Book Review: Spinning Silver

Title: Spinning Silver

Author: Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Macmillan on July 12th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781509899012 (UK hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Spinning Silver

Synopsis

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.

Expectation

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!

Reality

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.

Recommendations

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.

Links

Book: Publisher’s Website | Goodreads | Book Depository

Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Comments

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.

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Spinning Silver

  1. I’m reading Spinning Silver right now; I think I left off somewhere around Page 360 (a very eventful wedding just happened) and… *sigh* I think you and I might end up on polar opposites with this book, Nandini. The story itself is interesting, and the world-building and magic are wonderful, but Novik’s “execution” of the story is frustrating me to no end. I’m trying to reserve judgement as much as I can until the story’s over and I’m ready to write something quick on Goodreads… But I already know I prefer Uprooted over SS. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Uprooted, so I didn’t have any expectations going in. 😅 I’d love to know what’s frustrating you about it. One of the perspectives wasn’t as interesting as the others but overall I really liked the story and characters. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I finished reading it last night, so now I’m pulling together my thoughts for a Goodreads reviews…. The main problem for me was the amount of exposition. Sometimes Novik went on for paragraphs without dialogue, and after a while I started skimming those stretches in between. I also have a pet peeve for POVs that are introduced midway or late in a story, which happened here as well, and the fact that I didn’t care for some of the POVs (especially Minartius – GAH!!!) didn’t help. There were a number of things I enjoyed, like the world-building, the magic, and certain sections of the book (the climax and the couple chapters before it were excellent). But I think that if I had connected with Miryem and Wanda early on, I would have had a smoother time with the book.

        I kind of feel like I jumped all around in explaining things. Sorry. (*blushes*) But my Goodreads review will be more organized!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, that’s fine, Sara! I understood what you were trying to say. I was very invested in Miryem’s story from early on, so the other POVs and long paragraphs didn’t bother me as much I guess. 😅 I’m sorry you didn’t like it as much as I did but I’m happy that you did like some parts of it. Looking forward to your GR review! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I posted it last night, shortly after I replied to your comment. So the next time you log onto Goodreads, you’ll find it.

        On a somewhat related note, I started Forest of a Thousand Lanterns last night. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I really hope you like FoaTL better! 😄 I read your review and I completely understand your perspective. I love how well you explain things in your review! I feel like I usually mess up mine and don’t convey exactly what I feel. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I already like the 60 pages of FoaTL, so fingers crossed that the book and I are heading in the right direction! 😉 And thanks for your thoughts re: my GR review of Spinning Silver. I sort of threw it together quickly, so I’m glad it makes sense to someone! *lol*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. evelynreads1

    I haven´t read anything by Naomi Novik yet but both her books sound so intruiging!
    This review only makes me want to read spinning silver more!

    (evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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