Review: Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We've been asking for more diverse SF & Fantasy and Naomi Novik has brought us a fabulous tale with three strong women protagonists, set in a fantasy Russia that's far different than the traditional European settings of earlier fantasies.

Miryem is a Jewish moneylender's daughter, but when her gentle father can't collect on the money owed him she sets out to force the people in her village to pay her, in produce and chickens if not in silver. However, she becomes so successful that she gains a reputation for spinning silver into gold...and that attracts the eye of the otherworldly Staryk, who crave gold.

Wanda is the peasant girl with an abusive father and a hardscrabble life who goes to work for Miryem's family to pay her family's debts, and finds it may hold the key to her own survival and that of her brothers.

Irina is a duke's daughter with the blood of the fey Staryk in her veins, but no expectations of a HEA. However, when presented with a ring of Staryk silver, Irina's life begins to take on new shape as her fey blood calls to her across the lines dividing the Staryk kingdom from the human one.

The three women will come together because of silver and magic, and a winter that never ends, in this spin on the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, demon lovers, and the all-too-real history of Jews and pogroms in Eastern Europe. One of the best fantasy novels I've read this year, and I look forward to more of this award-winning author's work.

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