is the author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Once and Future Witches, and various short fiction. Find her on Twitter!
An NPR Best Book of 2021
A Locus Best Book and Editor Favorite of 2021
Shortlisted for the 2022 Hugo Award
A Locus Award Finalist!
“A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales.” —Katherine Arden, bestselling author of the Winternight trilogy
“An exceptional heroine, smart writing, and a winning plot.” —Nancy Pearl
“It's funny, sharp, queer, and deeply loves its source material...This novella pushes against the hopelessness of inevitability; it dares us to believe in sympathetic magic; it tells us we're connected through story. It might dent your heart a little, but it's good fun.” —NPR
“Like Into the Spider-Verse for Disney princesses, A Spindle Splintered is a delightful mash-up featuring Alix E. Harrow’s trademark beautiful prose and whip-smart characters.” —Mike Chen, author of Here and Now and Then
“A wonderfully imaginative, and Queer as hell, tale for those who wish to be the authors of their own stories.” —Kalynn Bayron, author of Cinderella is Dead
“This is a self-aware, empowered riff on Sleeping Beauty that manages to be thrilling, funny, smart, and sweet.” —Sarah Pinsker, Nebula Award-winning author of A Song for a New Day
“Alix Harrow takes traditional fairy tales, turns them inside out, then upside down, and uses them to kick ass. Brava!” —Ellen Klages, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Green Glass Sea and Passing Strange
“A Spindle Splintered is a princess story gone rogue. At times sweet and funny, at others bitingly acerbic, this whirlwind tour of fairyland jabs at the old happily-ever-afters — and asks whether we might want more than a prince and a palace.”—Kerstin Hall, author of The Border Keeper
“Harrow creates a lush and magical world with well-developed characters who are easy to love and root for.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Themes of female friendship, female strength, and female independence leave good feels behind, not to mention some laugh-out-loud bits...This fairy tale–superhero movie mashup is pure entertainment.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Best-selling author Harrow revives and rejuvenates the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale with a feminist twist in her latest... Harrow uses her excellent skill as a storyteller to give agency back to the passive princess.” —Booklist
“Accompanied by Arthur Rackham's original illustrations, this quick read is a must for fairy-tale readers.” —Buzzfeed, Best Books of October List