Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Rating: ★★★★☆

Date Published: July 10, 2018

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


This is my first ever Naomi Novik book. I have heard a lot of positive reviews on Uprooted but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet (but because of Spinning Silver I’m going to read it soon). I’m not gonna lie: the hype made me read this book. I’ve seen a lot of love for Spinning Silver and I decided, “Oh well, why don’t I push this up the TBR pile?” Sorry, other books. Please don’t kill me.

Anyway, now I understand the hype. Spinning Silver is really worth the read.


• It’s unlike any book I have ever read

Honestly, I almost chose to DNF this book. DON’T THINK NEGATIVE THOUGHTS YET. Let me explain. This is my first Novik book and I found it hard to get used to her writing style. It also dragged on for the first half and there were times when the dialogue was hard to understand and I just found myself re-reading passages all over again to be able to comprehend.

BUT the story eventually picked up and boy, IT WAS SO GOOD. This book is unlike any book I have ever read because it has a unique plot (despite it being a retelling) and turn of events. The writing style is very fairytale-ish too. This book doesn’t have a steamy romance and physically beautiful characters everywhere.

I think this book spat on a lot of YA stereotypes and I love it for that.

• Strong female protagonists

I’ve seen a lot of people rant on book twitter about the definition of a “strong female character”. Take a look at some of these tweets:


Well, I think Spinning Silver is the perfect answer to those concerns. This book has not only one but THREE female protagonists who are remarkable not because of their beauty or prowess in killing off enemies with swords and daggers. They are remarkable because they are CLEVER and determined to take on challenges and evil forces—may they be winter kings, fire demons or abusive fathers.

Miryem is a moneylender’s daughter who can turn silver into gold not because of magic but because of cold determination and intelligence. I greatly admire her because she is so cunning and she doesn’t give up in the face of fear.

Irinushka or Irina is a duke’s daughter who is constantly neglected because she lacks physical beauty. But what most people don’t know is that Irina has the heart and the brains to save the city of Lithvas.

Wanda is a poor girl who is constantly beaten by her father. Despite this, she eventually becomes strong to confront her fears.

• ‎It has a lot of unexpected turns

I thought I knew what to expect because I heard this book was a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Boy, was I wrong. Aside from some minor plot points (turning stuff to gold, significance of names), this book is absolutely different from the old tale.

There were many points in the story that took me by surprise and I never predicted how the story was going to play out. I love books that give unique content and this is one of them.

• It filled my bookdragon brain with lessons

I think it’s important to look for lessons in a book because even though it’s okay to read for pleasure, it’s better to read a book that will activate the brain and fill it with wisdom. Here are some bits of wisdom you’ll get after reading Spinning Silver:

— Wit is just as much a weapon as a sword

— Beauty?? Nah I only know brains

— Love your siblings (and do try to save their souls even if they can be annoying at times)

— Domestic abuse should be STOPPED, not tolerated

— Family can be found outside the bounds of blood

— Boasting you can turn silver to gold is NOT a good idea

— Squirrels are important animals in this universe

— Making (slightly useless) sayings is what I’m actually good at

Okay maybe that last one (or that one about squirrels) doesn’t count but I hope you got the idea.


Obviously I don’t want to spill spoilers so I’ll just leave you with this: I LOVE THE ENDING SO MUCH AAAAAAH

I love screaming so much too.


There you have it. I had some difficulties getting through this book but I eventually loved it bit by bit. I recommend this book to everyone because I want us all to appreciate squirrels and be happy. Like I’ve said before, the hype is true this time. Spinning Silver is really worth reading.

You can also check out my goodreads review here.


Have you read Spinning Silver? What did you think? Leave your thoughts below!


  1. Great review! I just ordered Spinning Silver online because of all the hype and I really hope I’ll love it. Even though I own Uprooted I still haven’t read it so I’m a bit skeptical to see if I’ll enjoy her writing but fingers crossed 😀


    1. It took me a long time to get used to her writing style but it actually grows on you. I hope you’ll enjoy Spinning Silver as much as I did. I still need to read Uprooted and I’m excited to finally read it. So glad you liked my review 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was an epic review! I love how you pulled tweets to show examples of the points you were trying to make. This book sounds pretty interesting, I might have to add it to my list!


    1. I understand the hesitation but I really enjoyed this book! I’m glad the review intrigued you. And yes to fairytale-ish novels and strong female protagonists!


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