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Spinning Silver by [Naomi Novik]
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Spinning Silver Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,919 ratings

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From the Author

Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of the Temeraire series and the Nebula-winning novel Uprooted, a fantasy influenced by the Polish fairy tales of her childhood. She is a founder of the Organization for Transformative Works and the Archive of Our Own. She lives in New York City with her family and six computers. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Review

A book as cool and mysterious as a winter’s night, with two marvelous heroines at its heart. Spinning Silver pits the cold of endless winter against the fires of duty, love and sacrifice. I couldn’t put it down -- Katherine Arden

Dauntless women, cruel lords and wayward fairies come together in a beautifully realised world. Brimming over with fairy-tale magic, SPINNING SILVER proves Naomi Novik to be a master fantasist at the top of her game -- Zen Cho

Lovely, intricate and strong. A gorgeous read. The sort of book one reads again and again -- Genevieve Cogman

Enchanting, in every sense of that fine old word. A charming and inviting story that looks unflinchingly at the strangling roots of hurt and revenge -- Robin Hobb on Uprooted

I didn't know how much I wanted to read a book like this until it was already in my hands. Uprooted has everything I love about Novik's writing style, with the added bonus of some old world magic and the flavor of a dark faerie story -- Patrick Rothfuss on Uprooted

The magic in Uprooted, with its realistic moral dimension, is so vividly believable that it almost seems you could work the spells. But the book will do that for you -- Ursula K. Le Guin on Uprooted

Uprooted has everything I love: a great heroine, new takes on old myths and legends, and surprising twists and turns. A delight -- Cassandra Clare on Uprooted

This gorgeous, complex, and magical novel...rises well above a mere modern re-imagining of classic tales…Novik probes the edges between the everyday and the extraordinary, balancing moods of wonder and of inevitability. Her work inspires deep musings about love, wealth, and commitment, and embodies the best of the timeless fairy-tale aesthetic…This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever -- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

A remarkable achievement... Confirms a huge step forward for Novik -- SFX Magazine, 5 Stars

Novik outdoes herself in Spinning Silver... A fairy tale in the most epic of ways, but one with a strong, proud and beautiful heart at the centre of it -- The Bookbag, 5 Stars

Novik has created something that deserves to be a sure fire hit - a tale that's ancient, contemporary, traditional and yet forward thinking -- The Bookbag, 5 Stars --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07BZG932T
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Macmillan (10 July 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 744 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 394 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,919 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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2,919 global ratings
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Top reviews from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 26 August 2018
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Reviewed in Australia on 1 September 2018
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Reviewed in Australia on 7 August 2018
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Reviewed in Australia on 14 August 2018
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Reviewed in Australia on 18 September 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

sjhigbee
5.0 out of 5 stars Retelling with a complex plot
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 December 2018
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21 people found this helpful
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B. Douglas
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, magical tale, and a thought-provoking meditation on paying what is owed.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2018
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16 people found this helpful
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Caroline Sundberg
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly written, enthralling piece of fantasy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2018
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6 people found this helpful
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ClareR
5.0 out of 5 stars Take my money! If Novik’s name is on it, I’ll read it!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 August 2018
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6 people found this helpful
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Chrikaru
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, atmospheric and with plenty of girlpower!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, atmospheric and with plenty of girlpower!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2019
The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard.

The real story is, the miller’s daughter with her long golden hair wants to catch a lord, a prince, a rich man’s son, so she goes to the moneylender and borrows for a ring and a necklace and decks herself out for the festival. And she’s beautiful enough, so the lord, the prince, the rich man’s son notices her, and dances with her, and tumbles her in a quiet hayloft when the dancing is over, and afterwards he goes home and marries the rich woman his family has picked out for him.

Then the miller’s despoiled daughter tells everyone that the moneylender’s in league with the devil, and the village runs him out or maybe even stones him, so at least she gets to keep the jewels for a dowry, and the blacksmith marries her before that firstborn child comes along a little early.

