The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (ARC) - One day when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, sweet-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 got 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 strange monsters and 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 Amazon UK
When I heard Lauren Oliver had written another middle grade story, I was so excited! I absolutely adored Liesl and Po, so was really eager to read The Spindlers, to be awed at the beautiful writing and wonderful imagination of Oliver - which she again delivered!
The Spindlers is again an enchanting story for young readers, but is a little darker than Liesl and Po. Though Liesl and Po is about death, it's an ultimately uplifting story. The Spindlers is a creepy adventure story full of fascinating creatures and sinister monsters. When Liza realises that the Spindlers have taken her brother's soul, she bravely enters Below to save him, and on her journey to the Spindlers' nests, she meets a number of characters and finds herself in a number of difficult situations. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, how Liza - and the rat, Mirabella, she befriends - get out of one situation only to end up in another, whether it be a dangerous situation or an enchanting, educational one.
I loved the realtionship between Liza and Mirabella. Through Mirabella, Liza - and the reader - learn so much about prejudice - judging based on looks or on what stereotypes say. It's not very preachy, but it does say a lot about how we should treat people as individuals, yet also not judge people for being different. I loved Mirabella, she was just such a funny little character, how she reacted when she was panicked, and her attitude generally. Just because of the way she spoke, I was able to imagine her more vividly. She was fantastic!
I'm not really sure how much more I can say without spoiling the story. The Spindlers is fun and exciting, and definitely a little creepy - but not too scary for the age range. It's as beautiful and enchanting as we've come to expect from Oliver's middle grade writing, but with an darker edge. I didn't love it as much as Liesl and Po, but that's only because, in my mind, Liesl and Po is just perfection, so nothing is going to ever reach it. The Spindlers is a fantastic story that will spark children's imaginations and take them on a spine-tingling ride of excitement!
Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.
Published: 13th September 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Buy on Amazon US
Lauren Oliver's Website