Those who follow me on Instagram may already know that I just finished a wonderful YA Fantasy novel by Naomi Novik entitled Spinning Silver. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, be sure to check me out! My handle is @Chyina_Powell so I am pretty easy to find. Well, back to the subject. This book came in my first Book of The Month subscription box. (Two hardcovers for $15 is a marvelous price!) Anyway, I had the time to read it this month now that National Novel Writing Month isn’t top priority (over 73k words, by the way). I am sure that some of you love Fantasy as much as me so, I wanted to give you a little review.
Spinning Silver is a novel about a moneylender, an unloved daughter of a duke, a family of abused children, a tsar and an ice king. Who would’ve ever imagined putting all of those characters together? Miryem is the only daughter in a Jewish family, her father is her town’s moneylender and he is awful at his job. Sick of seeing her family starve while those who owe them money have feasts, Miryem takes over his duties. It is hard in a time when people dislike her simply because of her religion and she is forced to lock up her compassion so that she can turn silver into gold. But poor Miryem makes the mistake of boasting over her ability in the middle of the forest belonging to the ice king and he wants it. Little does Miryem know, the Staryk (a race of ice people) is after this power she doesn’t really have and so she hires a young woman to work for her, to ease her parents’ burden. Wanda comes from an abusive home and is just happy to get away even if it means working for the Jews, at least she gets to eat with them, a luxury she doesn’t have at home.
There is also Irina, not beautiful or accomplished enough to be of use to her father. At least that is how he and her stepmother have always treated her. But there is something within her, she is descended from the Staryk and when she dons jewelry made from their silver, people see her as beautiful and they are captivated. Add in a sadistic tsar who is much more than he seems and Novik has a wonderful tale. Two marriages take place. What happens when you are forced to marry someone you don’t know? Someone you hate? The author tells us the answer. And when Miryem and Irina collude, things go very, very wrong. In this novel, Naomi Novik weaves fairy tale and folklore. It isn’t the story you read as a child about a miller’s daughter weaving straw into gold and marrying a king. Instead, it is a story of anger and self-preservation. The characters are all willful and determined to do whatever it takes to make their dreams become reality, even if it means hurting others along the way; they don’t care as long as long as they can protect their own.
I really enjoyed this novel and finished it in two sittings and that just proves how interesting and dynamic the story was. Overall, I give the novel Spinning Silver a 4/5. It was a wonderful novel and all of the characters were so unique that she didn’t need to add their names at the beginning of each chapter. Novik masterfully told multiple stories at the same time, connecting them and separating them along the way and we, as readers, go with them on this journey. You truly become immersed in what the characters are doing and are completely invested in their well-being.
Photo Courtesy of Strange Horizons
Does this sound like a book you would pick up if you had the time? Have you read any of Naomi Novik’s work? Let me know your favorites down in the comments below. And if you have some book suggestions, feel free to reach out to me! Also, check out my gigs on Fiverr “here” if you are interested in a beta read and critique of your brain baby! If you want me to review your creative writing, just contact me here and I will gladly reach out to you as soon as possible.