Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver

Book - 2018
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, which was hailed as "a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic" by The New York Times Book Review .

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk--grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh--Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

Praise for Spinning Silver

"A book as cool and mysterious as a winter's night, with two marvelous heroines at its heart. Spinning Silver pits the cold of endless winter against the fires of duty, love, and sacrifice. I couldn't put it down." --Katherine Arden, New York Times bestselling author of The Bear and the Nightingale

"Naomi Novik knows how to weave words into magic, and Spinning Silver enchants the reader from the first page. This magnificent tale of three courageous young women who find the power to change their fates will catch you in its spell and linger long after the last chapter is read." --Christina Henry, nationally bestselling author of The Mermaid
Publisher: New York :, Del Rey,, ©2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399180989
Branch Call Number: SCIENCE FICTION NOV
Characteristics: 466 pages ; 22 cm

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List - Hugo Award Nominees
Liesel_C Apr 03, 2019

An imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy-tale. "Spinning Silver" is the story of Miryem, , born into a family of moneylenders, whose father has loaned out more than he collected and left the family on the edge of poverty. Miryem sets out to collect what is owed and soon dis... Read More »

Tenacious and shrewd Miryem, a moneylender’s daughter, draws the attention of the terrifying Staryk clan and their gold-loving king. A fantastical retelling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale, with a taste of Eastern European traditions and folklore.


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A very good book, complex characters, and interesting plot. I am still confused with some of it, but regardless I really like this book. (Even though I felt like I wanted to tear out my hair sometimes when certain characters were driving me crazy.) The creative reading process was awesome, and the characters were so well-made that I felt genuinely invested in their lives.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre of high fantasy or fairytale retellings.

(RANT: I was a little irked by how main POVs there were though (Seven, if I remember right), and they constantly changed with no real pattern.)

HerrickDL_Hannah Apr 10, 2019

Intensifying, atmospheric, character-driven, menacing, moving, with complex, courageous heroines. Changing silver to gold, finding strength where the world expects weakness, making impossible, adult choices when life throws you to the wolves (or faerie ice monsters). I love love love how Novik lit a smoldering fire and gradually stoked it when it came to the antagonists.

s
sat7
Apr 10, 2019

Interesting Read. The setting extreme and characters well, almost super beings. -

CedarMill_StaffPicks Apr 08, 2019

The book features young adult characters (strong young women, in fact), but it is enjoyable by adults and is thus catalogued as such. What I enjoyed about this title is the story was very imaginative and original, and yet it brought back themes from the Book of Esther (Bible), Rumpelstiltskin, and the White Witch in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Captivating story. I loved the way the two protagonists captured their princes' hearts with their intelligence, not their beauty.

k
kwsmith
Mar 29, 2019

Loosely based on the classic Rumpelstiltskin fairly tale, this charming modern fantasy novel tells the story of three unique heroines who work together to out-smart the creepy fairies. Overall, this book is much better than Novik's previous *Uprooted* book but I still found the story dragged along too slowly towards the end.

r
RebelBelle13
Feb 05, 2019

I attempted to read Naomi Novak's Dragon series over 10 years ago, and I lost interest about halfway through the first book. There's been a lot of hype surrounding her two newest books, Uprooted and this one, Spinning Silver. I'm a huge fan of fairy tale retellings and reimaginings, and I knew this was loosely based on Rumplestiltskin, so I decided to give Novak another try. This book was fantastic, and had almost everything I could have asked for. Spinning Silver takes place somewhere in an alternate past of Eastern Europe in winter. It's atmospheric, it's character driven, and it brings in the magical elements slowly, as if easing you into it. It (mostly) follows three resilient, clever, and strong young women just trying to survive and provide for their families. Miryem is a money-lender's daughter who brags she can turn silver into gold, and is whisked away and married to the magical king of Winter. Irina happens upon some of the King's silver and finds herself married to the Tsar who is hiding a demon in his belly. Wanda works for Miryem, and finds herself embroiled in both of the other girls stories as the eventually wind themselves together. There are store-rooms of silver that need changing to gold, magic mirrors, castles where the staircases change, and clever bargains struck. There is also zero romance to be found here, but plenty of familial love, friendship, respect, trust, and even faith, as the Jewish religion plays a small part in the story. The text is rich with descriptions of Miryem and Irina's world and their circumstances, and their husbands are equally as well pictured. The story is mostly character driven, and the three women are constantly pulling the plot forward. I had a lot of trouble putting this book down.
There are a few things that might trip you up while reading the story, but they didn't detract enough for me to lessen my rating. The point of view changes frequently, and with little to no warning. There are no title indicators letting the reader know who is speaking, and it takes you almost a paragraph in to decipher who we're reading and what's going on. There are also too many points of view, and at least two (Stepon and Magreta) that could have been dropped and not taken away anything from the story. I really wanted to follow Miryem and Irina, and found myself disappointed when I had to read from someone else's perspective. I would also have liked some epilogues, especially from the two main ladies.
As it stands, I was completely sucked into the world that Novak wove, and fell in love with all of the characters she so deftly created. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good fairy-tale retelling, or a heavily atmospheric character-driven fantasy novel.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 27, 2019

This is a "retelling" of Rumpelstiltskin that bears only a passing resemblance to the original fairy tale -- but, since that's never been a particular favorite of mine, that is not an insult. I really, really liked this -- I think Naomi Novik writes such smart, thoughtful, feminist fantasy, and her worlds feel so fully realized and imaginative and both familiar and entirely new. This was one of my favorite reads of last year, and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

g
goddessbeth
Jan 17, 2019

Naomi Novik has become an auto-buy author (and I don't have many of those). With Spinning Silver, she continues her wonderful talent for multi-character storytelling that's both well-paced *and* lyrical.

The narrative is shared by three primary female characters (and a few chapters are told from other perspectives), as three Eastern European fairytale-like stories merge into one. I don't know if those three are actual fairytales, or they just sing like them as you read, but I loved them. There's quite a bit of Jewish culture and folklore, as well as Lithuanian culture and folklore.

All three female leads are clever and fiercely loyal, though their motivations differ. It's wonderful to see a heroine whose strengths include cunning (and who stands up to a community of judgey mcjudgersons, as well as a magical jerkface king). It's also wonderful to see a heroine whose strengths include being observant (which she is able to be because she's too plain for anyone to notice). It's also wonderful to see a heroine whose strengths include perseverance and a realistic attitude toward the world. These are the kind of characters I want young women to see more of.

The three stories that weave together are individually beautiful, full of metaphor and layers, and entertaining in their own right. There's loyalty, the importance of family, the willingness to believe in magic, the importance of self-knowledge...I could go on and on, but the point is: You should read this story.

m
mandyozz
Jan 15, 2019

One of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to read. An absolutely magical fairy tale that deserves to be a classic one day.

s
samrouthier
Jan 11, 2019

I personally loved this book and I would disagree, all the characters are extremely fleshed out. Particularly the female characters. Though for some reason, the editors of this book made the criminal mistake of not labeling the POV switches. Because it is written in 1st person, it is very confusing when there is a switch as you have to figure out who is talking.

Over all the plot was very well structured and the ending is a surprise! A refreshing twist in the genre of re imagined fairy tales.

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