Spinning Silver is much more than the retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It incorporates fantasy, myth, and dark retellings making it a lush layered novel with flushes out characters and worlds.
The story starts with Miryem, daughter and granddaughter to a moneylender. Her family is poor since her father repeatedly fails at collecting dues. When her mother becomes ill and Miryem has grown sick herself from constant poverty she goes out to collect the funds owed. She soon finds she is good at the job and over time turns more silver into gold. But this causes the notice of the Staryk, a terrible being who brings the winter and wants gold above all else.
The story includes a woman hired to pay her (physical) abuse father’s debt and take care of her siblings. There is also the story of a noble girl, considered plain and useless to her father but who must fight for her life and those she loves after she is married to a cruel tsar cursed with a fire demon in his body.
The world building is seemingly simple. The introduction to the world builds on the people’s stories and fears till the magic is more then just under the surface but true and an increment part of these women’s everyday lives.
Novik has a talent for presenting multiple character point of views with complex sub-plots weaving everything into a single brimming tale. I didn’t find it hard to follow the different perspectives. Each character had a distinct voice but the book also uses a corresponding symbol for each character at page breaks or beginning chapters. I loved the strong empowering female theme throughout. Another thing to note is Miryem and her family are Jewish. The novel touches on the importance of her Jewish identity as well as with small town prejudices, and anti-Semitism making it more relevant to today’s world.
Spinning Silver has a way of taking historical and present topics of discussions, mixing in myths and fairytales, and making everything relatable. Overall, Naomi Novik can transport you to a time and place you can believe without a doubt is real and that is real magic.
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. Spinning Silver by Noami Novik will be published by Dey Rey on Tuesday July 10th 2018.
You may see an influx of book reviews. I’m on a reading kick and sometimes get Advance Reader Copies (ARC) from my job. I figure why not turn the love of reading into writing. Plus if I can support/help another author, why not?!
I’ve been struggling. Writing is always a struggle for me. I’m sure for most. And lately I’ve been frustrated with not having a point, purpose, or theme when writing. Fighting is what we writers do. Fight finding time. Finding a comfort. Fighting the mind. Negative or just no thoughts at all. I know I need to sit down at the computer and practice because with practice is improvement.
This hectic schedule I’ve been keeping up has drained me and made me anxious. I have always been one to look and plan too far ahead. That can hinder. I try to think back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Just take one thing at a time. This is not just with writing. I try to remember to breath. When sitting down at the computer, watching the blinking cursor is emotional. Especially when it only seems to blink. I don’t have the opportunity to write at the same time everyday and I have to fight that need. Just trying to find steps in the right direction. So, hello ARC! Let’s kick start my writing brain.
Maybe everything else weighing on my mind will also shift into place.
I work in a bookstore. An older man walks up to the information desk. I say “Hello” and he starts telling me a very long story. He had something that happen to him 40 or 50 years ago and he would like it publish. In fact, he has a lot of stories he would like to have publish. He doesn’t know where to start since, he says, he doesn’t write well. He was hoping to find a ghostwriter and would like to know how he can start in publishing his book. I tell him if he goes to the reference section in my store there is a subsection were he can find many titles to teach him how to go about finding a ghostwriter, agent, and publisher.
“I don’t want to read a book about it I just want to know how,” he says without skipping a beat.
We go through this exchange a few times in different ways. Always him telling me what he is looking to do and me telling him I don’t exactly know but there are many books on the subject to help in his search. If I say you probably need an agent or publisher to help you find a writer, he asks for an agents phone number as if I have one handy for these situations. I tell him I don’t have a number but there is a book published every year with a list of agents and publishers and their contact information. He says, “No, that’s not what I’m looking for,” and moves on to more questions about the process.
Around the third or fourth runaround I lose my patience and just say, “I don’t know I can’t help you” to his questions. He isn’t at the bookstore for a book and I can’t keep going though these repetitive motions trying to be “nice and helpful.” Maybe that’s mean but I only have so much tolerance in this situation. I gave you the information to start you on your path now do the work.
I received an ARC from my job. It in no way sways my review. I have read Deanna Raybourn’s Julia Grey series and I loved them so I was excited to hear the author is writing another historical fiction series with another strong female protagonist at the center.
Veronica Speedway has no attachments after burying her aunt. She is finally free to resume her travels abroad with scientific studies involving her passion, butterflies. But when she returns home from the funeral finds an intruder that tries to kidnap her. With help from Baron Maximillian von Stauffenbach they defeat the kidnapper. The Baron reveals he knows about her past and believes she is in danger. Offering a ride to London and the promise to answer her questions she excepts. But when he drops her with an old friend of his, Stoker, for protection she finds herself thrown into an exciting adventure when the Baron is discovered murdered.
