Spinning Silver

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

With this beautiful twist on a classic tale, Novik weaves adventure, love, and a thrilling plot in this novel for both older teens and adults. The complex characters and lovely writing will keep readers hooked.
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I think I adored this book more than Uprooted and I really loved Uprooted. The narrative of Spinning Silver was built carefully and with great detail, and it was magnificent! I loved these characters and felt that the ending was one of the most satisfying endings I have read in a fantasy novel in a long time.
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Spinning Silver is a beautiful and clever book intertwining the stories of several different characters in a very loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Actually, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a retelling necessarily, as there is no one character that embodies the tale specifically, but rather various elements of the tale pop up here and there in really clever ways. I loved this, as it created an unpredictability to the tale, and people familiar with Rumpelstiltskin will delight in the small nods to the folktale, as I did!

We follow three characters, all women. Miryem is the daughter of Jewish moneylenders, hardened by her neighbors prejudice and disrespect, until she takes over her father’s moneylending business and does it better than he does. Eventually, her skill making gold coins out of silver attracts the Staryk king, who desires gold more than anything. Miryem’s story highlights a lot of hardships Jewish people endured in Europe, and it’s sparked my interest in the history of Jewish folks as moneylenders. The second character, Wanda, the daughter of a poor and abusive man, ends up working for Miryem to pay off her father’s debt, but becomes more entangled with her family than she imagined. Finally, Irina is the daughter of a duke who doubts her value until she marries well. All of their stories wind up beautifully intertwined.

The story is told through first-person multiple perspectives. Usually I dislike this, because it’s difficult to tell characters apart, but Novik does a spectacular job differentiating each character’s voice. Simple, straightforward Wanda sounds nothing like clever and quiet Irina or brittle and resilient Miryem. I loved all of them, though I was definitely partial to Miryem and Irina. The characterization of these three women is the highlight of this book for me; it is beautifully written and compulsively readable, but it is the strength of these characters on which it stands.

I also loved the antagonists, the Staryk king and the tsar. Both are at first presented as cruel, but Novik slowly peels back their layers to help us understand them better, and eventually both become rather sympathetic. In particular, the tsar I found a delightful character, and his perspective was hilarious. I wish I could read more about him and Irina interacting; my one qualm about their story is that we didn’t really get the closure I wanted!

This book is so beautiful; it’s steeped in winter and folklore. There’s something so self-contained about it, but not in a claustrophobic way; rather, it feels cozy and atmospheric. Despite how slow it is, it was never dull; I couldn’t put it down at all. I was drawn to the pastoral atmosphere and the characters and the leisurely plot. This is such a well-crafted book in so many ways.
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This is a book that grows on you. The cast starts small, but new main characters are introduced during the tale which broadens the sweep of the story. Miryem is the daughter of a poor Jewish moneylender in a fantastical Russia where elves called Staryk come in the cold to steal gold. And when the Staryk overhear that Miryem can spin silver into gold, they come a calling. Irinushka is a Duke's daughter who is given a necklace and crown made with Starykan silver that enchants the Tsar. But this is were more trouble enters the story since the Tsar is possessed by a demon who is more interested in eating his wife than mating with her. Miryem and Irinushka work out a plan to bring the two forces together to try to cause mutual destruction. However, a new deal is worked out wth the Staryk king that is advantageous to all but the demon. And as in all Novik books the fun is in the details. Do read an enjoy!
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I LOVE Uprooted by Naomi Novik, so I was super excited for this sequel. I honestly never thought that a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin would interest me AT ALL, but Ms. Novik is such a fantastic writer that I was hooked! Her characters are built beautifully!
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Whimsical and breathtaking. Novik spins a beautiful tale that makes a fairy tale lover’s heart beat. Highly recommend this one for all those who love fantasy, a dash of romance, and fairytale retellings.
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I really enjoyed this book. Even though I had to stop and restart it a couple times, it was always fairly easy to jump back into and the story was compelling and pulled me along. I found the characters intriguing and even when new characters were introduced and new parts of the story were told from their POV, I didn't have too much issue with getting confused or annoyed as I usually would with a similarly structured book, so bravo Naomi Novik for handling that so well (the audiobook narrator also did a very good job with keeping characters' voices differentiated enough that it was fairly easy to tell people apart so that probably helped, too). Normally it would be risky to introduce a new POV later in a book, but it was handled with such aplomb in this story that even though I was briefly surprised, I just went with it and thoroughly enjoyed every new POV section. 

