Tag Archives: Spindle

The SF Bluestocking 2015 Summer Reading List Report

Well, perhaps predictably, I have not managed to finish my own summer reading list. Best laid plans, and all.

Breaking my foot back in May and being laid up with that most of the summer sounds like the sort of thing that would have given me all kinds of extra time to read, but instead I’ve found myself in a bit of a reading slump and spent most of the first half wallowing in pain and self-pity. The last month or so since getting my cast removed has been a significant improvement. Though I’m still not 100% better, I’ve started working out again, and this week I think I’m going to start walking daily to try and work back up to doing 2-3 miles a day like I was before the broken foot–ideally before it gets too cold and unpleasant for me to be out. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to enjoy the last bits of summer that are left, going to outdoor plays, checking out food festivals, hitting farmer’s markets, and just generally trying to be out of doors as much as I can.

The good news is that I think I’m coming out of the funk I was in most of the summer. The bad news is that I’ve so far been doing other stuff besides reading, and I’m also behind on some writing stuff as well. While I’m finally catching up on my reading some, I’ve not yet gotten back on track with writing book reviews, though that’s changing as well. I should have reviews coming out this week and next for The Fifth SeasonNimonaRat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery, and The House of Shattered Wings. By then, I should also be done with The Dark Forest, and hopefully that will get me more or less back on track with what I’d like to be doing in terms of output.

So, here’s what I did manage this summer:

  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – This one was on my list, and I finished it. Review here.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – List, finished. Review here.
  • The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton – List, finished. Review here.
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older – List, finished. Review here.
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – List, finished. Review here.
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke – List, finished. Review here.
  • The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán – List, finished. Review here.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – List, finished. Review here.
  • The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard – List, finished. Review soon.
  • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu – List. Currently reading.
  • Spindle by W.R. Gingell – Self-published by the author. ARC received through NetGalley. Finished. Review here.
  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – NetGalley ARC. Finished. Review here.
  • Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley – NetGalley ARC. Finished. Review here.
  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – Borrowed from my 12-year-old. Review here.
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery – Not on my original list. Review soon.

I actually didn’t do too bad, all things considered. Fifteen books in the last two months. Ten of the fifteen from my original reading list, plus five that weren’t on there. Of the five books that I didn’t get to, one I’ve sort of lost interest in due to mediocre reviews (The Invasion of the Tearling), one is an ARC that I will definitely be reading within the next month (The Heart Goes Last), two are more literary works that I really could read anytime (Station Eleven and The Buried Giant) and one (The Magicians) is the basis of a tv show that I’m looking forward to, but that won’t be starting until at least February of 2016, so it’ll keep, too.

Probably a couple of these will make it on to my fall reading list, which can be looked for this week as well. It looks like I probably won’t be as lucky with ARCs this fall as I was over the summer, but there are plenty of upcoming releases that I’m pretty excited about that I’m sure will keep me busy. Which doesn’t even touch on the new fall shows I plan on checking out, which will be another separate post in the next week.

Book Review: Spindle by W.R. Gingell

Spindle is a charming little self-published title by Tasmanian author W.R. Gingell. I received a copy of it through NetGalley, where I was drawn in by the book description and a surprisingly nice-looking (for self-publishing) cover image. It turns out that Spindle is a fast, fun read, well worth $2.99 for the Kindle version.

It’s a Sleeping Beauty story that begins with our heroine, Poly (short for Polyhymnia), being kissed awake by an enchanter named Luck, who managed to find a loophole in the curse. The rest of the book details their adventures as they work together to find a way to break the curse once and for all and defeat the evil wizard who created it.

Spindle definitely has some problems, most of which I think would have been solved by being put through a professional editorial process. There are a lot of adverbs as dialogue tags, which I find to be generally either distracting or redundant. There are a handful (but literally only a handful) of typos that might have been caught with just another once-over by someone detail-oriented. There is a lot of reusing of phrases and words that I can tell the author really likes, and I have some issues with a lot of word choices. The language often verges on pretentious and the book overall ends up being almost (but not quite) too preciously quirky.

All that said, I enjoyed Spindle a great deal, mostly because Gingell has come up with a great cast of characters, whose interactions with each other are interesting and compelling. I appreciated that Poly’s ending up with Luck wasn’t entirely a foregone conclusion from the first page, and I liked that she got to explore a couple of other romantic attractions with men who respected her. Poly’s adoption of Onepiece and her growth in her role as a parent to him is nice and gives Poly something to do and focus on besides dealing with her curse and sorting out her feelings about Luck. There are a good number of other female characters that Poly befriends, and I’m always happy to read about women having relationships that aren’t toxic. I particularly liked Poly’s friendship with Margaret.

Of course, probably the most important relationship Poly has is with Luck, the enchanter who woke her up. I’m not sure how I feel about this one, to be honest, because Luck is often a terribly annoying character. I didn’t care at all for the repeated descriptions of Luck as vague. It made him seem both boring–with just the one character trait–and it created a consistently comical image in my head of a dude just staring off into space all the time. It’s a poor word choice, in my opinion, and not one to inspire romantic feelings. As far as what we’re shown about Luck (as opposed to told), he’s often self-centered, distractable, uncommunicative, needlessly obscure, and awfully inconsiderate of nearly everyone around him. It seems like the relationship between Poly and Luck is supposed to be evolving over time, but mostly I felt like Poly just learned better coping mechanisms and became more self-sufficient. This is nice, but I found myself wondering why they needed to end up together at all.

In the end, the mad-cap high energy of Spindle manages to be more fun than annoying, and I’d recommend it as a piece of light reading that is a little reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle (the Studio Ghibli movie, not the book). I’m not dying to read any of W.R. Gingell’s older work, but I might keep an eye out for things she publishes in the future, especially if she gets picked up by a proper publisher who could help iron out some of the wrinkles in Gingell’s style.