Review | Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Title: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Publisher: Del Rey

Published: July 10, 2018

Read as: Audiobook from Audible

Average Goodreads rating: 4.30

My rating: 5

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand. (from Goodreads)

And more to the point, I was reasonably certain he wasn’t going to try and devour my soul. My expectations for a husband had lowered.

I finished this book a few days ago but have put off writing my review. Why, you ask? Well, sometimes I will put off a review if I neither enjoyed or disliked a book. If it was just…meh. Or if it is a very popular book that has been reviewed by everyone and their brother and I don’t feel the need to add my two cents to the haystack. This time, it is neither of those. This time, I loved the book so much that I just don’t feel like any feeble words I can string together will do it justice.

But I am going to give it a shot.

These days the fantasy market is flooded with fairy tale retellings. So many of the new releases we see are a different telling of one classic story or another and, I admit, I’ve become a smidge burnt out on them. Then I decided to give Spinning Silver a try. In this book, Novik takes the well known Rumpelstiltskin fable and gives it new life.

And a glorious new life it is.

Miryem is a fantastic main character. She is almost viciously smart, motivated, loyal, and unrelenting. This is a woman that does not take no for an answer and will find a way to win and keep her word, every single time. Her loyalty to her family is something that I haven’t seen much in fantasy. Usually our lead characters have been wronged by their families or their family is dead. Nope, not here. Miryem and loyal and hardworking and will do most anything to keep her beloved mother and father from suffering.

Even the side characters, the important ones almost entirely female, were all phenomenal in their own right. All three with parts told from their POV were so strong. All three were intelligent and cunning, although each in their own ways. They did what they had to do and maintained their personal integrity while still taking care of, well, pretty much everything.

None were painted as the bitch that we see show up so often. You know what I’m talking about. The, “Oh, this female character is strong and stands their ground and they come off as such a bitch!” I hate that mentality but you know people do it. I can’t so much as fathom anyone saying that about any of these characters. They were pure and true and so dazzlingly intelligent. They also were not sweet and sugary. No, they knew what had to be done and they took care of business while maintaining their integrity.

Besides that magnificent cast of characters, the other thing I want to focus on is the story telling. When you read a fairy tale it has, well, a different vibe from anything modern. When I read this book it had that same vibe. The same ebb and flow that makes a fairy tale read like a song. There was not a ton of traditional action in this book but I still didn’t want to stop reading. You are sucked into it with the beautifully written details and the musical flow of words on the page. It didn’t need high action and fight scenes to be a great story.

I have never in my life read anything quite like this book. I don’t think I’d ever be able to do it justice in this one, insignificant little review. If I can only get one thing across to you it is that this story is probably one of the most unique I have ever read, even if it is a retelling. It has some of the most beautiful writing and storytelling that I have ever come across. This is a book that is going to stick with me for a long, long time to come.

11 thoughts on “Review | Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

  1. So glad to see you enjoyed this one! I just read it – my review’s going up tomorrow, actually! – and I had the same issue in that I loved it so much and it’s such a beautifully written and plotted book that I didn’t know how to do it justice in a review. I loved the women in this, particularly Miryem, and I loved how Novik explore Judaism and Jewish culture through her. Such a brilliant book – great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely forgot to talk about the Jewish culture in my review! I could kick myself. It played such a large roll in the fear mongering from the townsfolk and segregation in the city. Blast!
      I’ll keep an eye out for your review. It was such a wonderful book I love seeing other people talk about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It can be hard to remember to talk about everything with a book like this, though! There’s so much depth to it and so many different themes, it’s so beautiful.


    1. Go pick it up! Go go! One of my favorite books of all time. Right now I only have the audio but I loved it so much I think I’m going to pick up a hardcopy of it just to be able to look at it on my shelf from time to time and smile. Worth it.


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