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The Spindlers PDF, ePub eBook Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope. Perfect for fans of the author’s other middle grade novels: Liesl & Po and the Curiosity House series. Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash ov Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope. Perfect for fans of the author’s other middle grade novels: Liesl & Po and the Curiosity House series. 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.

30 review for The Spindlers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I absolutely loved Liesl and Po, which was also written by Oliver and is middle grade fantasy as well. It was one of my favorite books from last year and one I highly recommend. I unfortunately can't say the same about "The Spindlers." There were some highly quotable passages from this book that I truly loved, but I just didn't find that level of emotion sustained throughout. It felt like Oliver was trying to create the sort of charming creepiness that authors like Roald Dahl are known for, but I absolutely loved Liesl and Po, which was also written by Oliver and is middle grade fantasy as well. It was one of my favorite books from last year and one I highly recommend. I unfortunately can't say the same about "The Spindlers." There were some highly quotable passages from this book that I truly loved, but I just didn't find that level of emotion sustained throughout. It felt like Oliver was trying to create the sort of charming creepiness that authors like Roald Dahl are known for, but she ultimately failed. I wasn't attached to the characters, I particularly hated the rat sidekick, the journey through Below was tedious, and almost every single creature Liza encountered was either mean, awful, or a combination of the two. The magic in this world is spiteful and particularly unfair, (as Liza would say, ad nauseam,) and the message this tale is trying to tell ends up feeling muddled and rushed in the end. Liza spends the majority of the book whining, being annoyed and disgusted by her new rat "friend," and running away from things that are trying to kill her, all in a quest to save her brother's soul from spider monsters called spindlers. I have a really close relationship with my younger brother, and so I thought that Liza's pursuit to save her brother from the spindlers would tug at my heartstrings, but that didn't happen. Oliver attempts to blend stories about people in the real world, such as Liza's parents, her babysitter, and her neighbor, and fold them into a teachable lesson for Liza, but it all falls flat. I don't think Liza really understood what the Below was trying to explain to her and I just ended up pitying her instead of sympathizing. Liza apparently has no friends except for the babysitter who is away at college, her parents think she's a liar whose mind is stuck in a fantasyland, and her brother doesn't even appreciate the fact that she saved his soul from the spindlers. It's all kind of sad and depressing and not the type of middle grade book I would enjoy as a kid or as an adult. It just wasn't any fun. I was really sad when I got to the halfway point of this book and realized I wasn't enjoying any of it because Liesl and Po was a wonderful story. When I think of that book and The Spindlers they seem like they were written by completely different authors, and I hope if Oliver tries her hand at middle grade again she manages to capture the melancholic magic of Liesl and Po instead of just the depressing melancholy of The Spindlers. I'll gladly give her another chance, but it'll probably be the last one. A copy of this book was provided by HarperCollins Children, through Edelweiss

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam Silvera

    WOO! Another awesome MG from Lauren Oliver, this one with an adventure more action-packed than her lyrical (and my favorite) "Liesl and Po". I'll be writing up a full review for it in the fall, but for anyone wondering whether or not "The Spindlers" is worth piling on top of their already mountainous TBR piles, I've got a list of selling points for you. (Gotta love lists!) You will LOVE "The Spindlers" if you love...: -Alice and Wonderland, The Redwall series, Roald Dahl (particularly "The Witche WOO! Another awesome MG from Lauren Oliver, this one with an adventure more action-packed than her lyrical (and my favorite) "Liesl and Po". I'll be writing up a full review for it in the fall, but for anyone wondering whether or not "The Spindlers" is worth piling on top of their already mountainous TBR piles, I've got a list of selling points for you. (Gotta love lists!) You will LOVE "The Spindlers" if you love...: -Alice and Wonderland, The Redwall series, Roald Dahl (particularly "The Witches"), and Coraline (Creepy family thing! AHH!) -Rats with names more beautiful than they actually are, and gamble, and dress up. -Watching spiders get whomped. -Strong female protagonists who fight through their fears to rescue the ones they love. -Pinecone Bowling. (Don't tell me you've NEVER played Pinecone Bowling. Go call up your parents and demand forgiveness. This is a wrong to be righted!) -Riddles! Three headed dogs! Troglods! Oh my! You will NOT LOVE "The Spindlers" if...: -The spindlers stole your soul, which is a valid grudge. (Though, if you're wondering HOW to get your soul back, you should probably just give in and read the book. Just sayin'.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    I'm so, so happy Lauren Oliver has written another middle grade novel. Can't wait!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    This gave me Coraline, Arthur and the Invisibles and The Labyrinth vibes. It was an odd mixture of things but predictable because of its associations in my mind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn (devours and digests words)

    Liza found out one day that her baby brother is not truly her real brother. She is convinced that he was stolen into the night by creatures called The Spindlers. She decides to bring him back, with the aid of a talking rat, by venturing down where magic, and mystical creatures of the Below collide with each other. For such a promising storyline. This was super...... unimpressive. The Spindlers reads more and more like a mash up of Coraline and Alice in Wonderland. So yeah, this is not very or Liza found out one day that her baby brother is not truly her real brother. She is convinced that he was stolen into the night by creatures called The Spindlers. She decides to bring him back, with the aid of a talking rat, by venturing down where magic, and mystical creatures of the Below collide with each other. For such a promising storyline. This was super...... unimpressive. The Spindlers reads more and more like a mash up of Coraline and Alice in Wonderland. So yeah, this is not very original. The turns and twists were predictable. Like in her other MG book, Liesl & Po, I feel that the characters in this one has zero depths into them. Liza's and Mirabella's friendship felt forced and awkward. At some parts of the book, I felt bored because I know how it will turn out. Meh. This one is mediocre at best. Maybe I'm just too old for middle grade books. But I still have to admit that Lauren Oliver has a great writing style. If only she just delved deeper into her characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    Excuse me Goodreads, but you seem to have neglected to have a description for this book, and don't tell me "there wasn't one to put" because, FYI : When Liza's younger brother Patrick's soul is stolen by the evil Spindlers, spider-like creatures who live underground, she knows she must set out on a heroic quest to the world Below to rescue it. Taken from Lauren Oliver's own website. Lauren Oliver fan :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    loved the whole under world. Liza has to save the soul of her little brother Patrick. Mirabella and all the other creatures are so cool

