Spinning Silver

Del Rey: Ballantine. Jul. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9780399180989. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399181009. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarMiryem is the progeny of moneylenders, but her family is impoverished because of her father's inability to collect his debts. Wanda's father abuses her and her brothers, drinking away the household's income. Irina knows she is plain and of little help to her father, and that her only choice in life is to wait for marriage. Through these three women, Novik (Uprooted) addresses weighty questions of power, choice, prejudice, beauty, and identity with aplomb. While magic certainly plays a role here, Novik provides opportunities for these protagonists to save themselves, too. Each woman encounters magic for benefit or ill: the ability to change silver to gold, portals to an icy world, a house that exists in multiple realms, a demon, or an ice king. Each must decide what they will sacrifice to rescue their people. Echoes of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale as well as Greek and Slavic myths are transformed through Novik's skillful writing. Ultimately narrated through six distinct voices, her tale moves deftly among stories that ebb and flow and occasionally brush against one another.
VERDICT This masterly, immersive high fantasy tale is grounded in real-world challenges and opportunities for growth. Highly recommended for fans of Novik's previous titles or fairy-tale retellings.
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