By: Naomi Novik
Standalone | 480 pgs | 2018
Spinning Silver at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★ 1/2
- Heroine: Dismantling the patriarchy like a BO$$
- Dude: Fire & Ice is a terrible drink and these were terrible men
- Steaminess: The world was frozen and so were our hearts
- Brutality: Reading the phrase “dead babies” over and over again hurts
Pairs Well With
Fire and Ice
- 1 oz Rumplemintz
- 1 oz Fireball
We loved Uprooted and couldn’t wait to get our hands on Spinning Silver. There’s no denying that Naomi Novik is a master of words and spins fairy tales in complex and charming ways. But if you’re reading Spinning Silver expecting another Uprooted experience you’ll be disappointed. This book is… dense. It explores themes such as anti-semitism and domestic abuse. The plot does not focus on the love story but on the journey of 3 young women as they navigate the wicked world of men. We loved the words, but found the plot less engaging than Novik’s previous works and other retellings.
What We Liked
The Worldbuilding – Novik’s ultimate strength is her ability to build a stunning world. She weaves together fairy tales, folklore, religion and politics into a beautiful novel that even if you don’t like the plot you can enjoy. I want to travel in a sled down the Staryk road immediately and I could perfectly picture the mountain and waterfall in Staryk and the town of Vynsia.
Themes of Love – We loved the different types of love present in this novel and how Novik demonstrates that unconditional familial love doesn’t always mean come from blood relations. Unconditional love can come from a nursemaid, adoptive parents, and loyal friends who will love you regardless of circumstances and choices. The love and friendships in this book were adorable to experience.
Exploring Anti-Semitism – I feel as though I learned more about Judaism through this novel than I have known my whole life. The customs were well-represented alongside the discrimination. Myriam’s family was oppressed and even secluded to the “Jewish” part of town. Moneylenders were “the jews.” It was eye-opening to see this represented in a fairy tale and extremely well done on Novik’s part.
Strong Female Characters – We loved the 3 different female characters in this book and their empowering journeys. They each displayed a different kind of strength and we enjoyed characters that didn’t necessarily have physical prowess but saved their world by channeling their righteous anger into wit and determination. We loved experiencing different types of “strong” female characters.
What We Disliked
Points of View – There were six narrators in this story which is fine on its own as each narrator had a fairly distinct voice. The problem was that they switched often and there was no indication of who was speaking. I found myself having to get through three or four sentences (sometimes half a page) before I knew which character was speaking. This threw off the flow and made it difficult to get into the story. And while Stepon’s voice was written in a childlike mindset, it became annoying after a while to read the short sentences.
The Plot and Pacing – While we appreciate the good parts of this book our ultimate feelings on Spinning Silver is that it was a bit…. Boring. The pacing was S L O W and we would’ve enjoyed a bit more action. The descriptions were beautiful, but we got more backstory than we needed and somethings were repetitive. We would review the same scene through two or three characters perspectives, which made it nice to see, but ended up making things longer than they needed to be.
BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD
That they ended up with the assholes! – The thing that really brought this book down was the ending. We spent over 400 pages with these strong, beautiful, empowered women. They rescued themselves and each other from oppressive men and found their happiness. But then they turned back and got back together with the guys in the end! Yes, the tsar was no longer possessed, but we know nothing about who he really is. And the Staryk lord… That is the worst stockholm syndrome we have ever seen. This really ruined all of the happiness we had.
Have you read Spinning Silver? Let us know what you thought in the comments!