In a rare move, I not only picked up an adult fiction book, but greatly anticipated. I still haven’t identified what brings such a great appeal to me for YA, but in this case I read outside the genre. Largely in part because Novik write a similar YA book I adored. Spinning Silver and Uprooted have similar aesthetic, but make no mistake–the sameness ends there. And both are special for different reasons.
After years of surviving on the edge of poverty due to her father’s failings in his job, Miryem takes over for him as the town moneylender. Her gifting in the job connects her to unexpected people…including an icey Staryk king who desires her ability to turn silver to gold.
Where many fantasy books would have delight and imagination within its magic, Novik excels at developing harsher, colder worlds. The magic in this book just as horrible as it is wondrous; that’s much of the appeal.
Though the world is something special to read about, the narration in this story falls flat. There is little to indicate a change in voice, and there are many of them. Some voices blur together more than others. Some are entirely unnecessary. A simple catch-up stort with offscreen characters could have sufficed…but instead each thread gets its own voice. Off the top of my head I remember 4 voices, but I am sure there were more than that…
Like Uprooted, this book is packed. The story moves so far it’s hard to remember how you got to the ending once reaching it. There’s a lot to remember, almost too much to keep track. I’m not sure this is a negative, however. In another world, where this is a duology or series, I’d probably complain that not enough happens.
It’s just so strange, getting one book with so many stories packed in. Despite my dislike for the narration, however, I will be sure to pick up future retellings from this author. They can’t be missed.