Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A lot of these retellings of old myths and fairy tales are hit or miss with me, but I come to you today to tell you that this was not a miss. :) Indeed, nothing was amiss.
The combination of several different old fairy tales and the new-norm for Russian-style fantasy hit all the right buttons for me. There was nothing simple about this tale even though we learn, slowly, that the world is not all about hard poverty and abuse and little towns and harsh Czars. That jews aren't necessarily cracked up to fit their stereotypes.
But one thing is true. The Winter King can be cruel and harsh, the stakes are often hidden but quite vast, and simple, if powerful, magics are never enough when a Great Working is desperately needed.
At least two big stories are interwoven here, between a seamstress who marries the Czar and the moneylender's daughter who gets carried away by the Winter King. No spoilers, but there's a ton of discoveries to be had in each realm and the clash between them is something quite wonderful and amazing, even for someone who has read a ton of fantasy.
I can honestly say that Novik outdid herself here. This is a quality myth, newly-owned and told fresh. Do I like it better than Uprooted?
I may have liked the other one better for its subject matter, but this one had a much tighter plot and a more satisfying end. More than this will be getting into deep spoiler territory.
Suffice to say, I loved it. :)
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