Size Doesn’t Matter (93): Spindle’s End; The Season

Size Doesn’t Matter (93): Spindle’s End; The SeasonSpindle's End by Robin McKinley
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 22, 2000
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

All the creatures of the forest and field and riverbank knew the infant was special. She was the princess, spirited away from the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But the curse was cast: Rosie was fated to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a poisoned sleep-a slumber from which no one would be able to rouse her.

After feeling whelmed and underwhelmed by Beauty and Rose Daughter, I wasn’t really that excited to read Spindle’s End. Still, Meg had sent it as a present and she knows what’s up, so I took a brief McKinley break and dived in with an open mind. Spindle’s End is so much better, guys.

Unlike the Beauty and the Beast retellings, Spindle’s End is quite funny and also makes a lot of changes to the basic tale. McKinley’s writing in this book is simply lovely, lush and clever. I particularly enjoyed Katriona’s commentary on some of the traditional fairy tale elements, such as the wishes the fairy godmothers gave to the baby princess. She wonders practical things like why they wouldn’t give the princess an inability to be cursed instead of fat curls.

Rosie differs from the passive Sleeping Beauty of legend. She’s bombastic, strange, and stubborn, more comfortable around animals than humans. She doesn’t know she’s a princess, and she’d never ever want to be one. McKinley makes some truly epic changes to the end of the tale, and her version of Sleeping Beauty is truly original: View Spoiler ».

I feel a good bit of affection for these characters, but I didn’t ever get to an emotional place in Spindle’s End. Rosie and Katriona are the only characters who make it to fully fleshed out, and the romances are rushed. I want to strongly ship Rosie and her guy, but my mind could not turn off and ignore the age difference (or his ponytail).

If you’re into awesome fairy tale retellings (and how could you not be), you definitely need to read Spindle’s End if you already haven’t. Just prepare for it to be a super slow (but very good) read.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (93): Spindle’s End; The SeasonThe Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer, Stephen Dyer
Narrator: Erin Spencer
Length: 9 hrs, 2 mins
Published by Listening Library on July 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She can score a goal, do sixty box jumps in a row, bench press a hundred and fifty pounds…but can she learn to curtsey?

Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams, a history major, an expert at the three Rs of Texas (readin’, ridin’, and ropin’), but she’s not a girly girl. So when her Southern belle mother secretly enters her as a debutante for the 2016 deb season in their hometown of Dallas, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for. When Megan’s attitude gets her on probation with the mother hen of the debs, she’s got a month to prove she can ballroom dance, display impeccable manners, and curtsey like a proper Texas lady or she’ll get the boot and disgrace her family. The perk of being a debutante, of course, is going to parties, and it’s at one of these lavish affairs where Megan gets swept off her feet by the debonair and down-to-earth Hank Waterhouse. If only she didn’t have to contend with a backstabbing blonde and her handsome but surly billionaire boyfriend, Megan thinks, being a deb might not be so bad after all. But that’s before she humiliates herself in front of a room full of ten-year-olds, becomes embroiled in a media-frenzy scandal, and gets punched in the face by another girl.

The season has officially begun…but the drama is just getting started.

Listen, lbr, The Season doesn’t do anything original and it’s not totally amazing, but it’s total Christina catnip and I enjoyed the shit out of it. Like hello this is She’s the Man meets Pride and Prejudice and part of me totally loved it.

Megan McKnight’s mom signs her and her sister Julia up for a debutante season. Megan would prefer to focus on her soccer game and really isn’t into dresses but, to try to keep the peace between her mom and dad who have been arguing about selling the family ranch, she reluctantly agrees to try.

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Her one rule: no pink. Well, that and she will not quit soccer. Keeping her grades up, debuting, and being a boss at soccer isn’t easy but Megan’s sure she can manage it. Predictably, while initially judgmental of everything, she gains a new appreciation for debutante skills while also leveling up at soccer and falling in love.

The romance with the Darcy character is sadly rushed, because the Dyers stick really closely to the Pride and Prejudice plot line, taking some lines almost directly from Austen. This means that they actually only meet a couple of times and don’t talk much. Some of Darcy’s lines (like how he can better admire Megan and his girlfriend, the Miss Bingley character, if he doesn’t join them in the pool) land with a serious awkward clunk. Instalove works so much better in a historical setting. It also helps when the Darcy figure isn’t actually dating the Miss Bingley and then awkwardly dumping her (though not before his initial confession).

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Still, there are some interesting elements to their modernization. The debutante season makes a nice setting for a P&P retelling. The parents align with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet pretty well, and Mrs. Bennet isn’t portrayed as over the top as usual which makes a nice change of pace. The story works perfectly well without a Lydia, and the changes made to Wickham’s character work really well. It’s just a shame that almost nothing about the Darcy/Elizabeth dynamic is changed to work better in a modern setting, minus the way he steps in to help the family at the end.

So okay it’s really not brilliant but I was just so damn happy listening to it so I don’t even care. The Season‘s sort of awkwardly between young adult and new adult, without enough sex to make it really fit with the rest of NA and Megan being a bit naively youthful in her observations, but it’s good fun if you’re a total dork for Austen and She’s the Man. If you’re not, don’t bother.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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