Spinning Silver

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

Three unique female characters. Not as romantic as Uprooted, but the pacing is better. With the exception of the male love interests, the characters are fully developed. Novik is great at presenting antagonists who turn out to be just as innocent as our heroes. She's now written two of my favorite books of the last 10 years and I can't wait for her next book.
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Naomi Novik is pretty popular around the blogosphere and her other book, Uprooted, has been around a little while ago and gathering so many great reviews. Spinning Silver, a loose retelling of Rumplestillskin, seemed to have the same effect on people. Naturally, I was nervous to get into this story and… I’m sad to say some elements did not work out for me.

If there is something I can admit here, it’s that Naomi Novik writes like you would write a fairytale – somehow, her writing reminded me of these kind of stories. It had a slow rhythm, an interesting world-building at times. Yet, it did not manage to captive me as much as it did for others: somehow, I felt disconnected from the beginning to the end of the story, which prevented me from falling head over heels with it like others did.

The characters though were one good element here: I really liked their determination, I loved the siblings dynamics and the family dynamics we could explore as well. Told from multiple POV, I had a bit of a hard time when the POV changed in the middle of a chapter and did not know who it was until a couple of paragraphs in.

Overall, Spinning Silver was not a bad story, but for me, it felt like a long, slow and sometimes confusing read. Yet, with all the positive reviews out there, I think it’s just a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” and that so many people could, would and will really love this fairy-tale, atmospheric wintery story.
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This is a clever, engaging book. Its subversive take on the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin makes the original pale in comparison. Novik's writing is lyrical without being soppy, and her plot twists keep the reader in suspense. I literally cheered at the ending, I was so pleased by it - the way she brought all the plot lines together was beautiful. Her female characters (especially Miryem) are amazing, but that's not the only reason to read this book. The only thing I didn't quite enjoy was how many narrators there were, but from one standpoint it was interesting to get a glimpse into the minds of even some of the more odious characters.
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Dark, dense, well crafted tale loaded with intrigues, well crafted, fully developed characters, and a plot similar too, but very different from the traditional story of Rumpelstiltskin, Not exactly a retelling, but similar.  I love this story. Such an interesting tale.  I enjoyed Miryam- she's such a strong, smart woman compared to the little whiny young woman in Rumpelstiltskin. When her father nearly bankrupts the family, Miryum sets out to save it. Her father a money-lender who is too reluctant to collect what's owed him. Miryum, proves her worth very quickly as she turns silver to gold. Girl has a good head on her shoulders, a sharp mind when it comes to making money. Of course, adventure ensues and it's just a matter of time before she gets the attention of the king! I think YA's and up will enjoy this tell. It's so rich.
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Naomi Novik is a master storyteller and much like Uprooted this novel gives fresh, brisk life to a fairy tale. Spinning Silver is loosely based on the familiar story of Rumpstiltskin. Our main heroine Miryem comes from a line of moneylenders, and she is herself one of the best on the street. She develops such a reputation that the king of the ice creatures that roam the forest, the Staryk, has challenged her to a test that will impact her very world. 

Novik writes lovely, immersive fantasy. The novel is told in multiple perspectives and readers will have to depend on recognizing symbols at the beginning of sections to understand which character they're reading through. Some perspectives were more interesting to me than others. Miryem and Irina were by far my favorites. You will enjoy the novel far more if you don't expect much in the romance department. The book is far more interested in telling the story of family, friends, demons, and community than love stories. 

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Del Rey for this copy to review!
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SPINNING SILVER is a captivating fantasy read. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting.

Basically, it's a retelling of Rumpeltstiltskin, with Miryem as the heroine who can spin silver into gold, whether in our world or the world of the Staryk (kinda like fairies, only more dangerous and bad). But as you read on, you'll see hints of other fairy tales, like the tsar who was so enamored of his own beauty that he could've gone among his people without clothes that aren't worthy of his beauty. Or the magic of the number 3, as we see a number of things happening in 3's, like Irina (the duke's daughter) being given 3 dresses by her father and 3 betrothals in a night.

Yet, much as I had fun identifying fairy tales, I was more amazed at the story that Naomi Novik wove, a rich, magical tapestry that is more than the original fairy tale and which brought together three heroines who with their wit and courage and sense of honor fought for their future as well as that of those they love. There were layers to their character and the story that I uncover with delight, certainly a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that I never could've imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed this fairy tale retelling and wished there could be more! Like maybe an epilogue or something. Although the ending was already pretty great and gives us a closure on the situations of each of our heroines.

Oh, one more thing. I wish there was more romance, i.e. more scenes of romantic development between each pair. I'm hard pressed, for example, to believe that the tsar is suddenly in love with the tsarina, although I'm pretty sure she can make him do that, too, with time. I thought it was more of gratitude there toward the end. Irina is quite a surprise to me, I must say, because when she was under her father's thumb, she didn't seem to have a voice, but she bloomed when she came into power.

If you haven't read any Naomi Novik books yet, you may certainly start here. But once you're done, do go and read Uprooted. You won't regret it.
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Novik has spun a tale featuring Miryem, daughter of a softhearted moneylender.  Her father hates to collect on his debts, and the family lives in poverty until Miryem, in an attempt to save her mother's life, takes over the business at age 14.  The family fortunes slowly turn around, but at the cost of Miryem's innocence.  Her grandfather, also a moneylender; albeit successful in the nearby city, encourages her and even invests with her, giving her a bag of silver coins.  When Miryem returns the bag to him, it is exchanged for gold and stored in the bank.  However, after doing this a couple times, she brags once too often where the mysterious Staryk of the woods are able to hear her.  

