The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (ARC Review)

Information

Goodreads: The Bone Spindle
Series: The Bone Spindle #1
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: PR Company for Review
Publication Date: January 11, 2022

Official Summary

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. 

Star Divider

Review

The Bone Spindle promises an exciting adventure that’s half fairy tale, half treasure hunt, with multiple points of view and romance thrown in for all. The book is ambitious in its premise and its writing, and while I don’t think it always reached the heights it was aiming for, the overall product was an enjoyable read.

The opening of the book did not catch my attention. I wasn’t invested in either Shane or Fi as characters, and I often felt as if I were being told things about their characters rather than seeing them. Shane is a great warrior with a reputation, a “huntsman for hire,” though I never figured out what was supposed to make her a “huntsman,” exactly. Fi is a historian/treasure hunter with a mysterious past that’s haunting her. However, being told Shane is force to be reckoned with or told that Fi is brilliant is different from believing it, and it took me a while to warm up to them as characters. There is a lot of information and world building that needs to be shared. I admit I felt mildly bored by the whole thing, and I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.

For me, the book really picks up with the introduction of Briar Rose. Although he’s under a sleeping spell, he’s often the most alive. I loved seeing the world through his eyes, his excitement about the quest and finally waking up and freeing his people, his pure belief that Fi and he are meant to be. He’s so in love with living that one can’t help be drawn in and think everything is beautiful and amazing, too, even when the characters are down on their luck or in danger. His adoration of Fi even convinced me she’s at least somewhat interesting as a character. I would read a whole book from his POV alone and enjoy it.

The plot also picks up once this “main quest” of breaking the curse picks up. I do think there are times the book reads the way I am plotting my own WIP, which is that whenever I get bored of writing the story I make something crazy and exciting happen, and the characters seem to get into quite a lot of sudden scrapes. But erring on the side of wild things happening every 50 pages is perhaps better than making nothing happen at all, and some of the scenes are quite entertaining. I do wish, however, that more of these obstacles and pitfalls were related to the main villain. The characters are constantly building up the villain who is going to stop them, who is going to put their entire quest in question, who is going to kill them before they get to end the curse . . . and I spent most of the book waiting for this person to bother making an appearance. It’s quite a letdown.

So, I found the story had a lot of highs and lows. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I was hoping, especially as I love YA fantasy and fairy tale retellings and lots of the elements that went into this book. However, there were times I gasped or laughed or wondered what would happen next, and the overall experience was positive. I do think I’m interested in reading the sequel, which is always a good sign.

Briana
3 Stars