Review: SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik (2018)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2018
Source: Library audiobook

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning for physical abuse and descriptions of antisemitism

Part Rumpelstiltskin, part Persephone and Hades, all Eastern Europe fantasy with its world-building, characterizations, and societies, Spinning Silver is an enchantment from start to finish. We have Miryem who takes her family’s money-lending business from her father, Wanda her assistant, dukes’s daughter Irina, and the cursed prince Minatius.

The way Novik nimbly balances so many POVs throughout needs to be witnessed. Each one had enough voice and their own unique motifs and struggles to be distinct, but all worked together towards a common goal which doesn’t become salient until past the book’s middle. Otherwise, we are fully steeped in their interconnected, but separate struggles, and I found myself interested in how it all comes together as much as I had been interested in the outcomes.

In addition, the world-building and placement is so specific. There are attitudes, biases, etc. that can only be placed in Eastern Europe. The cross-cultural misunderstandings between humans and other-worldly beings were also carefully crafted. Throughout, there necessarily wasn’t a “right” and a “wrong,” only difference and the morality stemmed from reactions to those differences. It was great to read a European fantasy from the perspective of Jewish characters that focused on joys and traditions, rather than oppression (though it isn’t ignored in the text).

If you love resilient female characters, fairy tales, and non-Christian fantasies, definitely pick up Spinning Silver.


May 2020 TBR

Shelter-in-place continues through May in Illinois. Halfway through this month, I’m going to slowly start making a plan regarding employment and read these fine reads in the mean time. Things with a * are from last month’s TBR.

Hard Copies

  • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
  • Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus*
  • The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco*
  • Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford (ARC)
  • Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke (ARC)*


  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (ARC)
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (ARC)
  • Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore*
  • The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer (ARC)*
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC)*
  • The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy (ARC)
  • The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (ARC)
  • The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore (ARC)
  • Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin*


  • Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer
  • Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

My own novel is still with alpha readers, so I’m returning the favor and also doing some beta reading this month.

Reading Recap: March 2019

Mar2019RR.pngMarch seemed to zip by. I went to Seattle for a bit, taking a proper vacation from both day job and from writing. It was nice and a much-needed break from the querying grind. But it left much time for some good reads, which I am pleased to share. Continue reading