SPINNING SILVER BY NAOMI NOVIK - Review #Book5


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Retelling fairytales is never an easy job. It is all the more difficult because author has to read and outgrow the benchmark set by the original, both literarily and emotionally.

Spinning Silver is the retelling of the fairy tale that has done justice to the original.Miriyem is a moneylender's daughter. Her father has been too generous about collecting the debt back and this inhibition brought them from riches to rags. Finally one day Miriyem sets out to collect the debts that she learns the trick as to how to coerce them into repaying the debt and proves herself better than her father. One of the houses where she goes to collect the debt, due to the inability of the family, she takes their daughter Wanda home as a domestic help in return of the money paid back on a condition that the debt will be considered repaid in 4 years. Miriyem slowly grows the business and the word goes out that she could turn Silver into gold. The news reaches the ears of the Staryk who puts forth a condition in return of her life. In another part of the worl Irina is forced into a marriage with the Tsar. Tsar is not what he seems peripherally. How these three women fight through thick and thin towards survival is the crux of the tale.

Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is a rich, multilayered new story which is a joy to read.

The plot is based on the fairy tale but it has an ineherent life that is instilled by the author. Author has portrayed the girls in a good light and portrayed them as strong personalities. The rest of the charcaters are reduced to mere braces. The staryk and Tsar are given different shades so as to justify the girls' feelings for them. To craft such complicated characters and pull of a palpable tale need immense dexterity. Notwithstanding the suspense, the author has kept the present dominant throughout.

As with her standalone novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales.

The narration is kept first person by the different female characters and hence the author has put forth the perspective of the characters in different scenatios. Surprisingly, what one finds advantageous is equally advantageous throughout the book. Nonetheless the books lags behind after Miriyems's emcounter with Irina.

Characters take thge spolight of the book. The tale becomes secondary due to the impeccable chacrater craft and the narration that projects the characters and their lookout. The understanding between Staryk and Miriyema as well as the give and take between Tser and Irina are eternal and stands relevant in any era.

The climax doesn't have any dramatic twists primarily because the book is not all about the thrilling side but about the palpable feelings of the characters and their survival. It is surreal to connect with the characters.

The round about of the book would be that it is a perfect fit for the female fantasy lovers.

About the author
Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of the Temeraire series and the Nebula-winning novel Uprooted, a fantasy influenced by the Polish fairy tales of her childhood. She is a founder of the Organization for Transformative Works and the Archive of Our Own. She lives in New York City with her family and six computers.

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