A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain.
Explores whether destiny and true love are real, but as the first in a series questions and different beliefs about them are still pending. Don't give up, because as long as you don't you always have a chance to turn things around.
Positive Role Models
Fi is a good model for courage, curiosity, and perseverance. She reads and studies a lot, is very observant, and uses what she knows and notices to find solutions to problems big and small. Shane is a good model for courage, integrity, and perseverance. She lives for challenge and excitement, and trusts her own skills to get her out of tricky situations. Briar Rose is an ideal boyfriend who's helpful, patient, and loves Fi for who exactly who she is. He learns that he won't be truly happy if he pressures Fi into a relationship and models a good way to back off while she decides for herself what she wants. There's a villain motivated by revenge, and a toady who may not be beyond redemption.
Traditional, fairy-tale gender roles are reversed, so the sleeping beauty is male and his rescuers are female. All characters read as White, though there are a few brief mentions of tan or darker skin. Shane has always been attracted to women and falls in love with one in this story. Same-sex and bisexual attraction and relationships are standard in this fantasy world.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters are often in danger from both fantasy creatures and real-world enemies. In the real world there are fights with kicking; punching; and weapons like swords, axes, and crossbows. Pain and blood aren't described in detail but one fight mentions the crunching sound of a broken nose. In the fantasy world there are scary monsters, giant spiders, and magical powers used as weapons with not much gore except a couple of mentions of blood gushing from a fantasy creature that's killed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild sexual innuendo, flirting, and romantic dynamics in both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. A few kisses involving magical powers, and one real-world, deep kiss.
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One use of "butt."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Several tavern settings mention background characters drinking and some drunken behavior. A main character of age in this fantasy world has wine at a party but no excess is described.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bone Spindle is the first in a planned fantasy-adventure series that imagines the Sleeping Beauty myth with the characters' genders reversed. The enchanted sleeper is male, and his rescuer is female. Sexy stuff is pretty light with some mild innuendo, flirting, and a few kisses. There's romance between both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and same-sex and both-sexes attraction, romance, and marriage are normal in this fantasy world. Violence in the real world involves fighting with swords, knives, crossbows, punches, and kicks. There's no gore but pain, blood, and the crunching sound of a broken nose are mentioned or briefly described. In the fantasy realm, fights involve huge monster wolves and spiders, and mentions blood gushing from killed fantasy creatures. A main character's ex continues to try and control her through a curse. An older teen drinks wine at a party but excess isn't shown. A few settings are taverns where adults drinking are mentioned and some excess is shown negatively, like slurred speech. There's no strong language, just one use of "butt."
Is It Any Good?
Fantasy fans will enjoy this exciting adventure that nicely combines a familiar fairy tale with a refreshing twist on gender roles. In The Bone Spindle, it's the women battling monsters, bounty hunters, and evil spells while the man waits for rescue in a far-off castle. There's plenty of humor as characters banter, bicker, and drive each other crazy along the way, and a good dose of magic and mystery. Alternating points of view help balance the plot with revelations about the well-developed characters' pasts, and keep the pages turning. Older tweens and teens will relate to the characters as they test their beliefs in destiny, love at first sight, and true love. The cliffhanger ending will have fans eager for the next installment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.