Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver is a sequel of sorts to Uprooted; though there’s no actual direct connection between them (apparently they’re not even set in the same world), they feel related.

Mostly this is because they’re in the same subgenre, of epic fantasy fairytales. Like Uprooted, this one starts with a girl living in a village, but here she’s a poor moneylender’s daughter. I don’t want to spoil where the story goes, but it involves dukes and kings, ice fae and demons, promises sworn and impossible tasks assigned. It’s exploring what it means to live on the margins of society (this isn’t our world, as such, but it’s enough so that the moneylenders are explicitly Jewish rather than some fantasy analog), what it means to be a ruler, and what it means to be a family, all familiar fairy tale themes.

The book is excellent. The characters are tropes given flesh and complexity; the story is familiar but new and unexpected; and the world captures the charm and danger of fairy tales. I’m actually a little annoyed right now, because having finished this book, all I want to do is read another book in this series, but there isn’t one. Hopefully Novik will remedy that quickly.


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