Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

36896898Novik again depicts a fairytale Russian setting in this alternate take on Rumpelstiltskin. Miryem’s father is a tender-hearted moneylender who cannot bring himself to collect from his neighbors, even when his family is cold, hungry, and ill. Miryem takes up the task and discovers she has a colder heart than her father as well as a gift for making a profit from what she collects. One might say she can spin silver into gold, a skill that earns her the unwanted notice of the king of the Staryk. Though not nearly as creepy as The Wood in Novik’s first fairytale novel, Uprooted, the Staryk are a considerable force of evil. Through multiple points of view, Novik spins a complex plot peopled by courageous women and interesting men. Though entertaining, the narrative gets bogged down in detail and veers off track too often and does not deliver the compelling urgency, focus and excitement of Uprooted.