“You were challenged beyond the bounds of what could be done, and found a path to make it true.”
Uprooted is perfection.
I know it is wrong to force your beliefs upon others, but this is one belief I will happily shove down everyones throats.
So when I heard about Spinning Silver I was beside myself. And then when I was sent a copy from Pan Macmillan I made a sound not too dissimilar to a screaming goat.
I was over the moon, and immediately ditched the book I was reading (sorry Sabaa Tahir, I will pick you up again right away) so I could get stuck into this bad boy.
At 480 pages this was a thick little lady, and it took me a good few weeks to get through it. This is also because I’ve been on tour with little to no down time. But even so, I think this book would have still taken me a little while to finish.
It is a lot denser than Uprooted, that is for sure. There are more Points of View, a very intricate plot, and an awful lot of character information. This read was a marathon.
~Please bear in mind that I was sent a proof copy to read, and therefore don’t know how much has been changed in the final edit.~
Spinning Silver is an extremely loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. In fact I wouldn’t even say it was a retelling, it feels much more as though it takes inspiration from this classic fairytale as there are only a few elements that match up.
As expected, Naomi weaves together an intricate story with confidence and competence. And like Uprooted, it is hard to predict which way the story will go. I find this a nice change from some reads in which it is very easy to predict what will ultimately happen.
One major thing about this book that bothered me however were the myriad of different Points of view. I counted six different POV’s throughout this story, and some of them didn’t materialise until quite late in the book, which led to me being a little confused at times. Again, I don’t know if this has changed in the final copy of the book, but I would have liked for there to be a little header at the beginning of each POV change just to help me keep track.
For all my complaining about too many points of view, I shall now complain about one point of view we didn’t get but that I wanted SO BAD. That of the Staryk King. I may have mentioned this once or twice or twenty times before but Anti-Heroes are my favourite. We never got to see inside his head. I would have gladly traded several of the other POV’s for a glimpse inside that icy brain of his.
At times I did find some of the writing a little repetitive, and a lot of events and feelings were spelt out a little too obviously for me. A few of the characters liked to talk about their feelings a little too much, stretching their internal monologue on for five sentences when two would have done just fine.
One of the elements I loved so much from Uprooted was the romance. And I found it a shame that the romance wasn’t played up as much as I would have liked. In fact it wasn’t played on much at all – which I know some people prefer. But if you are a fan of ‘slow burning’ romance like me then you may find this element of the book slightly disappointing.
So far it sounds as though I was pretty underwhelmed with this story. Perhaps I was. But only in comparison to Uprooted. If I put those feelings aside for a second I can appreciate that this is an extremely well written novel, with plenty of adventure and lots of twists and turns along the way.
An element to this book I found to be fascinating and extremely important was the highlighting of Antisemitism towards the Jewish families in this book. It is a topic that is often brushed over and forgotten about in todays society, and as a Secular Jew I appreciated Naomi bringing this subject into play.
Overall I did enjoy Spinning Silver, and although a little dense at times – the complexity of the plot and characters was intricately woven together before a stunning Russian winter backdrop. I would recommend Spinning Silver to anyone who enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale.
I cannot wait to see which Fairytale Naomi Novik picks for her next novel.
I rate Spinning Silver 4/5 Stars