Spinning Silver

466 pages

English language

Published Aug. 8, 2018

ISBN:
9780399180989
OCLC Number:
1030446531

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (33 reviews)

"A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, called "a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic" by The New York Times Book Review. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued. Channeling the heart of the classic fairy tale, Novik deftly interweaves six …

4 editions

Fantastical and uplifting

5 stars

This story was exceptional.

Even if the story is objectively a traditional fairy tale (nothing wrong with that, classics are classics for a reason!), it reads with incredible tones and colors very close to the style of Studio Ghibli movies, especially Howl's Moving Castle. If I were to recommend a book to anyone asking about a Studio Ghibli-like story, this book would be the first on my list (more so than the books the movies are based on, since they already heard the stories!). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised that if Studio Ghibli had still been around today, Spinning Silver would be on their short list.

Since the story itself is a bit of what you'd expect of a fairy tale, with a simple plot, royalty, romance, and magic. The narrative voice did most of the work to put this book on the map, it's written in such a …

Review of 'Spinning Silver: A Novel' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

An absolute joy of a book. It takes the form of a lot of fantasy and/or fairy tale cliches but repeatedly twists them into much more interesting things, and takes on some pretty grim thematic content without being a grim read overall. I loved how bluntly it dealt with antisemitism and the purposes that prejudice serves, and the repeated thread through the whole book of people who looked greedy or outright evil from the inside looking reasonable and/or desperate once the author lets us see the character's own perspective.

That said, I hated Miryem's ending. It felt like a very jarring return to fairy tale cliches, and I'm basically pretending that the last 2-3 pages of a book that I otherwise adored simply don't exist.

Review of 'Spinning silver' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I normally love retellings of fairytales. This one was just disappointing. I loved what was happening at first. Then it just got kinda boring?

No spoilers, but. This was a disappointing book. I was so excited at first but was disappointed.

And the ending made me craaaaazy. Just, girl... fuckkkkkkk

Review of 'Spinning Silver' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book is so freaking good. The basic premise is a reimagining of the classic tale of Rumplestiltzkin. Only, instead of an imp, a young girl "makes gold" through trade. A faerie king hears the boasts of creating gold, and challenges her to change his silver into gold.

Novik's story straddles about six different point of view characters, though you are usually given some reason to care about or at least recognize each before they speak for themselves. It is a story of survival through smart bargaining, of love of family and of country, and of the choice of what we become.

It is a fantastic book. I cannot recommend it enough.

Review of 'Spinning silver' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Come for the AO3 connection, stay for the
- rich Jewish–Slavic speculative fiction (too rare!),
- superb Freakonomics-grade real-world economics and finance (that is, better than the garbage they teach you in micro and macroeconomics; that scene where she can offer a better price for better wool than the local carters who don’t differentiate enough, a lesson for thoughtful futures traders),
- frightening prediction of the future, where women are invisible, outsiders are downtrodden, and men make the rules, that many authoritarian nationalists seem to crave.

Review of 'Spinning Silver' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

I don't know if you've noticed, but I like fairy tales. Good ones, with "hard" fairies.

It doesn't hurt that the "reiz, sen senos laikos"The typical beginning for a fairy tale in Latvian; once, a long, long time ago. is convincing. It also helped to distance me from the domestic abuse that was in the book, letting me hope that things might not be as bad nowadays.

I found it a bit weird listening to names pronounced in English that I would pronounce differently, but nice to have a fairy tale set somewhere more unusual.

It had also been a while since I last heard a book with several points of view as the mode of telling the story, and I love getting into peoples heads like that.

Very, very much a treat for me, this book was.

Review of 'Spinning Silver' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I hadn't read Novik's Uprooted yet, but this appears to be a stand-alone, though I think they take place in the same world. At least, I didn't get the sense I was missing out on anything. Spinning Silver is a very different take on Rumpelstiltskin, and there are ice elves. ICE ELVES.

The story is told in shifting POVs, mainly three women: the daughter of a moneylender who takes on her father's job, the plain daughter of an ambitious duke, and the daughter of a poor farmer who goes to work for the moneylender to pay off her father's debt. There are others, but those three are the heart of the story.

This is a slow burn. It took me a while to read the first half of the book, and I then read the last half in one sitting and didn't look up until it was over. I loved …

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Subjects

  • Fairy tales
  • Magic
  • Legends
  • Fantasy fiction
  • Mythology
  • Fiction