Spinning Silver

By Naomi Novik,

Book cover of Spinning Silver

Book description

Following her award-winning novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is rich, original and a joy to read.

Will dark magic claim their home?
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's too kind-hearted…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Spinning Silver as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I enjoy discovering fantasy based on cultures other than medieval.

In Spinning Silver, the protagonist’s family feel like Polish Jews living where they’re neither accepted nor openly persecuted.

Miryam’s character is compelling. She harbors a bitter delight in prying gold from her neighbor’s closed fists, money her father lent them and was too cowardly to insist they repay, and greed is a sore temptation. Throughout the story, she teeters between kindness and coldheartedness, slowly becoming more and more like the Staryk ice people everyone fears.

I was actually afraid to finish the book because I was worried she would…

Be careful what you say out loud. You never know who might hear you.

In this story, you have a cruel and harsh Staryk lord with only care for his silver to be turned to gold. He’s cold and indifferent to the one he appoints to this seemingly impossible task, yet you find yourself clinging to hope he will change.

There are multiple POV, so if this is your thing, trust me you’ll love how many are in here. It’s like getting multiple thrilling stories in one book. Redeemable monsters is how I would label this book in two words…

From Rachael's list on to pull your soul into another realm.

This is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling! When a friend recommended it to me, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine Rumpelstiltskin ever being an interesting story to me, but Naomi Novik proved me wrong.

This book’s writing style is lyrical and vibrant, with a stunning world of magic and misery that will make you root for characters and keep you on the edge of your seat concerning their fates. (Did I mention the wide cast of characters that all have heartbreaking depth?)

In particular, I loved the Tsar’s story so much. This book surprised me in a hundred delicious ways.

From Elizabeth's list on giving new life to old fairy tales.

Dragon Disciples: Resurrection

By Christina Weigand, Rhomda Chieduch (editor),

Book cover of Dragon Disciples: Resurrection

Christina Weigand Author Of Palace of the Twelve Pillars

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My faith is a driving force in my life. Writing and dragons are my passions after my family. When not writing I mentor young people in their own writing. I’ve taken several writing courses and continue to study and work on honing my craft. Dragons serve as messengers of God in my books. I studied dragon lore and found the dragons an excellent vehicle for sharing God’s message. The dragons play a sentient, teaching, guiding role in the books they are featured in. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bad dragons to challenge the characters and the good dragons. 

Christina's book list on dragons with a Christian message

What is my book about?

When the head of an ancient Samaritan family is injured, it throws the family into turmoil. There isn’t enough money to pay the hefty Roman taxes.

The daughter, Chana, is taken as compensation and forced into slavery inside a cruel centurion’s home. As a slave, Chana witnesses the miracles of Yeshua. They give her hope as she stands up to the abuses of the centurion’s children and survives unspeakable atrocities.

When the centurion travels to Jerusalem, Chana is unaware of her family's presence in the city. But the holy city brings nothing but horror when Chana witnesses the crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. Naftili, Chana's brother, is taken as a slave in the same house as his sister, where he discovers that Chana isn’t the same girl he grew up with.

Their fate to live a life as slaves seems impossible to overcome until they are rescued by dragons sent from God. But all is not easy as their faith journey continues. They will encounter obstacles designed to prevent them from becoming Dragon Guardians, faithful followers who spread and protect the Word of God.

Dragon Disciples: Resurrection

By Christina Weigand, Rhomda Chieduch (editor),

What is this book about?

When the head of a Samaritan family is injured, it throws the family into turmoil. There isn't enough money for the hefty Roman taxes. The daughter, Chana, is taken as compensation and forced into slavery in a cruel centurion's home.

As a slave, Chana witnesses the miracles of Yeshua. They give her hope as she stands up to the abuses of the centurion's children and survives unspeakable atrocities.

Unaware of her family's presence in Jerusalem, the holy city brings nothing but horror when Chana witnesses the crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. While struggling to overcome her traumas, her…

Spinning Silver is a riff on Rumpelstiltskin set in medieval Russia. Naomi Novik goes lighter on the history here than she did in her Napoleonic-era Temeraire series, but Spinning Silver is still threaded with authentic details. The prejudice the Jewish protagonist and her family experience feels particularly real—and relevant. I also liked that she and the other female leads aren’t beauties (a common trope in fantasy). Instead, they’re resourceful and brave, facing down men and demons alike.

I’m less high on the rotating first-person point of view. But I loved Spinning Silver anyway. If you like historical fantasy, you probably…

Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty and the Beast in a realm of Slavic folklore. This little gem manages to spin these tales in a new light, while seamlessly weaving them together into a beautiful tapestry that creates the illusion that they were always one story. I appreciated that the protagonist wasn’t your average damsel in distress, nor was she some passive princess strung along throughout the narrative through chance and misfortune; Miryem is a well-rounded character, head-strong and frank, whose actions (turning silver into gold, albeit in a more realistic way) capture the attention of a fey “beast” who might just have…

This beautiful story of family, sacrifice, and courage to choose your own path is deeply steeped in Slavic folklore. Told mostly from the point of view of three women, a princess, a peasant girl, and a Jewish moneylender, the book effortlessly weaves in the supernatural elements. The characters are all believable and nuanced which to me is an absolute must in any book. A great read.

Novik’s Rumpelstiltskin retelling is an outstanding book. Of the three leading ladies, Miryem was my favourite, for a strange reason. I loved how angry she was; the villagers took advantage of her father and she wasn’t about to let that keep happening. She got herself into trouble, but she was smart enough to come out ahead. Miryem, Wanda, and Irina were put in impossible situations, either through their own choices or that of the men in their lives, and in the end, they saved themselves. Another reason to love this incredible book!

Spinning Silver is a loose reimagining of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin and is meant for older readers (Young Adult/Adult). Novik crafts an Old Russian/Slavic-inspired world of Tsars and kopeks and moneylenders. She’s clearly done extensive research on the clothing and food and politics of the time, which makes the setting feel effortlessly real. Then, she adds in a fairy race made of ice known as the Staryk. Also, the fire demon Chernobog (surprise!). The world of Spinning Silver feels so rich and old and familiar that it makes room for the fantastic to enter in without us hardly noticing. It’s…

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