The people of the villages fear the Staryk, who bring cold, ice, and snow wherever they traverse.  They often raid the villages and plunder for precious gold, never anything else.  Lately, the winter season has been longer and longer, causing even more fear and tension, with the villagers constantly watching for the strange people over their shoulders.  

After being overheard, Miryem answers the knock on the door from the Lord of the Staryk, with a challenge to convert his silver to gold.  She shows no fear, but asks for a boon in return.  Thrice she returns gold to the Lord, after which he takes her to be his consort in his kingdom against her will.

This story is an intriguing spin on a very old fairy tale, with more sub-plots woven into the fabric of the storyline.  Wanda and her brothers, who serve Miryem's family, as well as the Duke's plain daughter and his plans for her. 

I quite enjoyed it, but I wasn't as invested in it as I was Uprooted.
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Naomi Novik has retold the fairy tale of spinning straw into gold as a Russian folktale involving a Jewish moneylender's family, a Russian tsar and  a Staryk prince from fairyland.  Intricate plotting with characters with mixed motives.  Enjoy!!!!
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This book is immense—cold nights, demons and fairies and other legendary folklore-ish things. Told mostly from the POV of three young women with scattered POVs that really enhanced the story. 

Not for the faint of heart. There is cruelty and abuse. I found myself anxious for the characters. But oh!, how the story flows.
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This wonderfully descriptive novel is a complex tapestry made up of threads of fantasy, fairy tale, and suspense. Novik carefully lays the groundwork for the story and then continues to build equally carefully upon it. Almost as if she were writing a mystery instead of a fantasy novel, the reader has no real idea where the book is headed next. And so the reader is held to the edge of her seat, hoping for good outcomes but enduring travail, scares, and horror along the way. I have never read anything quite like it.
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This title immediately caught my attention because it was described by one reviewer as being "a wonderful reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin story." I'm quite partial to fractured fairy tales and then once I noticed who the author was, I knew I needed to read it ASAP. I was first introduced to Naomi Novik in her novel, Uprooted, and Spinning Silver did not disappoint. This tale was told from multiple narratives that frequently overlapped so I will definitely be adding this to my re-read pile.
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Strong women make a mark in this intricate fantasy wrapped loosely around "Rumpelstiltskin,"  The world building is exquisite.  And the dangers, and opportunities, are as real as breathing.  This is a world only half a step aside from our own, where Jewish moneylenders face the same prejudices as they might in a history book, and the Tsar is a force to be reckoned with.  But there are also the Staryk people, whose icy road comes nearer or farther depending on what they might find in ours.  And there is a creature of fire too, the Chernobog, which wishes to devour all it finds.

That said, the story may be a bit too intricate for younger teens.  Give it to the good readers, the ones who love a challenge, and they will thank you for it.
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Spinning Silver weaves different perspectives to tell a tale of strong women and families through the lens of Eastern European Jewish tradition. Naomi Novik again provides us with an intelligent redux fairytale that works your mind and engages your imagination. The characters are complicated and could be your friends or family members, but they are trying to contain demons and proud winter kings. How fun to read such an engaging stand-alone novel!
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I adore Naomi Novik and was so honored to be chosen to review an ARC of Spinning Silver. While it is not a 
 true continuation of Uprooted, it is in spirit. Following her twist on fair tales and folklore, Novik has created a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, just as Uprooted was a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Much like the first novel you can find leads to other folklore from around the world. 

The detail is rich, the heroines are magnetic and the story cannot be put down. As a fan of fairy tales flipped on their heads, I didn't find anything about Spinning Silver I didn't like. I look forward to Naomi Novik's next novel in this series. So great!

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Three different interlocked stories build this fairy tale, which made it interesting but at times unwieldy with the number of narrators and characters. Still, an enjoyable read for those who enjoy retold and reimagined fairy tales.
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There are recognizable elements of other fairy tales throughout, and heroines who fight tooth and nail for their happy endings, and a focus on Jewish culture that's refreshing in an otherwise common medieval setting.  Beautifully written and an enjoyable read!
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Another gorgeous fairy tale from Naomi Novik. The worldbuilding is unique, the 3 protagonists were complex, and this might be my favorite Novik novel yet.
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Spinning Silver
By
Naomi Novik




What it's all about...

Three young women who don’t seem to have a connection end up with a powerful connection that will unite them forever.  This is not an ordinary retelling of Rumpelstiltskin  but rather a story of cold chilling power, demons, and three young women who are willing to fight for others.  Irina, Wanda and Miryem...one noble, one an underdog and one a money lender.  All have special talents.  When they come together...their force is a mighty one.

Why I wanted to read it...

I love this author’s work...plain and simple.  It’s incredible.

What made me truly enjoy this book...

I loved each girl’s story...I even loved the Staryk...the sort of ice creatures that ruled.  I loved the adventure.  I loved the world that everyone lived in and I loved the ending.  

Why you should read it, too...

Readers who want a harsh yet beautiful fantasy...well...those readers will love this book! 

I received  an advance reader’s copy of this  book from the publisher through NetGalley, Edelweiss and Amazon.  It was my choice to read it and review it.
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I really wanted to love this book but sadly I didn´t. The story itself is good, but it's told too slowly and over too many pages. I didn't like the writing style either, there are too many characters who all tell their story in a first person point of view, which leaves a messy impression of the story.
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Spinning Silver is reminiscent of titles like The Bear and the Nightingale. It takes fairytale and myth and weaves it together into a new tale that seems both classic and timely.
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