Review: Spinning Silver

Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Fantasy

It’s hard to describe the thing I liked most about Spinning Silver. The best I can do is say that Naomi Novik set out to make a brand new, novel length fairytale (think old-school, not Disney) and she absolutely nailed it. It’s the kind of story I could imagine an old woman telling her village over the course of a winter’s night. Nothing about it is derivative though; it’s brand new and familiar at the same time.

Technically speaking, this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. The prose is solid, if somewhat plain. The characters are interesting and dynamic. The consistency of the pacing was so impressive that I kept being surprised that I wasn’t feeling either bored or rushed (especially coming right on the heels of Broken Earth).

Spinning Silver is as close to perfect at what it’s trying to do as I think is possible, but there are other flavors I like better. Still, even if I hated fairytales it would be hard not to admire the craftsmanship that went into this book.

If you’ve already read Spinning Silver and liked it, she wrote a somewhat similar book called Uprooted, which is cool conceptually but has a weak second half and a few tropes I don’t like. Somehow the setting feels more alive though, and it features a great antagonist. It’s decent, but I think I’d recommend “The Bear and the Nightingale” if you want more Russian Fairytales.

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