Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver is a fairy tale retelling much like Uprooted; it’s loosely based off of Rumplestiltskin. The main character, Miryem, is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders. Her father isn’t very good at the job, so when her mother falls ill, Mireyem begins collecting the debts on her own. She’s very good at the job, but when she brags that she can turn silver into gold, a faerie king takes her up on her boast. If she can successfully turn his silver into gold three times, she will become his queen. Miryem doesn’t want this, but failing his challenge means death. So she succeeds and finds herself whisked away into his winter lands against her will.


Unlike Uprooted, the narrative of Spinning Silver is a bit all over the place, in large part because it changes point of view frequently. Along with Miryem, it follows about four other characters with some frequency, and randomly gives the point of view of another one for a small section of the book. Two of those characters are girls of about Miryem’s age, and I often found it hard to tell their sections apart until you were given some context because their voices weren’t very distinct.


Despite this, I really enjoyed Spinning Silver. The fractured story came together nicely in the end, and I loved reading about Miryem’s adventures. The worldbuilding was interesting, particularly Novik’s take on the faeries. Now that it’s over, I find myself once again looking forward to any future fairy tales retellings from Novik.

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