Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
What I drank prior: It’s been an all day thing, but basically all of the spiked seltzers then another 3 vodkas sodas at the bar. And that fireball shot. And that pickle back jack shot.
Spoiler-free Overview: The daughter of a moneylender who sucks at his job and never collects his debts steps up to pull the family out of poverty. In the process, she catches the attention of the Staryk ice king who rules the forest and craves gold over all else. Now she has her own debts to pay, which she does by turning silver into gold with the unknowing help of her servant Wanda and buyer Irina. When an outside force threatens the kingdom, the three girls scheme to find a way to save it.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I super enjoyed this book, which was the consensus in the book club, but less so with my blogmates. I thought Novik did a great job of retelling Rumplestizskon (was I ever going to spell that right?) in a way that made me care way more about the story and incorporated Eastern European folklore.
Characters: Miryem was by far my favorite—I see her as a Ravenclaw housemate—but she was badass as fuck. She won the respect of everyone around her, even though her only goal was giving her family a better life. I also loved the other two top women, Irina and Wanda, for taking control of their lives in a way that they could, but still not Miryem. I strongly disliked the Czar because #theworst, but also didn’t appreciate Irina’s handmaid as much as the book wanted me to.
Plot: I thought the plot was great—kept me riveted the whole time. I enjoyed reading all three of the strong heroines stories and perspectives.
Audio Style: So this was my first ever audiobook adventure. Takeaway? Def not the book you want to start out with. SO MANY POVS IN THE SAME VOICE. It was a problem. *hears Irina, Irina in old scratchy demon voice over and over*
World Building: This world was very developed imo. I love that we kept learning more about the parallel ice world, culture, and all its secrets. A fantastic retelling and play on Rumple with Eastern European vibes.
—SPOILERS, don’t read if you don’t want to—
What I hated: Too many unnucessary POVs. I’m looking at you Handmaid and young boy, names forgotten.
What I disliked: Having Irina and Czar end up together made no sense… they still like didn’t even like each other? I would have been good with it if there had been a mention of Irina doing it to stay queen because she wanted to be there for her people, but otherwise I don’t get it.
What I liked: Unlike my blogmates—really liked the Staryk Kinng and Miryem ended up courting at the end. To me that made sense since they had learned to respect each other and now considered themselves equals.
What I loved: The culture clash aspects were definitely my fave parts of the book. Villager v. city dweller; human v. Staryk; rich v. poor; fire v. Ice. As I mentioned, the world-building was great and I felt like I could really get a sense of the different cultures at play that made me laugh out loud and sigh in frustration in equal measure.
What to pair it with: Ice wine! (It’s a thing.)
Rating: 4.5/5 shots — would have been five but excessive POVs is a pet peeve of mine.