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)

    Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog! Lauren Oliver is a truly talented writer, be it in the young-adult field, or when writing for a younger audience, like here in The Spindlers. I was impressed with Before I Fall, and I am even more so after reading this richly imaginative, darkly creepy, and thoroughly lovely middle-grade novel. I'm in my twenties and I loved every page - I can't imagine what this book would have meant to me had I read it when I was at the age of the intended audienc Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog! Lauren Oliver is a truly talented writer, be it in the young-adult field, or when writing for a younger audience, like here in The Spindlers. I was impressed with Before I Fall, and I am even more so after reading this richly imaginative, darkly creepy, and thoroughly lovely middle-grade novel. I'm in my twenties and I loved every page - I can't imagine what this book would have meant to me had I read it when I was at the age of the intended audience. It's wonderful, magical, creepy adventure all about the power of love, family, hope, and believing in yourself. It's a quick read, but the beauty of Oliver's prose and her feisty main character Liza will leave a lasting impression long after the book is finished. The Spindlers is a highly imaginative novel with echoes of some beloved favorites - Labyrinth (the abduction of a loved/hated younger brother), Alice in Wonderland (a hidden magical world Below filled with anthropomorphic animals), and Coraline (the dark, sinister aspect of a lot of what Liza uncovers.) Despite being vaguely reminiscent of those loved novels, Oliver's The Spindlers is a unique adventure filled with both wonder and magic. This charming tale of a young girl who uses stories and her vivid imagination to escape her tension-filled house (the casual hints of money problems at home - the overdue bills and shout-off notices, the broken plates and furniture, her mother's constant worry and pacing) is filled with creative new spins on monsters, what it means to be a friend, and the fun of seeing what weirdly beautiful creations Oliver can come up with next. The illustrations are few - at least in the ARC edition that I was granted - but they are both lovely and easily capture the feel of what Oliver creates with her words. I fell in love with how this author writes because of this book. I loved Before I Fall but had some issues, but The Spindlers is truly engrossing and immersive, and a lot of that is down to how well Oliver can spin a tale. This fable-like story is imaginative, interesting, and above all, entirely fun and over too soon. I highly recommend this to anyone searching out a quick but moving read. My favorite quotes from the novel: "The spindlers had gotten him: they had dropped down from the ceiling on their glistening webs of shadowed darkness and dropped their silken threads in his ear, and extracted is soul slowly, like a fisherman coaxing a trout from the water on a taut nylon fishing line. In its place they deposited their eggs; then they withdrew to their shadowed, dark corners and their underground lairs with his soul bound closely in silver thread." "The world is a freak, she should have said. Everything that happens in it is strange and beautiful." "This was what her parents did not understand - and had never understood - about stories. Liza told herself as though she was weaving and knotting an endless rope. Then, no matter how dark or terrible the pit she found herself in, she could pull herself out, inch by inch and hand over hand, on the long rope of stories." "Liza stared at her. 'Impossible.' Mirabella swept her tail around her wrist and gave an imperious sniff. 'That is a human word,' she sad. 'And a very ugly one at that. We have no use for it Below.'" "Liza felt she now knew many things she had not known yesterday. She knew, for example, that even rats could be beautiful, and hope grew from the smallest seeds, and sometimes there was great truth in made-up stories." This is an absolutely wonderful middle grade novel, one that holds vast appeal for older readers no matter what their age. Lauren Oliver is a wonderful storyteller and she proves it once again here, with a unique way with words that can evoke pathos as easily as breathing. I was caught up in this story, anxious and excited to see what new ideas and creatures this able author would throw my way. From nids to troglods to the nocturni, this is a world alive with promise and horror, and all the more unique for it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland

