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Review: Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver book cover

Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, General Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Page Count: 480
Published by: Del Rey Books
Date Published: July 10, 2018
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders. But as her father continues to be unable to collect debts owed to him, his small family falls into extreme poverty. Hardening her heart, Miryem takes over and ruthlessly, intelligently, and unapologetically calls in the debts of her townspeople. When the Staryk (the cold hearted fay creatures made of ice & snow) hear of her talents to spin “silver into gold”, her and her kingdom’s future is forever altered as the Staryk king sets her an impossible task.

Her manipulations and schemes will ensnare two other women in her plans – Wanda, the impoverished daughter of an abusive farmer and Irina, the plain, neglected daughter of a lord set on marrying her to the Tsar … who himself possesses hidden demons that threaten everyone.

Overall Thoughts

The truth is, if I hadn’t read Uprooted I likely would’ve enjoyed this one more. Much like Uprooted, Spinning Silver is written in such a way that feels much more dense than the 400+ page count. It’s just the way Naomi writes. Which is a beautiful, double-edged problem: lush, descriptive and fully visualized worlds and characters but, at times, a tedious, snail paced journey. In Spinning Silver this lackadaisical gait is further halted to a lethargic, almost standstill pace as there is no sense of urgency among the characters. Even though seemingly shocking events are happening, the characters themselves lack much enthusiasm or even surprise to these life changing altercations. It really confused me. I love a good, methodical, almost meditative story, but this went beyond that. Even further, of the three character plot lines – two are almost identical, leading to a repetitive, reductive narrative … which also definitely didn’t help that pacing problem.

However, as I said, I’ll always take a slow, well built, well described story to a rushed, flat one and Naomi truly builds a transcendent story … she just takes her damn time. In this instalment, I can’t tell if it worked. This is tough, long chew but if you’re willing to settle in, this imaginative world centring around three strong women fighting for independence using their wits and limited options is truly memorable.

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