Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Genre: drama fantasy/fairy tale. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 4.3. ⭐️Stars from me: 3.

General information

Several good women face several bad men. The women struggle, fight, develop and grow, each through their own story that involves either their talents, or their marriages, or their families. The story is set on a magical land so some of the characters are magical too.

Fun fact #1

I bought the book in summer and planned to read it in winter somewhere in the northern mountains so that I would have snow and a fireplace. The Universe heard my wishes so it brought the snow to my doorstep and a blackout for a day. I improvised “a fireplace” from a few candles and started reading the book.



Fun fact #2

n Spinning Silver there are wizards who bring snow and everything that's white is theirs. I ran in my hills today, but there was snow (which never happens) and that's whom I met, and that's where he lives. (He actually ran with me all 9K back and the owner had to drive him home)

So how was the book?

I was repeatedly warned that Spinning Silver is not as good as Uprooted, an earlier novel by the same author. Taking into account my bad reaction to Uprooted, I wasn’t expecting much. I braced myself for something even worse and probably that’s why I actually liked Spinning Silver more. Although, there are more reasons.

What are the reasons?

No magic spells!

That felt SO good to just be watching the magic without having to go through all the mumble-jumble! There’s still a lot of magic, and the magic is still too often the answer to a problem, but it feels more natural in this book.

Character development

All female characters started as feeble and insecure and grew into something more. Even though I find it horribly predictable, I think it was executed quite well.

The writing

The writing is decent and pleasant. I think it’s better than in Uprooted because it reflects the drama of dynamic moments (unlike the writing in Uprooted).

Some storylines

Some of them are quite interesting.

What I disliked about the book

The attempt to sell the same product twice

Spinning Silver is a spiritual twin of Uprooted. But now, we get a new deal! Get one villain and a good girl, and receive two more of each for free!

Also the voice of Miryem from Spinning Silver is so similar to the voice of Agnieszka from Uprooted that Spinning Silver could be easily sold as a sequel.

All women are good, most men are bad

I’m SO tired of this concept! I understand it’s unfair to blame only Novik for it because it’s a prevailing tendency in all female-authored literature. But it has become too predictable, overused and over-marketed. I understand where it’s coming from, but stories should be more diverse than that, because people are.

The Russian words

I found the whole idea of using Russian words to make the setting feel exotic quite silly, not only because the words don’t sound exotic to me. They were often applied wrongly, so there were dumb combinations like “Staryk children” which, if translated, would be something like “old babies”.


Chapters don’t have titles, but each one is written in first person, so it takes a couple of paragraphs to understand what’s going on and whose eyes we’re looking from now. There are quite a lot of characters, so it gets pretty confusing and exhausting.

The plot

The plot got drunk.

For the biggest part of the book the story develops logically. There’s a start, a climax, and then you expect the finale, but it doesn’t happen. Instead the story explodes and goes all possible directions. It’s not a twist, it’s a furball in the wind! Characters start being irrational, hysterical and there are a lot of unnecessary drama-queen monologues going on.

The ending

The ending doesn’t match the overall idea that seems to be promoted in the book.

Final thoughts

I can’t recommend this book because I didn’t enjoy it that much myself, even though it is not a bad book. I’m not sure that the chaos that happens with the plot can be forgiven even by a fantasy lover. I’m definitely not reading any more of Novik’s stories. She’s just not the right author for me.

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