Every blurb mentions how Spinning Silver is inspired by Rumpelstiltskin but frankly that’s an awful comparison and not one I would use to entice you to read this book, so forget about it right away. This is NOT a fairytale retelling.
Spinning Silver is told from the perspectives of a few characters, but the main ones are three young heroines who display an admirable level of bravery and wisdom, unmatched by anyone else in their surroundings. Naomi Novik is a great writer and it’s interesting how she switches perspectives without outright naming the character (like in Game of Thrones), but you still know exactly who is talking at the time.
Miryem, the main (and most entertaining) character, is quite cunning and naturally (magically?) skilled in producing and multiplying her family’s wealth. Almost like she can SPIN. SILVER. out of thin air. She goes through the world making advantageous exchanges for the utmost profit, and is someone whose language you have to pay close attention to. She will find the loopholes in everything and her ability to solve problems through smart wordplay instead of through violence or intrigue is a refreshing skill to see in fantasy.
Miryem’s home is surrounded by magical woods populated by cold oppressive creatures known as the Staryk, who terrorize and starve the humans through never-ending winters. Miryem’s money-multiplying ability quickly catches the Staryk’s attention, and that’s when this book becomes super interesting.
While I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down for about 4/5ths of it, somewhere near the end I lost interest because the perspectives of the characters switch too often, and as a result, the chronological order is briefly derailed. We lose track of Miryem for longer than I would’ve liked, but in the end it’s all worth it.
I would recommend this to: people who want intelligent fantasy that isn’t awfully jargony, readers looking for a nice, thick standalone book to last them many nights, people who don’t mind stories told from the perspectives of multiple characters, and fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.