Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver

Book - 2018
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"Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued"--
Publisher: New York :, Del Rey,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399180989
Branch Call Number: SF
Characteristics: 466 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

A great retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. A determined young woman takes over the family business of money lending, but is captured by an elven king when he hears that she can turn silver into gold. - Mary Green

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JCLJuliaV Mar 25, 2020

So much more than a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, this story weaves three classic fairy tales together with Jewish beliefs and Slavic myth into an intricate tapestry of fantastical glory! Miryem's father is a moneylender with a disposition so tender he hardly sets out to collect the debts that are owed. When this lack of resolve sends the family into debilitating poverty, Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Through shrewd bargaining and clever exchanges, Miryem soon wins her family's fortune back with interest... the unwanted interest of the cold, faye-like Staryk king, that is.
Irina is a seemingly unattractive, unassuming daughter of the duke of Lithvas. When Miryem unwittingly provides her with three magical items made of Staryk silver she is suddenly transformed in the eyes of her political suitors. Her glamourous beauty attracts the attentions of the bachelor tsar... who is secretly possessed by a powerful demon that only wishes to consume her and all of Lithvas. Irina must then use her wits and inherited Staryk power to protect herself and her people from this terrible threat.
Wanda is a poor peasant girl with two brothers that live under the abusive care of their drunken, beastly father. When Miryem offers her a chance to work off her father's debt in the Mandelstam home, she accepts in hopes of escape for herself and her brothers. When Miryem is taken by the Staryk king, Wanda's loyalty and skills prove vital in protecting Miryem's family.
Again... SO much more than a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. This is a masterpiece of fantasy!

ArapahoeJohanna Feb 14, 2020

Absolutely fantastic book! This is one of my favorite retold fairy tales I've come across in a while. It borrows elements from familiar stories like Rumpelstiltskin and the tale of Persephone, but Novik also creates new mythology that feels fresh and familiar at the same time. She weaves a complex and thrilling tale about magic, power, politics, and family against the backdrop of an unmistakably Eastern European setting.

The book follows three women struggling to find safety, financial security, and freedom in a society that views them as little more than potential wives and mothers, in a kingdom besieged by ever-expanding winters. Though the setting is fantastical and the country fictional, the tale feels grounded in history; the cultures, beliefs, and experiences of the characters ring true. In particular, this is one of the best portrayals of Judaism I’ve seen in fantasy. The women at the center of this book are wonderfully complex and diverse, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, trials, and goals. I found myself rooting for all three of them, even when their interests were at odds with each other. This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you put it down!

Jan 22, 2020

The book had so much promise. It built on a rich tapestry of myth, has a fantastic Jewish main character with good character development, but it fizzled out. Too many characters spread the story too thin. Two characters I'm not even sure why I was supposed to follow their story since they had little to do with the story in the end or along the way. The book could have used a ruthless editor to help separate what could have been a fantastic story from the noise.

CCPL_Laura Jan 11, 2020

At its core, this fantasy is more than an Eastern European spin on “Rumpelstiltskin.” It also has the beating heart of Jewish history and culture. There is a pulsing ache of despair coupled with the determined urgency to find hope threaded throughout. The characters, most especially Miryem, will do whatever it takes to save family, friends, and loved ones, and to find that sense of peace, hope, and joy at the end of this long tunnel of desperation and doubt. To see it played out like this — and how the consequences of one character’s actions impact a whole country, an entire kingdom — was an adventure in and of itself. Fans of Novik's previous Eastern Europe lore, Uprooted, will fall for this story, and readers of Juliet Marillier and Jacqueline Carey's fantasies will enjoy the lush and detailed cultural tale.

VaughanPLShelly Dec 11, 2019

You've probably heard of Novik's UPROOTED and this book is honestly just as good. If you like fantasy books with interesting world-building, beautiful writing and compelling characters, this book is for you.

Nov 19, 2019

I really enjoyed this fairytale. A nice mixture of drama, mystery, romance and magic.
I found intresting the different veiw pionts of the story that lead to it's epic climax, fitting together perfectly with a wonderful ending to top it all off.
Bravo to the author!

Oct 16, 2019

This was a wonderful, magical world to get caught up in. I loved it.

Jul 15, 2019

Loved the twists and turns that the author weaves throughout the entire book. Favorite quote is from page 404, "But the world I wanted wasn't the world I lived in, and if I would do nothing until I could repair every terrible thing at once, I would do nothing forever." What am I willing to risk to make one small repair to my world? Thank you, Rochelle, for recommending this book.

IndyPL_AngieL Jun 27, 2019

“Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik is a story inspired by Rumpelstiltskin, but there are many elements too from Eastern European folklore and magic. The book centers around Miryem, the daughter of an unpopular and unsuccessful “moneylender” who is too kind to press people to pay what they owe to him and his family. When Miryem of necessity takes over her father’s role and people begin paying what they owe, she now becomes the target of the townsmen’s mutterings and anger. Pretty soon Miryem attracts a more sinister element—the Staryk, who are violent and magical forest men/creatures. The Staryk somehow hear of the girl’s boast that she can turn silver into gold, and thus begins her bedevilment. Told in quite a few untitled voices, the book can be somewhat confusing at first. Other than that, I was completely immersed in the story!

Jun 20, 2019

I loved this book almost as much as I loved Uprooted, very good storyline, more characters, lots of magic and two strong young women as protagonists. It also has a twist ending that I was expecting, this book keeps yo guessing just when I thought I had it figured out something changed my entire theory about the end. I highly suggest this book as well as Uprooted.

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