I’m the first to admit I’m not a big fantasy reader–but I know it comes from commitment issues, so finding a standalone fantasy was intriguing! Plus, I’ve heard great things and I want to gear up to read Naomi Novik’s new book Deadly Education–out September–so I picked Spinning Silver as my BOTM add-on awhile back. I really ended up enjoying it! It was very literary, very historical-fiction-esque, and the fantasy was very “understandable” so four stars all around!
Miryem is the daughter of moneylenders in a fictional, historical European town. When her mother falls sick and is near death, Miryem decides to step up and take over her father’s business–finally getting back all the money they are owed and turning their fortunes around. But she brags too much and soon a Staryk is on her door, demanding she turn silver into gold for him. Then there’s Wanda, a local village girl who comes to work for Miryem to helps pay off her drunkard father’s debt. There’s also Wanda’s brothers, Stepon and Sergey, who become entangled with Miryem’s family. And far away but also very close, there’s Irina, the daughter of a duke who finds herself betrothed to the tsar who has a monster secret that he’s hiding. When Miryem ends up in the Staryk kingdom, she and Irina come together with a plan to get rid of the men that torment them, but they may find more than they bargained for along the way. There’s a lot of low-level magic thrumming through this book that the surges when there’s a literal demon to contend with, but even as a non-fantasy reader, I enjoyed this!
My biggest complaint for this book has to be the use of multi POVs within the same chapter using the same first person narration without any labeling. It took me too long to re-orient myself each time, and I don’t think we would have LOST anything by having the names or a unique symbol for each person or something right? I liked all the characters well-enough, it was just frustrating to keep losing track of who was talking in each section.
Overall, I liked this book and am excited to see what Novik does in Deadly Education this fall!