[Review] A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow

★★★★☆

fantasy | LGBT | adult

It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.


The first book I tried to read from Alix E. Harrow was half a bust, as I have not been able to finish it yet but might write a post about it soon-ish. To make it short though, it was amazing but so, so long. So when I received this book and it was only 128 pages long I was completely baffled, I didn’t know it was a novella!

But don’t let the short page count fool you, it still makes every single page count when it comes to delivering a great story. The story is a whole critique of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, and it contains a lot of references to the different versions of the story. From the oldest and darkest to the common Disney version. While short, I believe the story comes to a clean ending without sacrificing any of the good development leading to it. Now do I wanna read more about this? Not sure, but I’m looking forward to A Mirror Mended to see what Alix has in store for this series.

With a mix of modern and old times, not sure what time the fairytale was set in, it does have some pop culture jokes compared to Victorian times and such. The way Zinna speaks has a lot of modems and slang from today, being a 27-year old that doesn’t speak or understand today’s slang it was a little tiring at some point, but it didn’t discourage me at all from enjoying the story. Zinna makes fun of several historical inaccuracies on this new dimension she finds herself in, so I see it as a joke within a joke kind of thing.

Romance is far from being a huge part of the plot, the lesbian representation is there in many ways, but the romance is there for almost a blink of an eye. However, I loved the diversity of women portrayed in the story, not just by the main cast but overall the women in this story were amazing.

As mentioned before, despite the low page count the book sure packs a lot of content. Like, there were a lot of plot twists that kept the story going and had me engaged through the whole thing. It didn’t quite feel like just a short novella, really. There were a lot of things going on, but everything was brought to an open ending that leaves us looking forward to the sequel.

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