This was an amazing novel. The book is fast paced and keeps the adventure moving, fun, and never dull. I really enjoyed Veronica Speedwell. She is nothing like Julia Grey but still very likable. She was smart, stubborn, and funny. She is not the romanic troupe readers of historical fiction have been bombarded with and it’s refreshing. I loved her fight to be the independent woman not excepted during those times. Stroker was a little hard to pin down. He is grouchy and tight lipped about his past. I thought he could be prickly but he definitely grows on the reader. It could be because of the interaction and relationship between Veronica and Stroker. Their dialogues throughout the book are smart conversations and arguments which grows and helps the characters see each other as equals.
I can’t wait to read more mysteries involving these characters and see where their relationship can go. I’m sad to say goodbye to Lady Julia Grey but Veronica Speedway is a worthy successor. I am certainly recommending this book to others.
Still trying to read a classic a month and June’s read was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Published in 1869, it is astonishing the then future technology that was imagined in this Science-Fiction novel. It tells the story of Professor Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on Captain Nemo’s submarine the Nautilus. They embark on an underwater adventure that takes them around the world.
First off, while reading this, I had to keep reminding myself the technology thought up for this novel was ahead of it’s time. I did skim over some Verne’s extensive scientific descriptions but the action and plot were really riveting. There is a clear picture painted of this underwater world and I loved the descriptions of the life under the sea. The author leads his characters and the reader to the red corals of the Red Sea, lost shipwrecks from historic battles, and the discovery of Atlantis. And the pace of the story improves when the characters use diving suits to go pearl hunting and fight a giant squid. The biggest mystery is not in the depths of the ocean but the people themselves. The reader is the witness to the curious Captain Nemo’s decisions and it is only hinted at why the Captain choices to exile himself from the world. While I’m okay with the mystery of the Nemo’s past and motive, it does make you wonder about a man who will give a whole pouch of pearls to a poor Indian pearl diver but at the end destroy the lives of so many and leave his men up to a possible devastating fate.
I think this is a very worth wild read if you can get pasted the scientific jargon. It will not be a read for everyone but I am happy I read it.
My resent vacation had me traveling through Los Angeles and we had just enough time to visit The Last Bookstore. It is a great bookstore with used and new copies of almost any book on any topic. The main floor has a comic book, children’s, teen, classic, history, and vinyl section. I loved the bank vault door leading to the room of rare books.
I loved the art piece at the top of the stairs, a bookcase surrounded by flying books. I believe it gave off a very Harry Potter essence. There is an art gallery, yarn shop and more books upstairs. Wish I had more time to search though the dollar books in The Labyrinth but there were just too many. I was able to walk through the book covered bridge into the horror room. There was a photo-shoot taking place and a really nice group a people allowing customers to shop while they worked. I didn’t realized until I was looking through the science fiction/fantasy section that I missed taking a picture at the porthole made of books since the shoot was using it. Guess I’l have to return one day and fix that error especially since there are so many books and little time to really explore the changing collection.
When it was time to leave I bought a few books. I loved the counter was made of stacked books. I took a picture of my book stash and I can’t wait to start reading them.
View from upstairs and this is only half of the bottom floor.
Sitting outside the New York Public Library. A little girl runs up to her mother pulling a picture book out of the red lion imprinted brown paper bag. Her words are French but her excitement is unmistakable. She is talking fast and I don’t understand the words meaning but I know why she is animated. Here is a little girl thrilled over a book. Her father and I share a smile. We understand each other. But in the moment I see a family’s exhilaration over a child’s enthusiasm for a book purchase I become sad. Others like to say dead tree editions of books are quite literally dead. Does that mean people will miss out on child’s thrill for reading. I can’t imagine a child getting excited about a downloaded picture Kindle edition book like that little girl did. As long as children read I don’t care the platform. I wonder how many Library card and book eager faces the regal lions have seen? It’s possible the lions at the New York Public Library branch have a superpower most places don’t. Or will they see less keen faces over books and more camera flashes with stories of paper past.
New York Public Library Main Branch Lion Taken By Me
I was shocked today when an author I don’t personally know noticed me.
I have heard friends tell me they have had interactions with authors after they reviewed a book on Goodreads that they read. Most friends I follow on only rate the books. But some write proper reviews with summary, pros and cons. Those are the ones that have been contacted by authors. I have written full book reviews when I worked for The Celebrity Cafe but I became lazy with Goodreads. The book site has become a place for me to discuss, research, and keep track of the books I read without worry of a grade, credit, or paycheck. As a result, when I finish a book, I only write what I liked and what I disliked and why.
I recently read the “Ghost Planet” by Sharon Lynn Fisher for a book club I joined called Vaginal Fantasy Hangout with Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton. (Each month I watch, with many others, these awesome ladies get together and discuss the month’s books in a Google Hangout.) The book was a pleasant surprised. After I finished I wrote my tiny little blurb. The next time I signed on I had a notification that Sharon “liked” my review. Not realizing whom Sharon was I clicked on the name and was brought to the author’s page. From her page I see this author is very involved with her work. Nevertheless I was still astonished.