I was so excited to read Lauren Oliver’s latest MG offering, I LOVED Liesl & Po, and although The Spindlers was beautifully written and quirky, for me it just didn’t quite match up to the wondrous amazingness that was Liesl and Po – that been said, I am aware that if this book hadn’t been written by Lauren Oliver I probably would be raving about it! Summary as usual from Goodreads:
“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. In fact, he was quite, quite different.
When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.
She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests–or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.”
The Spindlers is the story of Liza, who’s little brother Patrick’s soul is stolen away by the Spindler’s, these horrible big spiders who eat souls. To rescue him, she must journey Below and face the horrible Spindlers.
Lauren Oliver has created a whole new mythology in this story, and this is no mean feat. She has created a variety of unique and wonderful creatures, but for me the story passed them by too quickly – I wanted to spend more time with them, learn more about them. Its been mentioned in other reviews on this book that Lauren Oliver has tried to create a Roald Dahl-ish book and failed – I don’t think that’s strictly true, I definitely think that the book has some Dahl tones to it, I don’t think its a bad copy of his work. It definitely has a few hiccups, but Lauren Oliver’s strong voice and excellent writing really makes it a good book.
Liza, our main character has a lot of great qualities – she’s imaginative, caring and brave, but it took me a long time to warm to her. I think it was because of her reaction to her guide to Below, the rat Mirabelle. She was disgusted by her appearance, and thought it unnatural. I really found this reaction interesting – I am of the opinion that anyone can dress anyway they want to – as long as they aren’t hurting anybody. As someone who has, in the past been teased for the way I dress, I felt quite eurghh at this point. However, as the book continues on Liza grows up a lot and becomes a lot kinder.
The story in itself felt pretty typical in its structure, and I was never worried that Liza wouldn’t succeed in her mission. The Spindlers, however, really did terrify me – they were great monsters and Lauren’s play on spiders – a common fear among children – was an inspired idea.
I think the thing that makes this book a good book, and not an okay book, is Lauren Oliver’s writing. She is the master of beautiful, succinct, text that makes you go “ooh”! Although The Spindlers isn’t one of my absolute favourite books, I will definitely be reading her next MG offering when its out.