I loved this book!
Like all of Anne Elisabeth Stengl‘s anthologies, Five Magic Spindles is a collection of five very different novellas that all involve events and themes from one fairy tale – in this case, the Sleeping Beauty story. I highly recommend this fun anthology! Here’s a little information about each of the individual stories.
The Man on the Buckskin Horse
Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can’t prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.
A fairy tale retold as a Western? How fun! The author makes it work entirely without magic. This story was also unique in that the main character was neither Sleeping Beauty nor the prince.
Guardian of Our Beauty
Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.
Talk about an unusual part of the world to set a re-told fairy tale in. But the author pulled it off! I enjoyed Palli’s personality and abilities.
The Ghost of Briardale
Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day.
I thought this one was quite clever. True Heroes in this world are people who have either saved a kingdom, slain a dragon, or moved a mountain, and only a True Hero can get through the enchantment around Sleeping Beauty. How is an ordinary boy with a hero’s heart supposed to manage?
Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.
This story is unique in that it’s told largely from the fairy godmother’s point of view. Unlike most of the others, it begins shortly before the prince sets out to rescue Sleeping Beauty instead of before she falls into her enchanted sleep.
Out of the Tomb
Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.
I have to say, this one is definitely my favorite out of the five. The author has done an amazing job of worldbuilding, perhaps the best I’ve ever seen in a story of this length. Her descriptions give a vivid picture of the planet’s history, technology, plant and animal life, and culture. In many cases, this is done with just a few well-placed words and phrases here and there that blend seamlessly with the action. I definitely want to read more by Ashley Stangl!
In summary, this is an exciting and entertaining book that is definitely worth the $3.99. Grab your copy today!
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