The plot itself with its many twists and turns and interweavings was interesting and and very different from what I was expecting going into the book initially. In a good way. I think I was expecting more of a YA fantasy but this story tended to skew more adult classic fantasy even though several of the main characters were teenagers. It just felt like such a subtle, smart, balanced modern version of a fairy tale and I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

This definitely made me want to go pick up more books by Novik, especially if they have this kind of fantasy, fairy tale-esque bent. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me access to an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A great twist on an old favorite. Nothing is quite what you expect in this exciting retelling of the Snow Queen. A must have for your library shelf.
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Oh my.....this was an amazing read. I loved it just as much as Unwritten. This book has left me completely satisfied. Definitely the best book I have read this year. 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book, which I voluntarily chose to review.
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Spinning Silver was a gorgeous novel. There were so many layers and so many different plot lines that wove together almost like magic. I loved the characters, and each POV brought a different battle and a different strength of will. Naomi Novik writes stunning imagery and I found it so easy to picture the winter kingdom around me as I read. I loved the nods to classic fairytales and the harshness of some of the characters. Their sharp edges made them much more real to me, no one was perfect and many owned their flaws. The relationships were heartfelt, though the focus is more on familial than romance and my icy heart melted again and again. Overall, Spinning Silver is a stunning and vivid novel that will be a favorite of any fantasy lover.
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A fantastic read! Novik does an incredible job bringing a simple fairy tale to beautiful, resplendent life. Her intricate plotting and deft characterizations make her books a pleasure to read!
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I wasn't a huge fan of Uprooted, so I was a little concerned going into Spinning Silver, but what a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be.
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Thank you for the ARC in exchange for feedback. I was particularly excited for this ARC because I have read Naomi Novik's past work (Uprooted) and I enjoyed it immensely, so naturally I assumed this would be much of the same. I'm happy to say that this assumption was correct! I love Naomi's skill in character building and the main character's introspection. They are are so fleshed out and full of life that you feel so immersed in their world, I genuinely felt a shift when I was reading and when I would "come up for air" so to speak. Consider me a fan for life of Naomi and will jump on any chance to read her works in the future.
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I read the short novella Spinning Silver in the [book:The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales|27370017] collection. It was awesome and the only reason I bought the the book. I was so thrilled when I heard that Spinning Silver would be fleshed out and be a full length novel. 

This is lovely braid of several fairytales. The original Rumpelstiltskin retelling, with the additions a noblewoman marrying a tsar possessed by a fire demon, and a poor farm girl and her brother running away from a crime. Then there's the whole tale of the ice king and answering three questions every night. I really adored the Rumpelstiltskin part of the retelling, those were my favorite parts.

So a big part of the story is about debt and how we try to get out of paying it. There was also the Jewish moneylenders, which in stories are mostly the villains so it was wonderful to see them  in a different light. 

I will admit I got a bit confused the first time the pov switched.  It ended up being okay but sometimes the transitions didn't fell as smooth. 

Overall I loved it.
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Naomi Novik has done it again! Much like Uprooted, Spinning Silver is set in a fantastical Eastern Europe/Russia, and builds on fairytales to create something rich and new. The characters resonate while the plot builds and builds, rushing you along through their perspectives and experiences. Spinning Silver is of my favorite books of the year, and possibly ever. I will be recommending this book to advanced readers who want fantasy with strong, flawed women.
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Naomi Novik is without a doubt one of my favs. I loved Uprooted and I can honestly say that I loved this one too. Definitely 5/5 for me.
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Spinning Silver was a retelling of Rumplestiltskin.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that the main emphasis was on something other than romance.  It was a story of honor, of friendship, of family, and of paying your debts.  This is the first book by Novik I've ever read.  Definitely checking out Uprooted!
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Naomi Novik is a magician, her previous novel Uprooted is one of my favorites. I didn't find this one as immersive, but it was still very enchanting. 
Told by alternating points of view and at first a little hard for me to get into, but ultimately, became what I loved most about this. Three different women, each the perfect balance of strength and love. While there were some plot points that I would have liked her to develop a bit more, I love Novik's modern day fairy tales for tackling tough topics, and creating heroines who save themselves.
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Naomi Novik does it again with a wonderful retelling of a classic fairy tale.  Ms. Novik does a great job in taking the basic premise of something and reworking it into something new and fresh.  There were some parts of the book that lagged and the descriptions became a bit cumbersome but overall, I really enjoyed the story.  The characters had depth and surprised me with some of their actions but I felt they stayed genuine to who they were at their core.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely.

I look forward to more books by Naomi Novik.
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Like many others who read this, I closed the book with mixed feelings. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, and Novik's writing was simply genius at times. Novik wrote this book in several 1st person point of views, and transitioned between them with only a break and symbol to give you a heads up. The first couple of chapters were very hard to understand that, but by half way through the book, you could glean information of who the speaker was within a couple of paragraphs. I thought that that was really cool and well done, to be able to give such different voices to each character in such recognizable ways. 

I don't think this was as good as Uprooted, but I don't know that it would be fair to compare the two. Uprooted had a more straightforward plot with straightforward themes, whereas Spinning Silver seemed more complex. Between the switching POVs throughout, the themes of debts (when you pay and when you owe) was a little more difficult to follow. (But, I'm going to put most of that "blame" on me and not reading this book in large chunks at a time.)

If you're *barely* patiently waiting for the next Winternight triliogy book, this might be a good book to hold you over. 

(originally posted on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37168303-spinning-silver)
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