Suzannah's Reviews > Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, fairytale-retellings, rating-pg-13

Wow, I have mixed feelings about this one.

First of all, this book is well done in some really great ways. It's beautifully written and evocative. It's far more deeply rooted than Novik's other fairytale, UPROOTED, in Eastern European history and legend. The content was clean, which I appreciated. It's linked more explicitly to a specific fairytale, Rumplestiltskin, and brings out some of the more fascinating themes in that story, like economics and contracts - something that, together with anti-semitism, is very rarely incorporated into fantasy, and Novik does a beautiful job of bringing out the magic in these things. And the whole story, with its structure and climax, felt more fitting and to-scale than UPROOTED did.

On the other hand, there were some things that I felt UPROOTED did a lot better. I found few of the characters in this book as vivid as the ones in UPROOTED, and the Staryk, with their glass mountain, were nowhere near as memorable or as creepy as the Wood in UPROOTED. The characters are difficult to like at first, and while most of them learn from their mistakes in the end, I only loved Mirnatius, whose POV was hilariously fun (and sadly limited). Finally, maybe my attention wandered at a key point, but I was so confused by some of the plot points, like why the Staryk wanted gold or what Chernobog had done to the glass mountain and many of the bargains made between Miryem and the Staryk king. It wasn't until a couple of chapters from the end that some of these vital pieces of information clicked into place for me.

SPINNING SILVER has thematic richness, a wonderful setting (at least in the human world), beautiful writing, and a plot that slowly grows to something complex and enthralling. Despite some characters and settings that seem a little underserved, in many ways it is a much bigger, richer, more thoughtful book than UPROOTED was.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 13, 2018 – Shelved
August 13, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
August 13, 2018 – Shelved as: fairytale-retellings
August 13, 2018 – Shelved as: rating-pg-13
August 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Nice review!

Abigail Hartman ...meanwhile, I hated Mirnatius but quite liked the Staryk king. 😂

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