Magic, cold and silver: Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik

spinning silver bibliophile

Welcome to a strange land with long winters

Miryem is the sole daughter of a moneylender. But her father is too kind-hearted for his family’s good, and they are close to starvation. At the point when everything seems lost, Miryem will take reign of the family business, reclaiming everything that is owed to them by their debtors. Silver seems to flow freely in their home, now.  But her intelligence and business mindset will get too famous. It will soon reach the ears of the powerful and terrifyingly cruel magical creatures, the Staryks. And one day, the Lord of Staryks will come to meet her. He has two choices for her, one more dreadful than the other.

 

Irina, the daughter of a duke, has never had the freedom of choice in her life. When she is unceremoniously married off to the tsar, she realizes that her fate is much more dreadful than what she had imagined. A powerful fire demon is hidden inside the beautiful young monarch. Irina will have to make her own choices in order to save herself and the ones she loves.

Fate and choices will lead  these strong, intelligent women to meet. And when they do, they will have to work together in order to save what is dear to them.

Fairy tales beautifully retold

Spinning silver is a beautiful mixture of fairytale fragments, local myths, and wonderful narrative. Fire and snow intertwined, this is the story of opposites; good and evil in their centuries-old competition. But this time Naomi Novik teaches everyone an important lesson : not everything that seems cruel or bad is so, and sometimes our own prejudices distort the truth. Sometimes the evil lurking in the dark is much more harmless than the one hiding in our own home. And Novik manages to portray that flawlessly.

“But I had not known that I was strong enough to do any of those things until they were over and I had done them. I had to do the work first, not knowing.”

This is an intricate story, a puzzle whose pieces are held by multiple characters. Narrated by many different people, all key aspects of this plot, this fairy tale is filled with smart, heartbreaking, tender and sometimes even funny dialogue. Throughout the story the reader is subtly reminded about the weight of a person’s decisions, the sacrifices you have to make in order to protect the ones you love and the fact that every action is accompanied by its consequences.

 

Spinning Silver is one of those rare stories that leave the reader craving for more, even after 480 pages of reading. Utterly thrilling, enjoyable to no end, and with food for thought afterwards, this is a story that everyone must read at least once in their lives.