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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the best-selling author of Uprooted.

"One of the year's strongest fantasy novels." (NPR)

"A perfect tale...with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin." (The New York Times Book Review)

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss. 

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk - grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh - Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. 

Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar. But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love. 

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

Praise for Spinning Silver"

"A book as cool and mysterious as a winter's night, with two marvelous heroines at its heart, Spinning Silver pits the cold of endless winter against the fires of duty, love, and sacrifice. I couldn't put it down." (Katherine Arden, New York Times best-selling author of The Bear and the Nightingale)

©2018 Naomi Novik (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Novik updates the story of Rumpelstiltskin with a wildly original fantasy tale that has all the markings of a future classic.... Lisa Flanagan's steady narration, especially her accents and inflections, elevate the story wonderfully.... Novik's story would stand on its own, but Flanagan's fantastic narration makes it even better." (AudioFile)

"A perfect tale... This book is about the determination and quiet competence of women doing remarkable things without knowing first that they can do them.... A big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Gorgeous, complex, and magical... This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Tatiana
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • 07-12-18

Dark and Magical

This was darker than Uprooted, but equally excellent. The somber tone was perhaps because of the narrator, who had a faint, Eastern European tone of worldliness and disillusionment. She was absolutely excellent, and perfectly matched to the tone of the story.

The imagery is a feast for the senses . . . dark forests, villages full of harsh realities and secrets, and forbidden carriage roads 'gleaming like the top of the river in winter when the snow had blown clear.' Strange tracks in the snow outside the house, oddly shaped and made by a creature not known to man, and footprints leading up to a window . . . these are just a few hints of things you will find on your journey into this world.

Every word is captivating. Every paragraph leaves you wanting to know what comes next. And all the while, you are living this fairy tale.

Truly, the experience of this book was magnificent. It is exactly, exactly what I hoped for from Novik.

34 of 42 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Her best! For me, anyway.

If your thing is lots of bashing and banging and soldiers and such, or regency style romance, this may not be for you. But if you like tales of good and evil where good prevails, but not in any simplistic way, and characters grow and develop, and things come right in the end, you just might love it as much as I did. Love is crucial, though not romantic love alone. Love and courage and the determination not to give in to greed or fear or even one’s own rage.
The narrator would get five stars from me for her demon voice alone, but she also reads clearly and with meaning, with just a hint of an appropriate accent and just enough differentiation between characters that you follow within a sentence when the author switches between narrative POV. But seriously best demon voice ever.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing! Ordinary women who are extrodinary

This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart.

I have enjoyed all my listens to this author's work.  I'm more than halfway through the Temeraire series.  Uprooted is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks.  So I was very excited for Spinning Silver.  It did not disappoint.

Russian fairy tales set in a historic fantasy world are not pleasant places for women.  They have no rights, no choices. They are the property of men: their fathers, their husbands or their church.  They are told who to marry or sent to convents. If they marry, they become brood mares and servants unless their new husband is wealthy enough to have servants.

This type of setting generally makes me spitting mad. BUT, in this story, we have the tale of at least three main females, from all walks of life, who survive and overcome what life hands them. Wanda is the daughter of a drunk, whose mother has died. She doesn't have enough to eat, works hard and gets beaten when he is drunk.  Miryem is the daughter of a moneylender, who is good at lending all their money but not collecting. So she is also hungry but has a home with a loving family.  Irina, is the loved daughter of a Duke, whose mother has died.  She is isolated with the new stepmother being the focus, but she has wealth enough to live comfortably.

There are many points of view in this story. The three main females primarily, but also Wanda's little brother and Irina's old servant. There are plenty of men who have a limited view of women but they learn. These women are strong, smart and so capable. That's not to say it is easy. It is VERY hard. I love this kind of story with a strength of spirit where the characters learn and grow and fight to achieve their goals. While the men do so for power and wealth, the women do so to feed, nurture and protect those they love.

Narration:
Lisa Flanagan did a very fine performance with all the voices. Both her male and female voices were good. It was especially important to have some differentiation in the three main females as then one can tell who is in this section of the story. The pacing was comfortable at 1.25 speed. Best of all, this was such an enjoyable presentation.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Listen. Was there romance?

