by Naomi Novik
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.
If you have ever visited my blog recently, or even been on my Instagram, you know I have been crazy about this book. From the moment I pre-ordered it to the moment, I finished reading it. It was a ride, ok? Before this year, I hadn’t really read any of Novik’s books and I am left wondering why. Her writing is so good and the overall tone of the two books that I have read leave me with such happiness.
Granted, after reading Uprooted and falling in love with it, I had expectations from Spinning Silver. I knew I shouldn’t but I did anyway. In any case, the author did not disappoint. It took me a bit to get an understanding of the world and the characters but once I got it, it was a lovely ride. About sixty pages, I finally got to a place where I think I had a rough idea of what was happening and from then on, I literally grabbed every chance I got to read it.
Like her earlier book ‘Uprooted’, Novik managed to put her magical spell here as well. While it’s been touted as a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, there’s so much more to the story than just that one tale. The actual plot of the book is a bit more complex and brilliantly and tightly woven together than one would assume. There were a few moments when I was surprised, it’s probably the lack of detailed knowledge of lore on my part, perhaps.
Essentially this is a story of three girls who are, by all rights, not supposed to even know of each other’s existence in a way. However, their lives are entangled together due to certain events and the story shows their journey forward. This is a multi-perspective book with three main characters (Miryem, Wanda & Irina) and a scattering of side characters which are just as important to the overall experience of the book.
I absolutely loved the character development in the book, all three girls go through so much and learn from it and grow from it and it’s an absolute delight to read it. Of course, there are moments when I wanted to shake one of the girls but these moments made the reading experience even more awesome? At least for me.
Taking the story of Rumpelstiltskin and turning it into a story where ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ isn’t quite the villain was a brilliant spin and I loved it. Miryem’s poverty and determination to be a great successful moneylender, Wanda’s struggle to connect with her family and then having actual familial feelings for her siblings, Irina’s lack of rights to her using her wits to survive her marriage.
Every little bit was wonderfully written and I had to give this one a solid 4.5 stars! I took away the other .5 because some parts of the book sometimes felt unnecessary. I am hoping to read it again soon so that I can decide if those plot lines were unnecessary or I was just being a bit hasty. However, seriously, go and read it. It’s absolutely brilliant.
If you loved Uprooted, you will love this one as well, perhaps, even more than Uprooted. If you love fairytales that are subverted and made into a whole new brilliant tale, then this is the book for you. If you like strong female characters, magic and actual character growth, then please, go and read this book.