Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

The Spindlers
Goodreads Summary: Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Timesbestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope.
Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is actually quite different. She is certain that the spindlers—evil, spiderlike beings—came during the night and stole his soul. And Liza is also certain that she is the only one who can rescue him.
Armed with little more than her wits and a huge talking rat for a guide, Liza descends into the dark and ominous underground to save Patrick's soul. Her quest is far from easy: she must brave tree-snakes, the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting scawgs before facing her greatest challenge in the spindlers' lair, where more than just Patrick's soul is at stake.
Goodreads / Barnes and Noble

Genre: Children's, Middle Grade
Pages: 246
Publisher: HarperCollins
How I Got It: Library

First Line: "One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not."

Favorite Quote: "It was strange how once you saw a rat wearing clothes, it became slightly disgusting to to imagine the animal naked."


I like to think of myself as a diverse reader - I'll pick up pretty much anything that catches my interest, no matter what age group it's meant for. The only thing I tend to avoid like the plague is nonfiction. I'd like for that to change, but honestly it probably never will. I always tell myself that I want to read middle grade books more, but for some reason they're always the first stories to get put on the back burner, to read "later" (which is code for never). Probably the only real reason I picked up The Spindlers when I did is due to the fact that I loved the first two books in Oliver's Delirium series, and I wanted to see how she would handle a children's novel.

Whenever I actually do read middle grade, I'm always reminded why I like them so much. Most of the time it's because the storylines are just plain charming. Little kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for, and there's something magical about watching the story play out through the eyes of the narrator. Liza was no exception; I found her very easy to like and immediately appreciated how much she loved her little brother, Patrick. Almost always in this type of book, the adults are portrayed as strict and completely blind to the magical things that are going on around them, while the child protagonist is left to battle a wide range of monsters. The Spindlers actually reminded me a lot of Coraline, another book I really enjoyed.

Lauren Oliver definitely has a way with words, and I've really missed her writing ever since I finished Pandemonium (I've yet to read Requiem). It's so beautiful and I loved the way she described the world of the Below world. The plotting is also done very well, one event leading smoothly into the other. My favorite character was definitely Mirabella the rat; I loved her quirky and nervous personality. There were those traditional moments in worlds like these when something appears before the main characters that's far too good to be true - and in this case, it's the big table of food and the four beautiful sisters presiding over it. The moment Liza ran into them, I was immediately wishing her away, because this is exactly the kind of thing you cannot trust. I also liked the three-room trial at the end of her quest, though my favorite was probably the first room.

The little illustrations before the beginning of each chapter were very pretty to look at. The Spindlers is a very cute and quick read. I will continue to pick up other middle grade novels because of it, though probably not one after the other. Though I love the lightness of stories like these here and there, one thing about middle grade is that they often lack substance. Still, if you're in the mood for something to put a smile on your face, I would definitely go with this one. I'm now really looking forward to Oliver's other children's book, Liesl & Po.

3.5 stars 

Books in this series:

Other Opinions: 

Pocketful Of Books
Pretty Books
Reading Nook


  1. I highly recommend Liesl & Po-I actually thought it was better than this one, possibly because I loved the way the seemingly disparate characters came together and everything was resolved. The Spindlers was okay but it paled compared to L&P for me.

    1. I'm glad to hear that her other children's book is better! I wanted there to be much more substance in this one. I know Oliver is capable of it, considering how everyone is in her Delirium series.