I have come to a conclusion: Robin McKinley's books make me stay up entirely too late reading them. Seriously! It's like I get sucked into the story and cannot put it down. The first night I was reading this, I didn't put it down and turn out the light until 2am. Oops. However, it's totally worth the late night, er - nights. Besides, what else is caffeine for?
Spindle's End is a revisiting of 'Sleeping Beauty', but with twist upon twist upon twist. At some point, I decided it left 'Sleeping Beauty' behind and just went on its own merry little journey. I loved it. (Many thanks to Jess for pointing out that I had to read it!) Thanks to the heroic efforts of Katriona and her aunt Aunt, Rosie - the poor little cursed princess (aka: the Sleeping Beauty) - grows up in a magic-sprinkled environment as an ordinary girl. Well, as ordinary as a girl can be who talks to animals and lives with two fairies. I don't want to give too much about the story itself, because the journey is much of the fun of the reading. The way everything plays out, and turns out, and develops? Amazing.
At times I got a little confused, feeling as if I needed to consciously hold on to the story and follow it through a forest. But, where this would annoy me in most cases, it did not here - probably because the world the story is set in, and in part the story itself, is that sort of complex, convoluted, sometimes-up-is-down way. The characters are all delightfully drawn and some left mysterious. I loved Narl - he reminded me of a couple guys I've known, and he was a nice surprise in the middle of everything. The animals are just as much involved in the story as the humans, and they are written convincingly and enchantingly. Basically, this is just another of McKinley's amazing works, and one that I really feel like you must read for yourself.
Book provided by my local library.