|Image from Goodreads|
by Lauren Oliver
Expected Publication: 10.01.12
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, and the road to the spindlers’ nests is riddled with danger. She must brave tree snakes, the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting serpents before facing her greatest challenge in the spindlers’ lair, where more than just Patrick’s soul is at stake.
My Midnight Musings: As much as I love Oliver’s YA novels, The Spindlers, along with her previous middle grade book Liesl & Po, have cemented my love for her writing. The Spindlers is a wonderful mix of Alice in Wonderland, Labyrinth, and Oliver’s wonderful imagination and originality.
Liza, as a main character, is relateable to all readers, no matter their age. Her parents aren’t the normal cardboard cut outs, although Liza’s adventures underground are done without their knowledge it isn’t because her parents are bumbling idiots. Like many parents today they are struggling to pay bills, and so it’s a bit easier to understand that they don’t see that their son’s soul has been stolen by evil spider like creatures.
A word about the spindlers, and that word is shudder. The idea of spiders that grow in all kinds of sizes, have human hands at the end of their legs and can steal our souls, planting their little spindler babies in our soulless husks until they hatch out and destroy us is disturbing and nightmarish to say the least. Honestly, Ron Weasley would be crapping himself is he had to deal with Liza’s foes. Prepare to be freaked out by insects for quite awhile after reading this book!
Despite the fear of the spindlers, Liza is determined to save her brother’s soul. She teams up with Mirabella the rat, who dresses and paints herself up like a cross between a very special Project Runway losing outfit, constructed out of items salvaged from a dumpster, and a drag queen caught in a torrential downpour. Mirabella is Liza’s guide and companion as they encounter cute,but sensitive glow worm like creatures, a bizarre market where you can buy all manner of things with pretty colored paper, and through a court case that’s both terrifying and ridiculous, until finally Liza must confront the evil Spindlers.
My favorite parts of the books was Liza herself. She is already a strong character at the beginning, but she really grows up and embraces the strangeness she encounters. And as a fan of the weird, I appreciate that. Plus I absolutely love the way Oliver has explained where dreams come from, but I’ll let you discover that for yourselves.
There isn’t anything groundbreaking in this book, the plot is a tad predictible but I was still anxious for Liza and enchanted (and terrified) of the world. I think it would make a wonderful addition to any library, and perfect for the next 24 Hour Readathon in October (see, the publication date coincides nicely, take it as a sign!).
The Spindlers gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
The cover gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of:
Like so many other of us book bloggers, my head is easily turned by a pretty book cover, and this one is perfect. My only complaint is that the spiders on the cover are clearly not spindlers, since they do not have human hands, but that it probably for the best as the image is truly disturbing.
**I received a copy of this ARC at BEA. All thoughts, opinion and snark are my own.**