    I'm in love with Lauren Oliver's writing all over again. Before I Fall and Delirium showed us that she can write emotional, heartwrenching novels. I haven't read Liesl & Po yet (where have I been?), but Spindlers has shown me that she can write magical fantasies that will capture the heart and inner child of middle-grade readers everywhere. As I've mentioned in some past reviews, I'm an older sister myself, and I can easily relate to Liza. Yes, siblings get in fights, but they're your best fr I'm in love with Lauren Oliver's writing all over again. Before I Fall and Delirium showed us that she can write emotional, heartwrenching novels. I haven't read Liesl & Po yet (where have I been?), but Spindlers has shown me that she can write magical fantasies that will capture the heart and inner child of middle-grade readers everywhere. As I've mentioned in some past reviews, I'm an older sister myself, and I can easily relate to Liza. Yes, siblings get in fights, but they're your best friends. Half the time, they do the opposite of what you ask them to do, but they're also the ones who understand you best and truly care about you. This is the case with Liza. She remembers the annoying habits of her brother Patrick, but all faults are forgiven when she realizes that her brother's soul has been stolen by Spindlers. Without thought for herself and in spite her her fears, she decides to rescue him. This book reminded me of Gregor the Overlander, which is also about an older sibling who goes "Below" to save a younger sibling. However, Spindlers is more magical and seems to be targeting a slightly younger audience. I love the portraits of the various characters that show up at the beginning of each chapter and only wish that the pictures were larger. The drawings are gorgeous and the world so magical that I wish there were more illustrations accompanying the text. On the bright side though, this also means that we get to imagine the world ourselves. I love middle-grade fantasies for the fantastical worlds they bring to younger readers. Inside, I'm still a bit of a kid and get excited whenever I find an especially extraordinary fantasy book. While I may also enjoy darker, more mature works for young adults and the occasional adult paranormal/urban fantasy read, there's something about the innocent magic of middle-grade fantasies that calls out to me. Spindlers captures that essential element. This book is about sibling relationships, friendship, and taking courage in oneself. As I've also mentioned before, Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite authors. I am looking forward to seeing more new works from her, young adult and middle grade alike and whatever else she comes up with! -- For more of my reviews, visit my blog Imaginary Reads.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I tried really hard not to draw comparisons between Oliver and Neil Gaiman but I couldn’t help it. There was just such a heavy hand of Coraline in THE SPINDLERS that is was hard not to. I mean, it wasn’t a bad book by any stretch of the word. THE SPINDLERS was whimsical and dark and full of adventure. But it lacked that lyrical quality that Gaiman’s work ultimately has. It was a good book, but it wasn’t great. There was also a bit of Labyrinth in there as well, as the older sister travels into th I tried really hard not to draw comparisons between Oliver and Neil Gaiman but I couldn’t help it. There was just such a heavy hand of Coraline in THE SPINDLERS that is was hard not to. I mean, it wasn’t a bad book by any stretch of the word. THE SPINDLERS was whimsical and dark and full of adventure. But it lacked that lyrical quality that Gaiman’s work ultimately has. It was a good book, but it wasn’t great. There was also a bit of Labyrinth in there as well, as the older sister travels into the underground to save her little brother. Only no goblin kings are present here. Just nasty spider people that eat children’s souls for breakfast. Literally. Ultimately it’s a predictable story. You know how it’s going to end up, even with a wrench thrown into the plot that really isn’t much of a wrench. I did like the darkness that Oliver had in the story and how Liza was crawling through some truly nasty things in order to get to her brother (or his soul, rather). This was not a light story despite the fact that it’s written for children. THE SPINDLERS is one of those stories that it’s a good enough story when you’re reading it, but it doesn’t leave much of an impression and it ends up being just okay. A good read for younger kids but something that’s not ultimately going to leave a mark on anyone. It almost felt like Oliver wanted to write older for the story for the sheer amount of dark things that were present, but she was committed to a middle grade novel and had to tone it down. In hindsight there are a lot of nasties in here, but they’re watered down and don’t leave the impression that they otherwise could have had they had a chance to flourish under more robust writing. 3 I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    To read my reviews sooner/see more of my reviews (I wrote this review about two weeks ago . . . and am just posting it now because I'm lazy like that) please check out ze blog, Living Is Reading! I guess it’s safe to say that I’m a pretty big fan of Lauren Oliver. I have yet to read a book by her that I don’t like at least a little bit. Delirium wasn’t quite her best, and as time has gone by I’m not quite on the bandwagon for Liesel & Po (yet it was still satisfying), but I loved Before I F To read my reviews sooner/see more of my reviews (I wrote this review about two weeks ago . . . and am just posting it now because I'm lazy like that) please check out ze blog, Living Is Reading! I guess it’s safe to say that I’m a pretty big fan of Lauren Oliver. I have yet to read a book by her that I don’t like at least a little bit. Delirium wasn’t quite her best, and as time has gone by I’m not quite on the bandwagon for Liesel & Po (yet it was still satisfying), but I loved Before I Fall and I really, really enjoyed The Spindlers. I still have Pandemonium checked out from my school library and have yet to read it, but that’s a different story (although I read the first two chapters and that was good). Obviously Oliver has incredible prose. Like, it’s up there with Laini Taylor (although don’t go fooling yourself by thinking that Oliver is the superior prose writer, because she’s not, so you need to stop imagining things). It’s safe to say that she tones it down a lot in her middle grade novels, but it’s still prevalent, and it’s still has this magical twinge of beauty to it, that seems to be lost in a lot of books, whether it be middle grade, young adult, or adult. Her writing makes everything seem like a fairy tale, if it’s about demonic spiders living underneath our world, or a dystopian society where love has been declared an illness, or mean girls finally learn the damage that they, or any others that bully, can inflict on those around them. The idea behind this one involving demonic spider beings, rats fighting for civil equality, and a girl off on a quest to save her brother’s soul is obviously quite original (well, maybe not the part about a girl off to save her brother - Blood Red Road for example). I also found myself loving that it wasn’t just about the fantasy elements with this book. It’s also a brief exploration at the inside life of people living in our country now dealing with financial issues and what that can do to people, and therefore how it affects the rest of their family. I don’t exactly come from a lot of money. Not poor, but I’m middle class all the way. My family is pretty stable, so maybe I can’t relate entirely to the situation that Liza’s family seems to be going through in the background of the story, but it’s not something so foreign that I’m left scratching my head in an elaborate mansion counting my money, completely frazzled at the idea that not everybody can fly around in a private jet. It’s something that a lot of people can relate to though, and I appreciate Oliver putting this in there, instead of focusing completely on some ten year old girl having a perfect family in a perfect town off on some perfect journey to Wonderland to save her perfect little brother. The characters themselves are pretty engaging, and the story itself was interesting enough to hold my attention the entire way through. Liza is a flawed heroine, she’s prejudiced against certain things (namely rats wearing make-up and whatnot, but I guess all of us are a little bit against rats deep down), and at times has a more narrow view of the world. However, I guess that’s where Mirabella comes into balance it all out, and to question things that our society poses as what’s “normal” and what’s “abnormal.” This is a quick read, and clocks in at only 246 pages, so it shouldn’t take you too long to get through this. It’s a light, fun adventure story about a girl in a not-so-perfect world to go on an adventure and learns that there is hope and beauty even in a world full of darkness (even if that sounds a little cheesy).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    "Evocative of Alice in Wonderland?" Well, only if you haven't read Coraline or Gregor the Overlander! Also had a bit of a Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH vibe going. Very fun for middle grade readers. Whenever I hear something compared to Alice in Wonderland, I think, Is it full of biting political commentary on the state of the Empire under Victoria? No? THEN DON'T COMPARE IT TO ALICE. Okay, rant aside. This is a fun, creepy little book about a girl going in search of her brother's soul, which h "Evocative of Alice in Wonderland?" Well, only if you haven't read Coraline or Gregor the Overlander! Also had a bit of a Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH vibe going. Very fun for middle grade readers. Whenever I hear something compared to Alice in Wonderland, I think, Is it full of biting political commentary on the state of the Empire under Victoria? No? THEN DON'T COMPARE IT TO ALICE. Okay, rant aside. This is a fun, creepy little book about a girl going in search of her brother's soul, which has been stolen by the spiderlike spindlers. I love Lauren Oliver's writing, but I felt that this book pulled too many punches for me to really love it. The spindlers were great, Liza was a charming protagonist, and there were many creatures and encounters in the world Below that left me wanting more . . . and it wasn't there. I felt like the moments of peril were over too quickly, that the stakes weren't high enough, that the world wasn't layered enough to support the creatures that lived in it. I would have liked to see her really dig her teeth in and show us a big, frightening world below our own. On the other hand, I have no reservations about passing this on to my 8yo, as I know that it will be spooky without giving him outright nightmares.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    LAUREN FREAKING OLIVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    I picked this one up because I loved "Liesl and Po" so very very much, but I cannot say I loved "The Spindlers". I keep bouncing between two stars or three because it wasn't terrible, just . . . meh. This book was briefly and very occasionally delightful, but aside from a few quirky, quotable passages, the book as a whole was nothing more than adequate and Liza never had my sympathies or even my full attention. Liza dives into her epic adventure Down Below unceremoniously and I felt like very li I picked this one up because I loved "Liesl and Po" so very very much, but I cannot say I loved "The Spindlers". I keep bouncing between two stars or three because it wasn't terrible, just . . . meh. This book was briefly and very occasionally delightful, but aside from a few quirky, quotable passages, the book as a whole was nothing more than adequate and Liza never had my sympathies or even my full attention. Liza dives into her epic adventure Down Below unceremoniously and I felt like very little attempt was made to get me caring about her or the brother she is so desperately trying to save from the spindlers (soul stealing, spider like creatures that her babysitter once warned her of). The whole point seemed to be how many cool pitstops she could make on her quest, not her brother, who I got the feeling was treated with indifference before his abduction. The only person Liza has ever deigned to admire or befriend is in fact her ex-babysiter who never makes an appearance. I kept expecting The babysitter to be of more importance to the plot since Liza thought about her with such frequency and adoration, but the babysitter has ventured off to university and left Liza alone to wallow in her distain for her brother and every other creature she stumbles across. Liza does make "friends" with a rat named Mirabella almost immediately upon venturing Below, but from the beginning Liza is just barely swallowing her disgust for Mirabella so that she can use her to find that darn brother she periodically monologues about loving. The rat grated on my nerves as much as Liza, the two of them complaining and grumbling and stumbling their way along in each other's company whilst doing their best not to interact beyond the necessary conversations that explain where they are and what they're doing. Mirabella is a glorified tour guide for this fantasy realm and she eliminates the need for Liza to have meaningful conversations with anyone else in the whole book. Every mystical creature, every potential obstacle, every new environment is immediately and thoroughly explained by Mirabella so that we don't have to actually spend any time developing any particular element/character (or subsequently dealing with it). Liza's brother, Patrick, the sibling who's value was not known until he was lost, the purpose for this quest, the the holy grail Liza seeks . . . is only fleetingly mentioned. Liza reminds us with her inner dialogue every so often that Patrick is the reason for all of her trials and tribulations and once in a while she provides us with a little anecdote featuring Patrick (as well as parents and neighbours). These anecdotes kind of fizzle out without tapping into your emotions or making you feel you know Patrick any better. Her relationship with her brother was the biggest let down for me in that it managed to feel so insignificant as to almost be non-existent. At times I felt that Oliver was trying very, very hard to be quirky and whimsical, but it always felt like she was doing a sort of literary paint-by-numbers, using other author's styles as a guide to try to frankenstein a bunch of entertaining one liners into a fulfilling fantasy. The story ended in an Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan esque way where SPOILER she abruptly wakes up safe in her bed with small remnants of her adventure lingering about and a new sense of appreciation for the world below and her brother (who is either seriously under-reacting to having had his soul ripped from his body and nearly eaten, or is so traumatized that he has very successfully repressed the experience). Everything flowed rather predictably to this point, each turn of the tale less surprising than the last. My conclusion is this: one out of two ain't bad, I loved "Liesl and Po", so I'd gladly read more Lauren Oliver after this, but I might advise moving this one to the bottom of your list.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    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 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

