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Spinning Silver
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Group Reads Discussions 2019 > "Spinning Silver" Discuss Everything *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Chris (last edited May 05, 2019 12:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris | 1046 comments Who will be reading Spinning Silver with us?

Update: This was originally the thread for a Buddy Read in July 2018. It is now being used for full discussion of the group's Fantasy selection of May 2019. If you wish to skip the BR talk, you can scroll down to message 48.


Ariana | 657 comments I am planning on it!


Shomeret | 404 comments I won't get the book on time. I'm #13 on a hold list.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments I just finished the book I was reading and I have this pre-ordered on Kindle, so I am ready to go! (I am going to try really hard not to start reading at midnight because I have to work tomorrow.)


message 5: by Ivy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ivy | 15 comments I read this arc a few months ago and it now ranks among my favorite books of all time. I can't wait to hear what you all think!!!


message 6: by Renee (new) - added it

Renee (elenarenee) | 31 comments I hope to their is a huge wait list at my library. I love this author. I will read whenever I get the book. I may be posting veryl late


Chris | 1046 comments I started it today. Definitely a dark tone.

(view spoiler)


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments I've read the first three chapters.

(view spoiler)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I'm in, but I don't know when I'll get my copy from the library.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Through chapter 11

(view spoiler)


Ariana | 657 comments My copy is taking a bit longer from the library. Hoping to have it by this weekend.


Chris | 1046 comments Kristin B. wrote: "Through chapter 11"

(view spoiler)


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Chris wrote: "Speaking of POV, does a..."

Yeah. The POV switches are a bit disorienting. I can't even imagine how frustrating that would be on audio.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Finished!

(view spoiler)

I'm going to a book signing for Naomi Novik in two weeks, and I'm super excited! Now I just have to decide if I want her to sign Uprooted, His Majesty's Dragon or Spinning Silver. So hard to choose!


message 15: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth | 157 comments My pre-order has arrived on my Kindle several days ago but I’ve been busy so I’ve only managed to read 1 chapter so far. Loved the start of the story with the moneylender’s daughter and the mysterious Staryk.


Ariana | 657 comments Kristin B. wrote: "Chris wrote: "Speaking of POV, does a..."

Yeah. The POV switches are a bit disorienting. I can't even imagine how frustrating that would be on audio."


Well this isn't promising. I just got my copy, which is the audiobook. Any advice before I start on how to not get confused about the POV switches?


message 17: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
I've also started the audiobook, and it helped me just knowing to expect that. The narrator does change her voice the tiniest bit at least for one POV, but it's very subtle. But anytime you start feeling confused, that's when you'll know the POV just changed! You get used to it pretty fast.


message 18: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
The audio is getting more confusing as more POVs are popping up.


Ariana | 657 comments Anna wrote: "The audio is getting more confusing as more POVs are popping up."

Yaaaaaaaaay.


message 20: by Anna, Circadian heretic (last edited Jul 16, 2018 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
lol, sorry! I was doing fine when there were three POVs. Then a fourth was added and it was still OKish. Chapter 15 started (I think?) with a fifth, and now it feels like I have to pay super close attention. It's so hot here, I feel drowsy all the time, I can't spare brain power for this.

It would help if someone who is further along could tell me if there are going to be more new POVs? As long as I know what the possible characters are, I can figure out who it is. It only gets very confusing when I think it's one of the previous ones when it isn't.

So, heads up, a fourth POV is added during chapter 11, and a fifth at the start of chapter 15.

edit: Another new POV in chapter 17, but it's easy to spot.


Chris | 1046 comments Yeah, Novik went crazy with the POVs. I wish she had taken a page from Guy Gavriel Kay. He will sometimes use a minor character for POV in just one scene/chapter.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Anna wrote: "lol, sorry! I was doing fine when there were three POVs. Then a fourth was added and it was still OKish. Chapter 15 started (I think?) with a fifth, and now it feels like I have to pay super close ..."

POV's I remember:
(view spoiler)


message 23: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
I wouldn't mind several POVs if there was a mention of who we're switching to, or even a longer break. I don't think it's the book's or Novik's fault, it's whoever put together this audio without sufficient breaks between POVs.


Ariana | 657 comments Chris wrote: "I started it today. Definitely a dark tone."

I finally started this, and I am not feeling it. Super dark and depressing. Does it lighten up, or at least get less oppressive feeling?


message 25: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
It does feel more reminiscent of the darker fairytales I grew up knowing than, say a random YA retelling which has more romance. I guess it depends on how much you like the characters whether you'll find it very depressing. I'm not connecting with anyone especially, possibly because of the audio and all POVs feeling the same, but I very much appreciate what Novik has done with the original fairytale.


message 26: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
I finished, it's too hot to try and think, but a couple of things:

(view spoiler)

3.5 stars


Chris | 1046 comments Finished today.

