Loosely inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, Spinning Silver takes us to a world where a moneylender’s daughter, a peasant girl, and the daughter of a lord set to marry the young tsar are caught in a tangled web when word of a girl that can turn silver into gold captures the attention of a nameless king. It’s a hauntingly evocative tale, one that sees humanity caught in a war of fire and ice in a world that fears the winter king while a demon holds their tsar captive. The bleakness of this world is reflected in the writing as this foreboding threat looms over the heads of our characters, and it’s a testament to Novik’s writing as she captivates readers with her atmospheric writing.
So often, folktales are a source of reflection on real-world issues and, Spinning Silver is no different. Novik has spoken on how Spinning Silver was partly influenced by her father’s heritage as she challenges the antisemitism rhetoric of the Jewish moneylender stereotype through the mistreatment and judgments Miryem and her family face.
Much like Uprooted, Spinning Silver is a captivating tale of power, destruction, and control. These women have been raised to live in confines of what benefits the men in their lives. Spinning Silver sees Miryem, Irina, and Wanda take control of their agency by breaking the boundaries of the confines that bound them and doing so in a manner that reflects their anger at the hand dealt to them. However, while much of this book is eerily dark and atmospheric, there is also a sense of hope carried throughout the novel. This hope is carried by the women determined to carve about a better life for themselves and their loved ones and the price they’re willing to pay to secure their safety and freedom. This book does not rely on the prince charmings of the world to save the day but celebrates the resourcefulness and collaboration of women.
As the nights get longer and the cold sets in, Spinning Silver is a haunting tale that will captivate readers from the off-set. With a richly imaginative setting, Spinning Silver is the perfect companion on these winter nights.