  16. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    It's not the most original fantastical underground adventure I've ever read, but this is still ten buckets of adorable magicalness! It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with a dash of Narnia and (I haven't read it yet) but the premise rings Gregor the Overlander tunes. It's a pretty cute tale of 12 year old Liza going to rescue her brother's soul from Below. Siblings are CUTE. I love sibling stories. Things I liked: - Siblingness (duh) - The writing style. It's nearly old fashioned, kind of in a q It's not the most original fantastical underground adventure I've ever read, but this is still ten buckets of adorable magicalness! It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with a dash of Narnia and (I haven't read it yet) but the premise rings Gregor the Overlander tunes. It's a pretty cute tale of 12 year old Liza going to rescue her brother's soul from Below. Siblings are CUTE. I love sibling stories. Things I liked: - Siblingness (duh) - The writing style. It's nearly old fashioned, kind of in a quaint but easy to keep up with way. I LOVE THE WRITING. - It's magical but practical. - Liza is a fabulous protagonist, although her knees did knock through most of the adventure (I'm not going to blame her too much) she stuck to her goal with only a few temptations to quit. Loved her honesty out look. - The obstacles and mystical adventures Liza had to overcome where clever. I EVEN SOLVED THE RIDDLE. (mwhaha, let me cheer for myself, okay?! I suck at riddles.) Although to be honest, none of them surprised me. I felt like I'd read it before. (But hey, there's nothing new under the sun, right?!) - The plot hinges on a lot of injustices which makes sense because there's NOTHING as annoying when you're young as unfairness and lying and people saying "well life's not fair, get over it". GAH. Things I didn't like: - Probably the unoriginality. But, hey, if I was 12 I wouldn't have READ so much and therefore wouldn't notice. - Sometimes I thought Liza acted a little too young?? I probably wouldn't been carried away with crazy imaginings at 12, but everyone else I've known was pretty much over it by that stage. - I couldn't figure out how old Patrick was. It didn't seem consistent! One minute he's coming down stairs on his butt (is he 3??) and the next he's spelling with his alphabet cereal (is he 8??). - Aaaand, it's possible the middle dragged too much for the super speedy ending. (view spoiler)[ I'm not even sure if Liza made up with Mirabella after the betrayal. Mirabella sort of pops back to save the day and then Liza ends up home. (hide spoiler)] - AND, with any adventure story, I always question how it takes 200 pages to get there, and 5 pages to get home. IT JUST ISN'T LOGICAL, OKAY?!! *breathes deeply* I loved the imagination and the gumption and the delicious writing! I enjoyed it 99% even though I'm like, um, 10 years too old. I'd totally give this book to my kids, if I had any (which I don't). And I'd easily recommend it. Totally enjoyable!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}