(view spoiler)


message 28: by Ariana (last edited Jul 19, 2018 09:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ariana | 657 comments I am in Ch. 13. I was really looking forward to this, so maybe it's suffering from too high expectations?
(view spoiler)


message 29: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2526 comments I am lukewarm about Uprooted, will I enjoy this one?


message 30: by Barb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barb (barbtrek) | 24 comments I just got a copy! Hope to start soon.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Silvana wrote: "I am lukewarm about Uprooted, will I enjoy this one?"

What did you like/dislike in Uprooted? I feel like this book was similar as far as story telling (though this story has more intertwining storylines), but the story itself and the characters are different.


message 32: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
I felt this was more fairytalish than Uprooted, but the pacing was better. I liked Uprooted, but I was mostly reading (YA) fantasy at that time, so my taste is a bit different now. I liked this less, but I might recommend it to people who liked The Bear and the Nightingale.


message 33: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2526 comments @Kristin: It's been years but I remember not particularly a fan of the romance parts. And it also feels YA-ish. I did enjoy Novik's Temeraire books so I was slightly disappointed she changed course to this kind of fantasy.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Silvana wrote: "@Kristin: It's been years but I remember not particularly a fan of the romance parts. And it also feels YA-ish. I did enjoy Novik's Temeraire books so I was slightly disappointed she changed course..."

Not really a spoiler, but I'm going to throw it behind a tag just in case.

(view spoiler)


Ariana | 657 comments I finished this today. I came around on this book after not being very taken with it in the beginning.

(view spoiler)


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Ariana wrote: "One quick plot point: so why exactly did the Staryk want gold so badly?..."

So I think I understood this.

(view spoiler)


message 37: by Ariana (last edited Jul 24, 2018 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ariana | 657 comments Kristin B. wrote: "So I think I understood this..."

Thanks! Ok, so a follow up:
(view spoiler)


Chris | 1046 comments (view spoiler)


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | 719 comments Kristin B. wrote: "Ariana wrote: "One quick plot point: so why exactly did the Staryk want gold so badly?..."

So I think I understood this...."


(view spoiler)

Chris wrote: "[spoilers removed]"

(view spoiler)


Chris | 1046 comments More on Chernobog vs. the Staryk:
(view spoiler)


Ariana | 657 comments Chris wrote: "More on Chernobog vs. the Staryk:
[spoilers removed]"


(view spoiler)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Silvana wrote: "@Kristin: It's been years but I remember not particularly a fan of the romance parts. And it also feels YA-ish. I did enjoy Novik's Temeraire books so I was slightly disappointed she changed course..."


This is kinda funny because I read Uprooted first and then read the first Temeraire book, and I'd commented that if I'd read Temeraire first, I might never have read Uprooted...

***

Started this recently. Around page 140 or so, so got a ways to go. I feel like things are finally starting to get interesting.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Page 242 -

I'm also finding the POV switches to be jarring, and that's while reading. My biggest issue is the weird sort of time lags and jumps that happens. Like when (view spoiler)

I'm also finding the story somewhat predictable, but I'm hoping that I end up being wrong.

I can't agree that the pacing is better in this one than Uprooted. Not to say Uprooted didn't have some pacing problems - especially in the middle - but the pacing feels very sluggish to me in this.


message 44: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "I can't agree that the pacing is better in this one than Uprooted. Not to say Uprooted didn't have some pacing problems - especially in the middle - but the pacing feels very sluggish to me in this. "

Maybe I didn't notice it as much because I was listening to the audio. Uprooted has that weird part in the midde where the pace totally changes, so it felt more abrupt.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Page 326: Chapter 19

Things are starting to come together, and the disparate POVs are connecting, so that's cool.

I liked the bit in the hut, with (view spoiler)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Finished last night.

I definitely agree about the pacing issues. When things were interesting they were very interesting, but when it was a drag, it was such a drag. I ended up giving it 3-3.5 stars.

I also agree about the (view spoiler) feeling tacked on at the end. At the same time, though, I actually saw it coming and figured that that was the direction it was going to go, especially once the menfolk were being portrayed as growing softer and we saw more about the truth of their histories and motivations.

I did like that, throughout the story, about how you had one perception of people or what was happening, but then you'd learn something which would change your perspective of them.

