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A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow (Fractured Fables #1)

8/10 There’s something special about turning Ye Olden Fable that is a literal snooze-fest into an exciting multiverse-spanning race against time with magic, love, abandoned jail parties, a smidge of astrophysics, and some other witchy ingredients that makes a modern fairy tale a winner

This one is a fun one. Not to say that Harrow’s other short stories and novels aren’t fun, but there’s something special about turning Ye Olden Fable that is a literal snooze-fest into an exciting multiverse-spanning race against time with magic, love, abandoned jail parties, a smidge of astrophysics, and some other witchy ingredients that makes a modern fairy tale a winner.

Zinnia of Ohio just turned twenty-one and a terminal illness all but guarantees she won’t see twenty-two. She has a lifelong obsession with Sleeping Beauty, and not just the warped Disney version. Her best friend Charm is Zinnia’s version of Prince Charming: Zinnia’s true life companion, caring and defending her since youth. Charm throws Zinnia a Sleeping Beauty-themed twenty-first birthday bash, but when she pricks her finger, she’s finds herself whisked away into the twisted fairy-tale world of Primrose, the princess of the Sleeping Beauty version most of us know.

Primrose has less agency than a tree stump in the original tale, so we barely had a chance to get to know her. Whilst Zinnia seeks a way to Quantum Leap her way home, oh boy, we discover Primrose is much more that she initially seems – especially while teamed up with a dying Midwestern girl with a wormhole to catch. Who needs brave knights when you’ve got an interdimensional iPhone with inexplicably still-functioning WiFi that sources the courage and passion needed to rise above adversary?

Primrose, Zinnia, Charm, and a couple of other surprising not-who-they-seem character-reveals round out a clever cast, each with legitimate desires and struggles that are continuously tested, keeping tension levels high throughout the lean 100+ pages. This is an easy story to devour in one sitting. I love chewing over Harrow’s prose so I broke the reading up into smaller courses, re-reading passages to better reflect on some of the bigger themes that the story represents: progressive, intelligent women with agency taking their story back from a historically masochistic series of retellings of this might-actually-be-kind-of-cool tale, if someone were to do it modern justice. Luckily we have Alix Harrow and her gift of words to spin this thread, so don’t sleep on it.

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Alix Harrow's Fractured Fables series


A Spindle Splintered

Fractured Fables #1
8/10

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8/10 from 1 reviews

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