The Revenge of Snow White – Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle

During the last month comics and graphic novels have been piling up on my floor; while my boyfriend managed to go through most of them, I struggled to keep reading one book at a time. Now that we are finally moving house, I hope I can get them out of the boxes and finally do them justice.

However, this was not true about the Sleeper and the Spindle, which happened to be piled among the graphic novels and I desperately wanted to read before packing, being a Gaiman’s fangirl.

The audience should be already acquainted with the work of this golden duet, and, as expected, the book does not only contains a valuable story, but is also a very beautiful object.

The story is about a queen who fighting a sleep epidemic engendering her kingdom from the lands nearby. She leaves alongside the dwarves to the place where this epidemic started and the sleeping beauty lies amongst the thorns. But, lo and behold, nothing is as is seems to be.

Fairy tales with strong female protagonists are becoming more common these days, and I very much enjoyed that now I have a good one to tell my nieces; despite the lack of charming princes, the plot reassuringly draws from two of the best known fairy tales, so that it is oddly familiar but mostly defamiliarising (which, admittedly, is something that Gaiman seems to take pleasure from). The pivotal difference between power and responsibility is also in the limelight, and I find it an important theme to build a story.

I really liked Chris Riddell’s illustrations, and I think the dwarves might be one of his masterpieces: so vibrant and detailed! I found very elegant the black and white color choice, with splashes of gold.

It is a beautiful book, it reads swiftly, but it is also wonderful to brows among the illustrations. Highly recommended.

On a wider note:

If you want to read something else about modernised fairy-tales and you do not mind comics, I strongly suggest taking up Fables, or The StoryTeller.

Alternatively, you can start watching Once Upon a Time, which is not always brilliant, but has some high points and is generally enjoyable.

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