    I haven't read Middle Grade books for years yet a middle school book by Lauren Oliver I had to read and I'm glad I did. This book was original and cute. I really loved it and didn't want to write a review but since it's a ARC, I haz to. Be warned, I'm not really sure how to review this. It's probably going to be a very short review. If you loved Alice in Wonderful, Coraline, or maybe the Redwall series, you'll love this one too. Even though it's not exactly YA, it's still a cute book to read. Let I haven't read Middle Grade books for years yet a middle school book by Lauren Oliver I had to read and I'm glad I did. This book was original and cute. I really loved it and didn't want to write a review but since it's a ARC, I haz to. Be warned, I'm not really sure how to review this. It's probably going to be a very short review. If you loved Alice in Wonderful, Coraline, or maybe the Redwall series, you'll love this one too. Even though it's not exactly YA, it's still a cute book to read. Let's start the review guys! Characters: Liz was strong, kind, and loyal. She never gave up even when the times got tough. She wasn't exactly the smartest but she was very brave. Liz seemed like my brother, full of imagination and spunk. She also seemed a lot like Coraline from Coraline and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. She was adorable. Mirabella was he rat from the Below. A fashion obsessed rat that is highly offended by the word "rat". She is sweet, sarcastic, and witty. Mirabella cracked me up on more than one occasion. All the characters seemed very familiar. They all seemed like characters from Alice in Wonderland which I really enjoyed. Plot and Writing: Plot: It wasn't exactly the most unpredictable plot. I guessed most of the book from around 10% in. The plot was cute and more or less unique. I did enjoy it and found myself grinning like an idiot throughout the book. It was cute but if I looked more into the plot like I usually do, it wouldn't be as enjoyable. So, my rule: read this one, don't look deeply into it. Writing: It was childish, much more simple than what I'm use to, yet it was lyrical and Alice-ish. It will be downgrade if you don't often read MG books. I really don't have too much to say about this. What I liked and disliked: Liked: * Nice characters * Cute plot * Alice and Coraline references Disliked: * Predictable * Boring riddles In conclusion: I really enjoyed this book, it wasn't anything special really but it was nice as a lazy read which is what I needed right now. I recommend reading it even if you're way past the MG range. ———————————————————————— Favorite Character: Mirabella Favorite Quote: That they [her parents] dreamed at all was a revelation. She had always assumed, in some way, that they powered off at night, like computes, and booted up again in the morning, with a whole new series of downloaded complaints and annoyances and problems and irritations. She could not begin to imagine what they would dream about. Taxes, perhaps...? Find more at: http://domuslibri.wordpress.com/

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    I am a Lauren Oliver super fan. Delirium and Before I Fall are two of my favourite young adult novels, and Liesl & Po was one of the first children's novels I read as a book blogger. I adored them all - they were like nothing I had read before. Lauren Oliver has a genuine talent for writing beautifully and poetically. I reread her enchanting passages just to experience them again. I stop reading just to share a quote or make a note of it. It's always vivid, colourful, and empathic. It makes I am a Lauren Oliver super fan. Delirium and Before I Fall are two of my favourite young adult novels, and Liesl & Po was one of the first children's novels I read as a book blogger. I adored them all - they were like nothing I had read before. Lauren Oliver has a genuine talent for writing beautifully and poetically. I reread her enchanting passages just to experience them again. I stop reading just to share a quote or make a note of it. It's always vivid, colourful, and empathic. It makes you feel something and stays with you long after you've closed the book. The Spindlers is no different. Although on one hand The Spindlers is a fun (and creepy!) fantasy adventure, it's also about Liza – our protagonist – and her unconditional love for Patrick, her younger brother, that makes her risk her life and strive to save him even though they fight, argue, and irritate each other constantly. Liza's already feeling alone: her parents seem distracted and ignore her, and her favourite babysitter and close friend has left for college. The sudden loss of Patrick – even though he's been replaced by a loathsome doppelgänger – is enough to motivate her to enter the dangerous lair of the Spindlers - Below. They have taken Patrick's soul to feed on. Can Liza bring him back? The Spindlers struck me as being a perfect story for those who enjoyed Neil Gaiman's Coraline - Liza enters Below through a concealed hole in the wall and discovers a hidden world full of very strange things - rats that dress up in stolen clothing, deadly forests, and little seeds of hope. Everything is described so colourfully, yet is never without a sinister edge. Its dark and spooky atmosphere carries through right until the very end. The Spindles is an immensely magical novel with love and hope at its heart, the story of an intelligent young heroine, yet it's not all bunnies and rainbows - how about Troglods and Scwags instead? Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for providing this book for review! I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    The Spindlers tells the story of Liza, who wakes up one morning to find her brother Patrick has changed. In fact the opening line goes like this 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." Liza tries to test this new Patrick by asking him questions but when he ultimately fails her t The Spindlers tells the story of Liza, who wakes up one morning to find her brother Patrick has changed. In fact the opening line goes like this 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." Liza tries to test this new Patrick by asking him questions but when he ultimately fails her tickle test, she knows that she must find her real brother. Liza's parents are no help they just want her to grow up and stop all this childhood fantay. Liza however was told about creatures called Spindlers that can steal your soul by none other then her old babysitter/friend Anna, so she feels that they must be real. Liza determines that she must travel "Below," so armed with just a broom, Liza goes down into the basement searching all around in the dark space behind the bookcase. Ultimately, she falls through a leaf floor and lands on a talking rat named Mirabella. Mirabella promises to lead Liza to the Spindlers nest, but their path will not be a easy one. With this book I see influences from Maurice Sendak's book Outside Over There, Alice in Wonderland, Lion Witch and the Wardrobe and even the movie Labyrinth influenced Liza's adventure below but that just gives it the feel of these other classic books and movie to me. There is so much to love about this story. Liza's faith that she will find her brother, despite him being annoying and her strength to come face to face with the Spindlers themselves. A wonderful adventure story that isn't very scary either. It's a very fantastical world filled with unique creatures and some lovely imagery that guides the story. Plus just look at that cover and the illustrations at the beginning of each of the chapter which are gorgeous. My copy was purchased, after reading Liesel and Po, I knew I wanted to own this one as well. 4 out of 5 story for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Chind