I found out about a week before it's release that this book was coming out, and I was incredibly excited that there was going to be a Rumple spin. That being said, it was more of a nod than a spin, which did not bother me at all. It took me about a week to finish this book. It is well worth it's value in both story and length. I did find myself comparing it to Uprooted, and just as in Uprooted I found parts reminded me of Beauty and the Beast as well as Howl's Moving Castle. What surprised me also was that I found that one of the heavier plot points reminded me of a particular greek myth (I don't want to specify and unintentionally spoil). Personally, I love all of the nods to other stories, myths, and folklore. While I don't think this book was AS inspired by magic as Uprooted, it really brought into question what is magic? There was a lot of fantasy influence, and despite it to me not being as magical, it was still pretty darned magical.

Was there romance? Nearly every book I read or listen to is from the romance genre, so as I was listening to this I of course I wanted there to be romance. So much so that after a couple hours of listening I nearly skipped to the end to find out (but I didn't!). I know this book isn't considered a romance, which is why I don't fault it for not having the romance that I want. In Uprooted, I considered even that a very small slice of romance. In this book, although there is a very, very subtle hint at romance, just based on the amount of that subtleness I would say that if you are hoping for romance in this book...then stop hoping. However, if you are an imaginative hopeless romantic, I would say that this book leaves roots for romance. Imagine away.

The other part of this book which I found interesting was the antisemitism. All I really know about what Jewish life was like was what I learned in high school. I actually found this plot point to be rather educational. It really goes into the segregation and hostility of people that are different, or maybe more accurately in this story towards the minority.

Finally, the narrator. This book was read in a "Jewish accent." Lisa Flanagan's voice is incredibly soothing from some of the POV's. She was a great reader for this book. The strong characters sounded strong, the older characters sounded tired, the maternal characters sound...maternal, etc. Which leads to my only very small grievance with this book: the POV's. It had nothing to do with the reader. There were simply a lot of different POV's in this book, and many of them were female, so sometimes when it went from one POV right to another, I wasn't sure which character was speaking until I listened to what they were saying. I caught on pretty quickly. I was the most confused in the beginning because I didn't realize that it was going to be that way, but once I knew there was going to be more than one POV it was easier to follow. I have read that in the book the POV's are separated by symbols before each one, but of course listening to it we don't get the symbols, so my advice would be to pay attention. I found I couldn't listen to this book when I kept getting interrupted because I would often miss something and have to go back.

In conclusion to this unintentionally long review, this book had it all (according to it's genre) for me. It kept me captivated, had me wanting to know what happened next, and had me emotionally invested in characters. I can't wait to see what comes next.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Magical Journey

I love a good tale at the end of a stressful day. "Spinning Silver" fits the bill. A descriptive, well written story that is told in the first person by several protagonists, it is hard to put down once begun. The characters are believable and complex, the world is magical and well contained.
The narrator was exceptional. Her cadence and inflections second to none. It was easy to know who was talking just by the tone of her voice.
Those who enjoy a magical tale with no vulgarity or politically correct agendas will most probably enjoy "Spinning Silver."


4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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awesome fairy tale!!!

you will not be sorry to listen to this book. finished it in 2 days!

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A bit hard to follow shifts in perspective

I adored the story, but I did have to go back and listen to sections a few times before I caught where the narrative changed between characters. Beyond that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing.

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Engrossing, and excellent characters!

Several compelling characters! Three very different women who are strong and intelligent in three very different ways. Lots of themes of oppression and women being thrown into marriages they did not consent to. I highly recommend it!

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Wonderful

This is one of the few books I’ve listened to on audio book that I sincerely liked the narrator’s rendition of. She did a fantastic job giving each character a distinct feel. It was a little difficult to keep up with at first because it’s switching from first person to first person and I listen at work where sometimes I’m not keeping my full attention on listening to my book, but whenever I started listening again I was able to realize, through the narrators talent, if it was a new character or not.

The story is dark and I loved it. The author did a fantastic job wrapping up everything and giving a good, satisfying ending which can be difficult to do with fantasy and retellings. The story is great!

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I loved it!

Initially, I was thrown off because the book is written from the first-person points of view of 6 different people, but Naomi Novik does an amazing job in writing it, and Lisa Flanagan does an amazing job reading it.