Warning: Depression Inducing
Naomi Novik did a cruel, cruel thing in Spinning Silver. She started a story, made said story more interesting with each and every chapter, and then ended the story. Just ended it. I would probably feel better if I felt like a sequel might be in the works but the ending just felt so final.
I enjoyed Spinning Silver so much that finishing it sent me into a mild book-induced depression. Watching the story play out gave me a manic high. The finality of the ending (though extremely satisfying) caused a drastic low. I just didn't want it to be over.
It took me a whole week to finally write this review and I had to take a few days off from fiction to give my next read a fighting chance.
The last book I read that was officially about feminism gave me a strong desire to burn it (review here). I went into Spinning Silver expecting dragons and sociopaths on thrones but what I got was a strong dose of girl power. (And a little bit of sociopath)
Miryem is the daughter of a poor moneylender. It sounds like a bad oxymoron but it's her life. Wanda is the eldest daughter of a poor abusive drunk. Her only desire is to protect herself and her younger brothers. Irina is the daughter of a local lord looking to use her for his next big come up.
Spinning Silver takes the lives of these three young women and interweaves them in a way that makes you truly care for them and their outcomes.
Problems, Problems, Problems
Each character's storyline was equally riveting. Every chapter brought with it a point of view change and a fun game called 'guess who's taking now'. Unique voices and circumstances eventually make it easy to differentiate between Miryem, Wanda, and Irina. A few more characters get chapters later on in the book as well but its an easy guess on who is speaking by then.
Miryem has the kind of problem I wish I could have. She has a special magic that turns silver to gold. Sounds amazing right? Wrong. Her gold making talent eventually draws the attention of a gold-hoarding stark and brings trouble for everyone around her.
Set with impossible task after impossible task all three heroines must navigate their circumstances while not initially realizing how much their decisions affect each other.
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Beauty And The Beast
Well truthfully speaking none of our heroines are 'typical' beauties (according to sucky societal norms). Naomi Novik gives us a group of plain Janes and makes each of them smart, strong, determined, and resourceful. There are no damsels in distress waiting for a prince to save them here. Even when confronted with marriages to monsters these girls hold their own.
Spinning Silver has become one of my favorite love stories. Mainly because it's not mushy gushy love. My love language is acts of service (see related blog post here) and Novik gave me some amazing acts of service as a form of love in this novel. Filled my love tank right up.
Let me state for the record that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. Between the monster prince and the library, I was in Disney princess heaven. Spinning Silver took me right back to my childhood memories of rooting for the beast to win over the girl. Whether or not you want one or both of the monsters to win or lose I believe you'll thoroughly enjoy the end resolution.
Just Read It
That is my advice to you. Just read it. If you like a good heroine who is not 'that good' read it. If you enjoyed the A Song of Ice and Fire book series (aka Game of Thrones) read it. *** Note that I'm an ASOIAF fanatic so initially the similarities annoyed me but Spinning Silver definitely took on a life of its own.*** If you enjoy a good beast centered love story or love unrequited read it. If you are uncertain of your book preferences just read it anyway. I highly doubt you'll regret it.
If I could have given this book more than 5 stars I would have. Read Spinning Silver for yourself and let me know what you think.