    I started this one by reading an advanced copy, but I finished it up via the audiobook version through the Overdrive library system. This was an interesting read and one I plan to keep on the shelves. I also plan to watch for more stories from Lauren Oliver in the future. The Spindlers is the adventure of one girl named Liza who is searching for her real brother's soul and she believes he has been replaced by evil spider-like beings that suck out his soul. As she sets off to find Patrick she com I started this one by reading an advanced copy, but I finished it up via the audiobook version through the Overdrive library system. This was an interesting read and one I plan to keep on the shelves. I also plan to watch for more stories from Lauren Oliver in the future. The Spindlers is the adventure of one girl named Liza who is searching for her real brother's soul and she believes he has been replaced by evil spider-like beings that suck out his soul. As she sets off to find Patrick she comes up against many different tests to find him again, or at least attempt to... This has a flavor of Alice in Wonderland and on some elements I even got a hint of Harry Potter here and there, and even Coralinebut really it's just the bringing out historical mythology of legends past. This is a neat and interesting story that keeps a reader hooked, but that's not the important part. This is a book about maturity, about what matters most, about the truly important things. It touches on lots of issues that current in-between age children may see or experience but not really understand in relation to their siblings, friends and parents. This is a quest novel through an unbelievable underworld and has just the right amount of scary, and just the right amount of challenge. It is one of those that I truly think a reader can find his or herself growing in the end. There is also a Discussion Guide available. I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details. Will be posted to CreativeMadnessMama.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kat Heckenbach

    This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved when I was around nine or ten. Quirky characters, lots of adventure and peril. Mean baddies. A subterranean world with magic and mysterious happenings. The plot was very straight-forward through most of the book--a quest to rescue Liza's brother's soul as she travels through strange and dangerous places "Below" with a talking and oddly-dressed rat--but there were a few surprising and clever twists. I found the climax particularly well-written fo This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved when I was around nine or ten. Quirky characters, lots of adventure and peril. Mean baddies. A subterranean world with magic and mysterious happenings. The plot was very straight-forward through most of the book--a quest to rescue Liza's brother's soul as she travels through strange and dangerous places "Below" with a talking and oddly-dressed rat--but there were a few surprising and clever twists. I found the climax particularly well-written for a story for this age-group. Lots of creative creatures, and some hat-tips to familiar fantasy novels as well. The one warning I would give: the "spindlers" are spider-like creatures that steal someone's soul while they're sleeping. While creative, I would think this is a combination of two things that would scare some kids, especially reading it at night. Might want to at least get past the first chapters during daylight hours if your child is sensitive. Once Liza actually goes "Below" to search for Patrick, there's not a lot of reference to that and it mostly focuses on the quest to rescue him. My Website Find me on Facebook My YA fantasy series: book 1 book 2

  22. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    This book has been compared to the Wonderland books and the Gregor the Overlander titles, but it doesn't measure up to either of these great series about worlds below ground. What Oliver does deliver is a likeable, stand-alone book with themes of perseverence, hope, love and friendship, and that is enough. I have grown a little tired of trilogies and lengthy series, so it's refreshing to find a good read that doesn't go on and on ad infinitum. And make no mistake, this is a good read even though This book has been compared to the Wonderland books and the Gregor the Overlander titles, but it doesn't measure up to either of these great series about worlds below ground. What Oliver does deliver is a likeable, stand-alone book with themes of perseverence, hope, love and friendship, and that is enough. I have grown a little tired of trilogies and lengthy series, so it's refreshing to find a good read that doesn't go on and on ad infinitum. And make no mistake, this is a good read even though it is not destined to be a classic like the works of Carroll and Collins. Liza is the only one who notices the subtle change in her little brother one morning. She immediately recognizes the problem: the spindlers have crept into his bedroom overnight and stolen his soul. Her mother is too busy to listen, so Liza realizes that she must go alone to the spindlers' underground lair and save him before it's too late. What follows is a rapid-paced rising action plot with some interesting characters and creatures... I particularly liked the nocturni, small butterfly/hummingbird-like creatures who guard the souls of humans and bring them hope and dreams. Oliver's dynamic protagonist, quick plot, and universal themes combine to offer a solid read for upper elementary readers that deserves a place in most collections.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sonja P.

    I really wanted to like this because I LOVED Leisl and Po, but it just didn't have that special something. The best way I can describe is that at several points I was reminded of other works, and I kind of wished I was reading them instead. Throughout I was reminded of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and I wished for the same sense of magic and charm. At another point I was reminded of the Hobbit, and I wanted to be reading about Bilbo and the dwarves. At points I was even reminded of Le I really wanted to like this because I LOVED Leisl and Po, but it just didn't have that special something. The best way I can describe is that at several points I was reminded of other works, and I kind of wished I was reading them instead. Throughout I was reminded of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and I wished for the same sense of magic and charm. At another point I was reminded of the Hobbit, and I wanted to be reading about Bilbo and the dwarves. At points I was even reminded of Leisl and Po, and I longed for that book. I wanted to read about loss in that book, and not about how life wasn't fair in this one. The point was belabored, and it was frustrating. Liza had her moments, but I didn't like her the way I liked Liesl or September. I didn't care about the characters. You can have scary things in children's books, but there needs to be something special there. I am reminded of the Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland. Valente deals with the darker side of fairyland, but she doesn't let it take over the magic. I never felt the magic here. I just felt some cool ideas that weren't well-executed. I wanted more. I'm hoping Oliver makes another foray into children's literature again, but I hope its better than this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Despair Speaking

