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review 2020-04-30 10:29
Spinning Silver
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

I finished a whole book! Woo! Take that, pandemic anxiety brain! But I don’t feel capable of properly reviewing it, so I’ll just say a thing or two and then do a victory lap of my little dining table or something.


Thing one: I’m not a huge fan of the multiple points of view. Nearly every single POV change derailed my concentration to the point that it was sometimes several paragraphs before I figured out whose POV I was reading. I can at least partially blame this on the whole pandemic brain phenomenon (Focus? LOL! What’s that?), but some of the POVs felt so similar that they really threw me. I had an especially hard time telling Miryem and Irina apart at first. (Irina’s first POV section threw me SO HARD.)


Thing two: The book in general was about a three-star read until the last 120 pages or so when all the threads finally came together. Once they did, HOLY WOW. Some parts of those last 120 pages were so good that I read them over and over again, and NOT because I was having trouble focusing. If Naomi Novik wants to keep writing fairy tale inspired awesomeness, I will happily keep throwing money at her.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-01-26 20:51
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

I'm not super great at writing reviews of things or really writing down my feelings about anything, but I need to get better so HERE WE GO.  (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*: ・゚


This was my first foray into the writing of Naomi Novik, but I have to say I really enjoyed myself. The characters were great and I enjoyed getting to experience the story from all of their points of view. I enjoyed how Miryem and Irina came to view their husbands in a different light as they came to understand both their motives and the particular hand fate has dealt them. Also, Wanda and her brothers are very endearing and I particularly loved hearing the story from Stepon's rather innocent perspective. This was a wonderful and creaetive reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin.


My only qualm was it felt really slow to start up for the first 30% of the book (I read on Kindle so I don't remember how many pages there were). But I was very glad I kept trudging through the snow to reach the rest of the story that the slower part admittedly did a great part of setting up. It is also possible that I forced myself through in order to cope (*cough*escapism*cough*) with a rough week this past week, but Miryem's love for her family I think helped me also work through some of the feelings I had been trying to ignore.


I highly recommend giving this story a go, and I look very much forward to reading more of miss Novik's work. ♥️ 

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review 2019-08-29 15:19
Silver to Gold
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

I don't know what to say about this awesome book. Novik does a great job of developing three characters (Miryem, Wanda, and Irinushka). The setting of the story is great and we have a fire demon, a race of people called the Staryk who live in a wintery world that is adjacent to the Russia the story takes place in. I loved all three of these characters equally (which almost never happens). I wanted a follow-up story though about what happens to Miryem. The ending left me unsatisfied since I wanted to just keep reading more and more (a sign of a fantastic book).

"Spinning Silver" is a retelling of sorts of "Rumpelstiltskin". We all know the story of the poor miller's daughter who enchanted a king because she was able to turn straw into gold. This book turns that on it's head a bit with the first part of the book told in Miryem's voice dismissing the story and telling us readers what really happened. Miryem is the daughter of her small village's moneylender. Her father is a good man, but a terrible moneylender and through the years he has accepted many reasons why the people who have borrowed from him can't pay him back. When Miryem's mother gets ill and could possibly die, Miryem takes things into her owns and starts collecting for her father. A part of Miryem goes cold inside to do this, but she would do it again and again to keep her mother well.

Wanda is a young girl dealing with an abusive father and two younger brothers. Her mother died in birth and before that her family buried five other babies. Wanda wants to be away from her father and is scared since she can tell he has plans to "sell" her off to be married. When Miryem comes to collect money from Wanda's father, he agrees to rent out his daughter to do work at Miryem's home. Wanda for the first time is able to see what a loving mother and father look and act like. And she is jealous and grateful to Miryem in equal turns.

Irinushka is a plain girl whose mother had some Staryk magic inside of her. Irinushka's father has pretty much ignored her since her mother died, but now her father is paying attention to her and has plans for her that involved the tsar.


I know it seems like these are separate stories, but they all tie into one other throughout the book. We start with Miryem and Wanda for a while and then Novik adds on Irinushka. 


The writing is pretty much my favorite thing. It reminds me of fairy tales I read as a kid though this one is much more grown up of course. The stakes are higher and for these three women there are no men or princes out there that are coming to save them. They in the end take their fates into their own hands. I also loved that one of the main characters, Miryem was Jewish and we got to read about her family's religion and traditions. We also get to see how Miryem's family was treated by others. This book takes place in Russia and we see how Jews are treated as a necessary evil and or inconvenience among many people. Even Wanda when she talks of Miryem at first talks about her being a Jew. But then she grows to love Miryem's father and mother for themselves and she doesn't see it anymore. 


The flow of the book may feel stilted at first, but it grows more smooth. This book is a long one though. It's 480 pages and at one point after reading for 2 hours I realized I had only read about 20 percent. It makes sense though, we have three main characters to follow and also Wanda's younger brother at parts too. 


The setting of this Russia taking place when it had tsars was fascinating to look at. During Irinushka's POV we really get a chance to see how the politics of the day works. She who is seen as not important, has a better understanding of how men and women work in this day and age. With the country slowing growing colder and colder with a never ending winter, many are afraid of famine and death. And we also have the magical Staryk's who come and take what they want when they want leaving many afraid. I loved how Novik only allows us a bit of information about the Staryk's until we get more fully into Miryem's story-line. 

The ending was great. I didn't know what was going to happen and it seemed that everyone was looking for a not so happily ever after. Highly recommend! 

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text 2019-08-29 14:30
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

This book was so good! Doing a nice spin of the miller's daughter (who could turn straw into gold) we have a moneylender's daughter who can turn silver coins into gold.


Novik follows three women (Miryem, Wanda, and Irinushka) and one young boy and we get to see this fantastic land that is taking place in an alternate version of Russia. I think this book would be great for some bingo squares like Stone Cold Horror, In the Dark, Dark Woods, Demons, Monsters, Supernatural, Spellbound, Magical Realism, A Grimm Tale, the Raven Square, etc.

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review 2019-03-26 23:52
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (audiobook)
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik,Lisa Flanagan

I'm not sure how to describe this book without getting bogged down in just reciting the plot. There's a moneylender's daughter who catches the eye of a winter fairy lord who wants her to turn silver into gold, but there's also a story about a demon and a Czar and everything gets tangled together and it's still snowing by June, basically. I liked it, and I thought it started off great but the dénouement just seemed to take a little too long. I mean, it wasn't a simple wrap up, which is good, but at one point I thought it was pretty much over and then discovered I still had three more hours to listen to.


The narration is good, but I don't think I'd recommend the audiobook because there are several point of view characters, all of whom are written in the first person and with no indication of scene breaks. So it got very confusing at a few points and I'm still not sure I caught everything.

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