Because that’s what the story’s really about: getting out of paying your debts. That’s not how they tell it, but I knew. My father was a moneylender, you see.

He wasn’t very good at it.

First impressions: I wanted to read this straightaway because I loved Uprooted. I am a massive fan of reimagined or ‘fractured’ fairytales so I have been very fond of the fashion for retellings over the last few years.

I liked how Uprooted drew on folklore and fairytales. Recently, I have also been reading some Russian fairytales and some books based around them (The Bear and the Nightingale, The House with Chicken Legs etc) so I was excited to see that Spinning Silver drew on these, as well as the fact that it sounded like it was using Rumplestiltskin, not one of the more commonly recycled fairytales.

Also, look at the beautiful cover!

I still regret not getting a hardback of Uprooted as I was out of the country when it came out so I have just bought a copy of Spinning Silver in hardback to make sure I don’t miss out on it too!

I loved following Miryem on her journey, from being the granddaughter of a very good moneylender and the daughter of a very poor one, to taking matters into her own hands and turning difficulty into prosperity. The introduction of the Staryk raised the stakes even further, with a careless boast leading to all sorts of problems for her. Just like in the old fairytales, which are often darker than the Disney-ified version that is most popular, the supernatural forces that she tangles with are capricious and could be deadly.

We are then introduced to Wanda, an ordinary girl who suffers at the hands of a drunken father and wants to protect her brothers. When she catches wind of her father selling her off as a bride, she takes her fate into her won hands and it becomes entangled with Miryem’s. Finally we meet the third of our female protagonists, Irina, the rather-plan daughter of a lord who is able to catch the eye of the tsar himself thanks to the power of enchanted silver jewellery. Yet, the tsar is home to something far more powerful and malevolent than she could ever have imagined…

The threads of the narrative wind tighter and tighter, finally bringing these three women together in a scenario where each of their strength and determination helps them to decide their own path. These are powerful women, without wielding a weapon, flawed, real and gripping.

I loved all the little snippets of folklore and fairytales in each of the three narratives, the little nods towards a shared narrative history, yet with elements from history and a distinctly modern outlook.

If you liked Uprooted, you will love this. And, if you haven’t read either yet, what are you waiting for?

Spinning Silver will enthrall you from the first sentence, drawing you tighter into the story with every twist. Even if you’re reading it on a hot summer day, be prepared to feel the shiver of an icy wind…
Enthralling, atmospheric and with plenty of girlpower, this is a re-imagined fairytale like no other!

My mother’s face was full of misery. We didn’t speak.

Would you rather we were sill poor and hungry?”

I burst out to her finally, the silence between us heavy in the midst of the dark woods, and she put her arms around me and kissed me and said, “My darling, my darling, I’m sorry,” weeping a little.

“Sorry?” I said. “To be warm instead of cold? To be rich and comfortable? To have a daughter who can turn silver into gold?”

I pushed away from her.

“To see you harden yourself to ice, to make it so,” she said.

The horses trotted on more swiftly, but the Staryk road kept pace with us all the way home, shining between the trees. I could feel it on my side, a shimmer of colder wind trying to press against me and pierce through to my skin, but I didn’t care.

I was colder inside than out.

What I liked: I liked how the story was based on Russian folklore, the way several stories are melded together, the real-life aspects of anti-semitism which added an extra depth, the character development, particularly as the ‘baddies’ generally turn out to be more nuanced. I loved the central figures of each story being female, as well as the fact that they all changed their destinies through brains and hard work – you don’t have to have a sword to be kick-ass!

Even better if: Can I have Naomi Novik’s next book already?

How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a great book for older secondary pupils or at college/ university when looking at comparative literature and how all of the original threads from folklore, fairytale and history have been woven together to create a multi-faceted, rich story. I would also love to look at how he familiarity of fairytales affects our experience with this story e.g. the tree who contains the spirit of Wanda’s mother and the nut (like Cinderella) and the ‘witch’s house’ where certain tasks must be completed in return for hospitality, etc.
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