The Bone Spindle (The Bone Spindle #1)

Leslie Vedder. Razorbill, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-59332-582-7

Debut author Vedder’s action-packed, gender-flipped “Sleeping Beauty” reenvisioning, a series opener, pits two female outlaws against a witch’s ominous curse. A century before this title’s start, the King of Andar banished the ancient Spindle Witch for saving sickly prince Briar Rose at the cost of his mother’s life—and her revenge cursed Briar into deathless sleep, destroying Andar. When 17-year-old treasure hunter Lady Filore Nenroa pricks her finger on the bone spindle that cursed him, she’s bonded via dreams to his rare, precious light magic. Fi and queer, axe-wielding, boot-wearing huntswoman Shane must traverse the Forest of Thorns to wake Briar with true love’s kiss despite the bigoted Witch Hunters dogging them, the curse Fi’s controlling ex-lover inflicted on her, and Shane’s crush on mysterious Red. But the Spindle Witch has dark plans for Briar—and true love might not thwart them. Video game-style fantasy tropes and energetic plotting provide an alternative to Forgotten Realms and David Eddings for new readers of epic fantasy. Ages 12–up. Agent: Carrie Hannigan and Ellen Goff, HG Literary. (Jan.)