Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Published: By Macmillan on July 12th, 2018
ISBN13: 9781509899012 (UK hardcover edition)
Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord.
Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar – he will pay any price to achieve this goal. However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love.
I’d heard many good things about Uprooted, which is why when I saw Spinning Silver up for grabs on NetGalley, I hit the request button. As writers mostly get better with each book they put out, I was hoping this book would exceed my expectations. It was also getting some hype from other reviewers who had early copies, so I was excited to dive in!
I buddy read this book with Camillea @ Camillea Reads.
This book fulfilled all of my expectations and then some more. It was initially a bit tough to get into and this wasn’t a case where I fell in love with it from Page 1. The characters of Miryem and Wanda grew on me slowly. The different perspectives were very interesting to read and made the story richer. My favourite was Miryem and although I liked Irina at the beginning, I wasn’t a fan of her at the end. The plot has so many different threads, which kept me engaged and guessing as to how the narratives would weave together. This was my favourite part of the book and I was very satisfied with the ending. A little bit more about what happened to Irina would have been nice to know though.
I also really liked the magic system. It was a whimsical story from the start, but I loved discovering more about the world as it progressed. The various kinds of magic and how they affected the world of mortals was fascinating and quite original for me. I also liked that it showcased different cultures and revealed the customs and beliefs of each in a very natural way rather than as an info dump. What really stole my heart was how amazing the female characters were in the story. I liked how they took the opportunities that came their way and were also enterprising enough to create their own when they were handed no privileges. I especially liked Miryem’s growth, Wanda’s steadfast strength and Irina’s cunning.
I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a well-crafted and original fairy tale. For the music, I’d suggest some winter ambient music or something with a whimsical vibe. For the food, I’d say keep something cosy and warm handy (I prefer soup and piping hot chocolate) because this has a wonderful wintry setting that will chill your very bones.
Have you read this book or anything by Naomi Novik? If so, what are your thoughts? What other books would you recommend with a whimsical, wintry setting? Let me know in the comments section below.