Five Magic Spindles

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Five Magic Spindles
Rachel Kovaciny, Kathryn McConaughy, Grace Mullins, Michelle Pennington, and Ashley Stangl
Rooglewood Press

Awaken the Magic!

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.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.

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.

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.

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.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems.

     I've finally gotten my hands on this collection, and it was just as good as I had hoped. Each story is vastly different, but they all include the most recognizable elements of "Sleeping Beauty," and one thing almost all have in common is the importance placed upon secondary characters to help tell the tale of a sleeping princess.

     The first story, The Man on the Buckskin Horse, was a clever western retelling of the tale that I enjoyed whole-heartedly- even if I'm not in general a big fan of the genre. But Emma was such a likable character and the Sleeping Beauty elements were woven in so perfectly that I couldn't help but be completely won over by it.

     Within the first sentence, I was immediately drawn in to the absolutely gorgeous writing style of Guardian of our Beauty. The fantasy, Middle-Eastern-like setting fit the story beautifully, and reminded me a little bit of C.S. Lewis's country of Calormen in The Horse and His Boy (That's my favorite Narnia book, by the way, so of course that pleased me) There was something so rich and magical in this retelling. It's difficult for me to pick a favorite from the collection because I liked them all, but this one might be it.

     With a plot I personally found the most unusual and original of the entire bunch, The Ghost of Briardale also included comedic elements and some truly zany characters. I wasn't quite as big of a fan of the writing style of this one as I was some of the others, but I felt the cast of characters and the creepy setting of the asylum really picked this story up a notch. And I loved how Franz became a "true" hero!

     At first I wasn't sure if I would enjoy Spindle Cursed as much, since it didn't capture my attention as quickly as the others, perhaps because it was much more traditional in its interpretation of the fairy tale. However, I felt this one really got better and picked up the deeper into the story I got, and I ended up really enjoying it. Also, it had a dragon.

     The story I was the most worried about was Out of the Tomb- not, I must stress, because I doubted the fittingness of science fiction in a Sleeping Beauty retelling. Actually, I am quite fond of the idea- so fond, in fact, that I have WIP of that exact thing. So, judging from the story synopsis, I admit I had worried that our stories would be too alike. (Every writer's dread!) However, aside from a few small similarities, they weren't too much alike at all, and I greatly enjoyed this one! The opening reminded me a bit of Rey's introduction in The Force Awakens and I loved revolution-filled background, of which its familiarity and plausibility helped add realism to this fantastical and imaginative story.

     Overall, this was a great fairy tale collection from Rooglewood Press, and I'm excited to see which fairy tale they intend for their next collection.

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