SPINNING SILVER - by Naomi Novik

SPINNING SILVER - Naomi Novik
Published: July 2018 - Macmillan.
Genres: Adult / fairytale retelling / fantasy
Pages: 466.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild sexual innuendo.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


I read this book with the lovely Di from Book Reviews By Di. As always, it was an awesome buddy-read and so wonderful to discuss with her. Go read her review HERE!


The first thing that struck me about this fairytale - even before I started reading - was the originality. I mean, it's a Rumplestiltskin retelling! And I love that! It's so unique and fresh, and I can honestly say that it was unlike anything I've ever read.
I also like Novik's writing. It's different, it does takes a while to get used to her phrasing, but there's a real classic poetry to her prose. She's extremely skilled.

The fantasy world Novik creates is probably the best thing about the novel. You plunge into the icy, darkly magical atmosphere from the first chapter, and coupled with striking, palpable imagery, it's immersive and breathtaking. I loved it.


I am not your subject or your servant, and if you want a cowering mouse for a wife, go find someone else who can turn silver to gold for you.”


But ultimately, the book fell flat. It came down to the characters' points of view and infuriating formatting that made distinguishing between those different points of view nearly impossible. The perspectives changed very few paragraphs, and the only thing to show the change was a paragraph break and a small spinning wheel graphic. I didn't even realise this was supposed to be the separator until about halfway through the story. Even after I knew, the characters voices were impossible to differentiate between because everyone sounded so. freaking. similar.  Literally identical. And point of views kept getting added! I think it was like 6 in total? It was muddled and confusing and it made enjoying the story almost impossible.

If the characters' personalities were vivid and their voices stronger, that would have saved the book.

There's also the plot. The twists are good and the subplots tie together nicely, but it's also overstuffed and when the characters are as they are, it makes everything else extremely muddled. I was bored because most of the time I had no clue what was going on (and yes, it is a slow story as well), and since I couldn't love the characters, I was indifferent. Overall, not a success :(




Spinning Silver is a unique and exquisitely written tale, rich with fairytale lore and stunning imagery. But I found it too slow, too boring, and the characters' point of views distractingly confusing.