    This is 2.5, not 3!!! The good: - The nocturni. I love the idea of black as shadow-like hummingbirds that are your invisible companions for life! Wait, make that most of the strange beings mentioned in the story! - The world Below. The setting was amazing and the places breathtaking! - The fact that it's not always our fault things go missing. Those little guys take them and sell them in the market! (I wonder if I'll find my missing ring, no, not from my boyfriend, there!) The bad: - It was predictabl This is 2.5, not 3!!! The good: - The nocturni. I love the idea of black as shadow-like hummingbirds that are your invisible companions for life! Wait, make that most of the strange beings mentioned in the story! - The world Below. The setting was amazing and the places breathtaking! - The fact that it's not always our fault things go missing. Those little guys take them and sell them in the market! (I wonder if I'll find my missing ring, no, not from my boyfriend, there!) The bad: - It was predictable and almost boring at times. - Below seemed like a rip-off of Gregor the Overlander, Alice in Wonderland (then again, it WAS described that it is similar to that!), and Harry Potter. I usually don't mind stuff like that if it was well-written but... -The writing wasn't good enough. It described Below well, but it was too fast-paced and some parts weren't delved on when they should have been. Conclusion: This would be a disappointment if you're a fan of Lauren Oliver and was expecting to be blown away. Still, it's okay to pass the time with.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Can we just take a moment to apprieciate how beautiful the cover of this book is. It is stunning. Not only that the inside pages are stunning. Each chapter is decorated with a character from the story, each are beautiful. Anyway back to the story. This story was magical, when i was reading it i was transported below with Liza and was with her as she battled the nids, scwags and the spindlers. I would reccomend every one to read this. It was such a good read and i loved every moment of it. This is Can we just take a moment to apprieciate how beautiful the cover of this book is. It is stunning. Not only that the inside pages are stunning. Each chapter is decorated with a character from the story, each are beautiful. Anyway back to the story. This story was magical, when i was reading it i was transported below with Liza and was with her as she battled the nids, scwags and the spindlers. I would reccomend every one to read this. It was such a good read and i loved every moment of it. This is the first book i have read by lauren oliver but it certainly wont be my last. I plan to read more of lauren's work and she now has a new fan in me. :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jmac

    Great read aloud! The beautiful, rich description really brought the magical setting to life. My students loved the action and suspense and hung on every word.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    When I finished this book, I had a look through a few reviews on Goodreads to get some second opinions. I found that, like me, most people had compared to it other things they had seen or read! Whilst I read it I was reminded of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse by Beatrix Potter and Peter Pan by J.M Barrie. It also reminded me of the Studio Ghibli animated film Spirited Away. When I finished this book, I had a look through a few reviews on Goodreads to get some second opinions. I found that, like me, most people had compared to it other things they had seen or read! Whilst I read it I was reminded of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse by Beatrix Potter and Peter Pan by J.M Barrie. It also reminded me of the Studio Ghibli animated film Spirited Away. I have seen a lot of other people compare it to Coraline, Alice in Wonderland and also the film Labyrinth. It is a story that has deep roots in a variety of different kinds of children's fiction, and borrows ideas from many which helps to make it a wonderful journey through a magical and absurd underground landscape. As in Gaiman's Coraline, Liza's parents are out of touch with their children due to the outside stresses of life and work. As the story is told through Liza's eyes, all she sees is an 'exclamation' point frown between her mother's eyes growing ever deeper and her father too busy and preoccupied to play with them anymore. Liza is outraged and frustrated by her parents behaviour, and their inability to explain to her why she shouldn't think or say certain things. Liza is very imaginative and dreamy, and when she tries to tell her parents about the gnomes in the garden or the spindlers who have stolen her brother's soul, they are dismissive and tired of her stories. Therefore, it is really up to Liza to follow the Spindlers into their world 'Below' and save her brother, Patrick, before his soul is lost forever. I loved the beginning of the book, where Liza realises that the boy who looks and sounds like her brother is, in fact, a replica left by the Spindlers after they snatched his soul in the night. There is something really creepy and sinister about a replica family member who is exactly the same apart from tiny things that only you would notice. For example, Patrick usually fidgets, snores and drools in his sleep but when Liza sneaks in to check on him he is completely still. Patrick is extremely ticklish, but when Liza tickles his tummy he doesn't react. He just stares at Liza with dead, black eyes in total silence; so sinister! Things that look nice an normal on the outside but are evil inside really get to me because you never quite know when they are going to turn and really show their dark side. I don't like the not knowing! Liza knows instantly that the Spindlers have stolen his soul, because their babysitter always warned them about Spindlers and their spindly ways. Their ways really are quite terrifying, 'They had dropped down from the ceiling on their glistening webs of shadowed darkness and dropped their silken threads in his ear, and extracted his soul slowly, like a fisherman coaxing a trout from the water on a taut nylon fishing line. In its place they deposited their eggs; then they withdrew to their shadowed, dark corners and their underground lairs with his soul bound closely in silver thread...eventually, the soulless shell would crumble to dust, and a thousand spindlers- nested and grown- would burst forth, like a lizard hatching from an egg.' Bluerghfhfhg. Liza then travels, through her basement, into the world 'Below' where the Spindlers make their nests. Almost immediately she is greeted by a rat, named Mirabella, dressed in a newspaper skirt and hat and wearing lashings of makeup, who agrees to guide her through the world Below and take her to the Spindler nests. I really loved the journey through the world, as it really reminded me of the Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton that I read as a child, where a new world (sometimes nice, sometimes nasty) could be found at the top of a magical tree. 'Below' is full of interesting, weird and wonderful characters that really ignite the imagination. There are 'troglods' who hold a troglod market for all the bits and bobs they find 'Above' such as broken mirrors, pins and pencil lead. There are 'lumer lumpen' who are glow worms who light their way through the dark, twisted forest. But my favourites by far were the 'nocturni' which look like beautiful, black butterflies. The nocturni drink from the River of Knowledge and then go 'Above' and bestow it upon the human which then becomes their dreams. Every human has their own nocturni who stays with them forever, even after they die. That was the bit I loved the most, 'the nocturni...carry souls into the Shadow World when we die, where they will watch over them and keep them safe forever. Some say that is nocturni's ultimate purpose.' Liza then finds her own nocturna and I love their exchange here; 'So you're my nocturna? Yes. Liza thought about this. Then you've known me for my whole life? Again came the rustling, fluttering laughter, like a pitter-patter in her heart. Far longer than that.' I love the idea of these black butterflies looking after our souls for infinity and knowing more about us then even we do. I also liked that each nocturna was slightly different, like a lacy black snowflake; in my head they're just so pretty! I think that this story was well pitched and well paced for the age group it is targeted at. I find it difficult to review because I feel I wasn't its target audience and I think it is the kind of story I would've loved as a child. I liked Liza, who is described as, 'both very sane and extremely practical', which reminded me very much of the farm girl Sophie from Dick King Smith's Sophie series. She is bold and courageous, but, for me, lacked an interesting, developed personality which I think Oliver could have done better. I liked the dynamic between Liza and Mirabella the rat, and felt that Mirabella was actually a better developed character and one I felt I really got to know. The Spindlers didn't scare me (even though I am afraid of spiders); what really creeped me out were the fake Patrick and the three beautiful women at the end who aren't what they appear to be. Overall, I found it a creative and imaginative story about the magic of stories and childhood and the importance of letting children play and dream. I think Lauren Oliver is a master storyteller and I can't wait to read her YA fiction next!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ellen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While the writing was good, the story was wholly unoriginal. I’ll lay it for you straight. Girl has to rescue her brother from the spiders (eh-hem witch king...labyrinth), so she goes down into her basement into a new world where she is greeted by a rat that is her own size (like Gregor the Overlander) who seems nice, but jumps at the chance to “help her” find the Spindlers. This character seems suspiciously conflicted as she starts to make friends with main girl, which we later find out is beca While the writing was good, the story was wholly unoriginal. I’ll lay it for you straight. Girl has to rescue her brother from the spiders (eh-hem witch king...labyrinth), so she goes down into her basement into a new world where she is greeted by a rat that is her own size (like Gregor the Overlander) who seems nice, but jumps at the chance to “help her” find the Spindlers. This character seems suspiciously conflicted as she starts to make friends with main girl, which we later find out is because she is working for the Spindlers (like CS Lewis’s Mr Tumnis). I did love some of her creatures though. I wouldn’t be surprised if they mirrored other creatures from popular middle grade fiction I haven’t bumped into yet.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Holmans

