2018 · ARC · Long post · Review

Review time: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I loved Uprooted so much that I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this on NetGalley. And when my request got excepted I was over the moon with happiness and excitement.


This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.

Spinning Silver

by Naomi Novik


Synopsis by NetGalley


Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village.

Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord.

Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar – he will pay any price to achieve this goal. However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. 

Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love.

In this fairy tale-inspired novel, Naomi Novik weaves a rich, multi-layered tapestry that is a joy to read. 

My Opinion

4.5 stars


Three heroines

Opposites demonology

Shap edges become soft edges


The story is a multi-perspective story following mainly three females plus their families as they battle for their future and independence with only their intelligence and courage against magical forces.

I really enjoyed it and I’m quite relieved about that. My first Naomi Novik book was Uprooted last year and if was one of my favourite book of the year. Then I tried her middle-grade series of Temeraire and I was not a fan. Didn’t like the writing at all. So going into Spinning Silver I was hoping it would be more like Uprooted but I still carried with me then nerves of it being more like Temeraire. It was like Uprooted.


The Story: 

As mentioned, the story centred around three main female characters and their sudden changes in their life. Two gets married off, while one character finds herself on the run. apart from the characters trying to save their own futures and the future of others, the storyline is very focused on borrowing money. Miryem and her family are moneylenders and so is her grandfather. She is very focused on settling debts and makes it fair for all. All her family scenes are either centred around money and money lending, or something religious. Her entire family is Jewish and there are several occasions where the religion directs the storyline. This is the second book I’ve read where the main religion is Jewish (and not set in WW2) and I don’t know much about it so it’s very interesting.

In the first 100 or so pages, I did not feel the fear Miryem feels towards the Staryk which I feel is a shame. I would love to be more on the level of the protagonist but I don’t think there was enough text for me to get to that level. I did, however, feel very intrigued and it peaked my interest. Just wanted to know more.

As it moved along though, I completely forgot to take notes cause I was into it so much 😂

The entire story is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin though I havent read it so I don’t know who much there actually is in here.

World building

This world is small but rich. They start off in a small poor village in which two of the characters are from. There are stories told of other winter beasts which starts the aspect of the winter world. It’s, in general, a very cold story (temperature wise) and I’m very glad I read this during summer cause I was getting cold.

The world builds as other towns are introduced and the winter world is introduced. I very much enjoyed the method of how they move from the sunlit world to the winter world. Such a great idea.

I feel the amount of world-building in here was sufficient though I would have liked to know more about where Chernobog comes from and what the southlands are like.

Magic system

The magic system here is not fully explored, but enough information is given to understand only a few has magic, and some can give magical abilities to other for a price.

I did not see or get the feel of there being a limit in their magic of any kind. Their magic felt endless but an inexperienced user gets tired and drained when using too much.

Magic is very much a show of power of the beholder.

The Characters:  

Miryem, I would say is the main main character as we start of following her and end following her, and her story is the main story. I really liked her. She is smart and business minded. She is strongminded and doesn’t have many feeling that gets in the way of her decisions. I really liked her!

Wanda is the poorest of the characters and comes from a house with domestic abuse. She is the oldest of her siblings and takes care of her two younger brothers. In the beginning, she is not very attached to them. Throughout the book, her relationship between her and her brothers changes completely. She takes charge of her family and get them through their bad situation. She works for Miryam to pay off her fathers debt, but eventually for her own gain. I loved the fact she refers to reading and doing maths as magic! So sweet and really put into perspective who little she knows and how bad her life has been.

Irina is the Duke’s unimportant daughter. She has some traces of magic in her blood and therefore (somehow) ends up in a “high place” situation which turns out not to be exactly what she expected. Her planning skills really kick in as she tries to figure a way out. She and Miryam join together to get out of their difficult situations but also to help nations.


There is some LGBT+ in this book. Its very subtle and nothing is spelt out, which is the way I like it and think is the way it should be. There is a character who’s thoughts about the same-sex becomes quite queer 😉 But romance is not a big part of the plot so it’s not a big deal.


There is a little bit of romance in this story but it’s not the main plot and you don’t really see it before it happens. It totally took me by surprise and I loved it! ❤️


I had an ACR copy and the writing might have changed a bit.

I didn’t feel this was as strongly written as Uprooted, though it’s a while since I read Uprooted and could be mistaken.

There where minor stuff that annoyed me, but they were so small I can’t even pin them down. I just know there was something that felt off in a few sentences. It’s not a big deal, but it was there so I thought I would mention it.


Loved It!!

Highly recommend it!

Have you read this? What did you think?

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24 thoughts on “Review time: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

  1. Uprooted is still on my TBR, I don’t know why but I never quite seem to get around to it… Maybe it just got too much hype… I don’t know. This sounds good though, and I have been meaning to try Naomi Novik… Which do you think I should read first??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hm 🤔 any of them two really. They are both standalone books and very different. I would not advice you to start with His Majesty’s Dragons series. Definitely start with either Uprooted or Spinning Silver. If you prefer multiple perspectives read Spinning Silver first. If not read Uprooted 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! I think I’ll take your advice there. Multiple perspectives… sometimes good, but I’m wary – had a few terrible book experiences with them.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed Spinning Silver. 🙂

    I read it and enjoyed it as well. I liked it a little bit more than Uprooted, but mostly because romance part did not work for me in Uprooted and I was a bit annoyed with it. 😦 Uprooted is an excellent book and thinking about it more, I probably did prefer its single narrative to the multiple narratives from Spinning Silver. I also did not connect to those three supporting POVs at times.

    Great review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it too 😊
      I know what you mean about the romance, though I personally liked it not everyone else did.
      I preferred the single narrative too but Spinning Silver would only work with a multiple perspective. There is too much going on to not have it.
      Yeah there was a coldness throughout the book, not just in temperature but in the characters too which made that distance between character and reader. Or that’s how I saw it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is what I love about books. What works for one person may necessarily not work for another. And it somehow makes me really happy, that there is room for a wide range of books and topics for all of us to enjoy. 🙂

        And yes, that coldness was indeed felt and I really appreciated how atmospheric it was. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very true. I love reading other peoples review of books ive read to see if they saw something i didnt. It can totally change my opinion, but it very fascinating.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you loved it! I thought it was just ok. I really liked the ending and thought it was really clever but the beginning about killed it for me! I completely missed the LGBT+ part? Even thinking back I can’t think of that at all? Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for late reply the readathon took over my life 😂
      I glad you like the ending at least 😊 even though the beginning wasnt the best.
      The LGBT+ is very subtle. I dont want to spoil it for anyone else who might read this but its more the characters way of thinking about his wife and other males bodies. As I said its very subtle. Im referring this the character whose narration is featured around page 361 if needed. Does that help without spoiling anything?


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