Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

From the Amazon website

In this captivating and darkly funny tale, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have twisted together the familiar and the new as well as the beautiful and the wicked to tell a brilliant version of Snow White’s (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty’s (almost) stories.

Read this if you love:

  • Fairy tales turned on their heads
  • strong heroines
  • characters invested in self-discovery

My Review

What I loved.

First, the illustrated format artwork is beautiful. They work well with the text to create a mysterious and scary world where the town has completely fallen asleep. The illustrations enhance the creepiness of the zombie-like population.

With respect to the story, I love the twists he puts on both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Snow White is given the a chance to save her kingdom, and she takes it seriously. Because she has been cursed to sleep and woken up, she is immune to the neighbouring kingdom’s curse, so it has to be her to protect the kingdom.

I love that in this version, Sleeping Beauty is not a victim either. But everyone in the town thinks she is. Gaiman is an expert at twisting the familiar in his stories.

Finally, I love the fact that Snow White decides to change her future in this book. She takes ownership of what she desires, and goes after it.

What I didn’t love.

There is a little bit of a spoiler here, so please don’t read ahead if you want to read the book.

While this story is about Snow White saving her kingdom after her fairy tale is complete, I felt a bit robbed by the fact that she isn’t the one to save the day at the end. She is tough and smart, and her compassion wins the day. And the character who does save the kingdom warrants it. But I wanted it to be Snow White.

My Analysis


13rd close past, Snow White, dwarves, servant


External: Horror – Supernatural
Global Values: Damnation / Life
Core Need: Safety
Core Emotion: Fear
Controlling idea: Sometimes you need to do what’s right and change your life.

Internal: Status
Global Values: Failure or Success
Core Emotion: Admiration or Pity


Violence: high.
Gore: Hi gore, body parts shown.
Romance/Sex: None. Kiss.
Series: Standalone Illustrated Short Story.
Reality Clover: Sci-fi / Fantasy – Past

Reference Info: