JUST FINISHED: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.
The daughter of a moneylender too kind to take back what he’s owed, Miryem takes it upon herself to restore her family’s fortunes, with prodigious success. But when a careless boast that she can turn silver to gold catches the attention of the Staryk king, she finds herself caught in a bargain that will either kill her, or take her from her home and her family forever.
This was such a brilliant, atmospheric read; a sinister, freezing world, and three great protagonists, each with their own compelling journeys and character arcs. Wanda – whose story was the most grounded of the three – was probably my favourite, but I loved both Miryem and Irina as well, and even the book’s two villains (the tsar and the Staryk king) turned out to be really interesting characters once we came to know them.
The book did suffer from having a few too many POV characters, though. There were the aforementioned three protagonists (Miryem, Wanda and Irina), whose separate perspectives made sense as they each had their own storylines, but three more (if I recall correctly) were added later on, and although I liked most of these chapters, none of them really offered anything that we couldn’t have been shown through the protagonists’ eyes – except perhaps the single (I think) chapter from Mirnatius’ perspective, the presence of which was its own kind of (mildly) baffling.
Additionally, none of the characters’ voices were particularly distinct, and I often had to read a bit into a scene before being able to tell whose perspective I was reading from; during one chapter in particular, I remember having to constantly go back and re-check small details in previous passages to remind myself that I was reading about Irina, not Miryem. This wasn’t much of a problem for most of the book, when the characters’ lives were very dissimilar, but became more of one as the three plotlines came together…
And as for the plot, it was occasionally confusing, and a little contrived towards the end, but ultimately very satisfying. It took quite a while for the story to really get started, too, but I can hardly complain about how much of the beginning was spent on building up the world and characters and atmosphere when they were my favourite things about this book! 😋
CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Done. 👍 I didn’t quite manage to make it to the end of my climb – the last book on my TBR was A Winter’s Promise – but I’m pretty pleased with how much I managed to read… and how good both books were! 😁 Spinning Silver was for the foiled cover and icy magic challenges (and would also be for the polar fantasy challenge, if tripling-up was allowed… but alas).
Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 808
Challenges Completed: 4/5