But, anyway, back to the (view spoiler)

***

As to the big battle... the way I saw it was that (view spoiler)

My big issue with the whole Chernobog thing, though, was it didn't make any sense to me for him to be (view spoiler)

***

That aside, I was kind of reminded of Howl's Moving Castle, with the whole (view spoiler)


Donald | 240 comments Finally got a hold and finished this.

I always find it interesting when people make the same comments as me - and definitely in this case it was the pacing.

It took me over a week to plod through the first half of the book. I really struggled, and considered putting it up at least once. The second half basically got consumed in one night, and the story itself felt rushed on top of that.

The only thing that saved it for me was that even though I was struggling through the book, it always felt like a really good book. I liked the characters, the interactions and the world. I much preferred it over Uprooted and Temeraire, though I've only read the first of that series.


message 48: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 5 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Hello all! We're going to use this thread for our full discussion!

Chris, could I impose upon you to update your first post, please?

Were you enchanted by this story or did it leave you cold?
What worked or didn't for you compared to her other works (please try not to spoil other books!)
What stories did you find referenced in Spinning Silver?

You do not need to use spoiler tags! From this post onward is full, uncovered spoilers, please be advised.


message 49: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (last edited May 06, 2019 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Okay, I guess I'll start us off!

So, I love fairy tales, and seeing what they intend to communicate. So many are lessons and warnings--listen to your parents, don't talk to strange men, if you cheat or pretend to be someone you're not you'll eventually pay for it etc.

I thought this was really faithful to that vibe. In fairy tales, beating children is more or less a given, and there's just a bunch of feminine horror, which is to say elements of the dark and spooky that speak specifically to people seen as "less than" men. I thought this had that in spades, but not in a grimdark way. We're constantly worrying that the women will be hit or tortured or violated and they have to use their wits and wiles to protect themselves--that, in many ways, is all they have against sheer brute strength that does not value their comfort. And, like in most fairy tales, they are able to outsmart their captors and stay true to their morals, their God, or their goals.

Speaking of God, I was so thrilled to find another positive example of Judaism in this book! Loving this trend of including other faiths as a normal part in speculative fiction. I loved how Novik was able to capture both the sense of community and oppression, so it never became "oppression porn" but also didn't skate past a very real, important part of the Jewish experience.

And I'm so glad that we went "happily ever after" at the end, instead of sticking to the Grimm brothers' approach. It managed not to feel twee, the romance was just hinted at, but it was satisfying to see everyone redeemed and worthy.

I am a bit grumbly about how the POVs had nothing obvious to distinguish the sections until you found the clue/voice. A header with the name of the narrator or third person would have solved that, but it also would have made it feel less modern. I get why she chose first person present, but it did take me out of the flow of the story every time I had to figure out who was talking.

But, despite that minor complaint, I thought it was superb, and I'm glad I didn't let my past experience with Uprooted get in my way!

(Thanks for updating the first comment, Chris!)


message 50: by Travis (last edited May 06, 2019 06:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 1154 comments Just finished reading through this amazing thread about an amazing novel... I'm in the camp of folk who were decidedly meh about Uprooted but loved this one.

I think one of my favorite aspects here was the theme of collectivity and, especially, sisterhood. There was that great line on page 108 when Miryem is observing Irina, a woman separated from her in hugely significant ways, and sees the parallels in their existence: "As she dropped her head and turned back into the room, our eyes met: we didn't speak, but for a moment I felt her a sister, our lives in the hands of others. She wasn't likely to have any more choice in the matter than I did."

I also loved how Novik showed oppression and abuse causing great and lasting pain even while providing knowledge and insight. Stepon's ability to always see the truth behind the surface of adults' speech and expression was haunting and beautiful for me because it seemed to be knowledge he acquired through the experience of an abusive father. Likewise, I saw the Mandelstam's almost instinctive kindness of toward Wanda, Sergey, and Stepon to be in part a reaction (maybe not even a conscious one) to the antisemitic hostilities they daily experienced from their neighbors.

I'm maybe in the minority in that I loved the pacing and POV shifts, even when the shift meant returning to an earlier point in the chronology. Both allowed the structure to mirror the theme of interconnection in ways I found incredibly moving.

My one complaint echoes Kristin's and Anna's above ---

Kristin B. wrote: "
I will say I am torn a bit over the ending. the Staryk lord and the Tsar are both very problematic partners. As much as I like a happy ending, sometimes I wonder if letting them live happily ever after together is the right thing to do.."


Ending with marriage felt to me a bit false and rushed. I would have been much more content a less conclusive conclusion.

After reading Uprooted, I was pretty sure I'd never again read Novic. So I'm very grateful this group encouraged me to give her another try!


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