    I first found this book in the library and I fell in love with it. The idea that an entire world lives under our one. A cross between the borrowers and Harry Potter. I found the book in a bookshop six months after I got it from the library for only one pound and it remains one of the best buys in books I have made.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dark Faerie Tales

    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales. Quick & Dirty: Very cute middle-grade fantasy with a fun story, good adventure and interesting characters. Opening Sentence: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake- loving younger brother, who irritated her and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. The Review: Liza loves her younger brother Patrick even though most of the time he is a pain. He is her playmate and best friend Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales. Quick & Dirty: Very cute middle-grade fantasy with a fun story, good adventure and interesting characters. Opening Sentence: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake- loving younger brother, who irritated her and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. The Review: Liza loves her younger brother Patrick even though most of the time he is a pain. He is her playmate and best friend. One morning they wake up and Patrick is different. He isn’t his usual annoying self and right away Liza knows that something is wrong. Before their long time babysitter Anna went off to college she told Liza about the evil Spindlers and how they can steal your soul. She instantly knows this is what happened to Patrick. Liza tries to inform her parents but of course they don’t believe her, so it is up to her to try and save Patrick before it is too late, and the Spindlers eat his soul. Liza has to travel to the Below. She sets on her journey and finds a door in her basement that leads to the wondrous Below. She soon befriends a giant fashionable rat named Mirabella who agrees to help guide her to the Spindlers. As they travel through the Below they meet many different and interesting creatures along the way. She has some close encounters, and at times she doubts that she will even make it to the nest to rescue Patrick. With wit and a little luck she finally makes it to the nest, but once there she has to face the evil Spindlers Queen. She only has one shot to save Patrick and herself from staying with the Spindlers forever. I thought that Liza was a cute character. She really loves her little brother even though he can be a pain, and she is willing to risk her life to save him. There were times when she did irritate me a little, but to be honest I think it was just because she was so young. This book is defiantly set for a younger audience and while I don’t mind reading these I tend to not connect with the characters quite as much. That being said I think that a younger crowd will love Liza and connect with her much better than I did. Overall, I thought that this book was a fun read. The adventure was really fun, the worldbuilding was fascinating, and it was a really fast read. I have always loved Lauren Oliver’s writing and this book is no exception, she really did a wonderful job. Oliver is very descriptive in her writing and I loved the world she created. The plot flowed really well and while it was predictable it was also really fun. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes MG Fantasy, especially the age group it was written for. I think this book would be a wonderful introduction into the world of reading for younger children. Notable Scene: The nids filed into the stone seats that encircled the court, buzzing and chattering excitedly. Almost as soon as the nids were seated, the mole cried out, “All arise for the Honorable Judge Gobbington IV!” Instantly there was a general shuffling and rustling, and murmurs of excitement, as the nids climbed to their feet. Liza stood along with everybody else. Mirabella was practically white with fear, and Liza’s throat was dry and chalky, as though she had inhaled sawdust. She heard a scuffling sound, the noise of slapping footsteps along the dark, dank hall through which the mole had led them, then a dry, rattling cough. Finally the judge stepped into the amphitheater. At least, Liza thought he must be the judge. He certainly looked wise. Although he was probably no taller than she, his head was at least four times the size of hers and incredibly wrinkled, like an enormous, shriveled pea. His face, in contrast, seemed ridiculously small: just a bare twig of a nose, and two squinty eyes, and a pinched mouth floating in the middle of that humongous head. Liza felt the wild urge to laugh, as she did sometimes when she got very nervous, and fought desperately to quell it. Judge Gobbington IV had a large gavel tucked under one arm. He was wearing thick glasses and an elaborate black gown that reached almost all the way to the ground. His bare feet protruded from underneath its hem, however, and Liza saw that they were large and slightly webbed, like a duck’s. When he walked, his feet made a wet, slapping sound against the stone. FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of The Spindlers. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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