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Spinning Silver

Written by: Naomi Novik
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 43.86
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

“One of the year’s strongest fantasy novels” (NPR), an imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the best-selling author of Uprooted.

Nebula Award Finalist 

Named one of the top 10 books of the year by The New York Public Library and one of the best books of the year by: The New York Times Book Review; NPR; Time; Tor.com; PopSugar; Vox; Vulture; Paste; Bustle; Library Journal

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws listeners deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss. 

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk - grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh - Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. 

Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar. But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love. 

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that listeners will want to return to again and again. 

'“A perfect tale...with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Gorgeous, complex, and magical.... This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever.” (Publishers Weekly)

©2018 Naomi Novik (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"A perfect tale... This book is about the determination and quiet competence of women doing remarkable things without knowing first that they can do them.... A big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Gorgeous, complex, and magical... This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“Cool and clever and... dire and wonderful.” (Laini Taylor, author of Strange the Dreamer)

“A book as cool and mysterious as a winter’s night, with two marvelous heroines at its heart, Spinning Silver pits the cold of endless winter against the fires of duty, love, and sacrifice. I couldn’t put it down.” (Katherine Arden, New York Times best-selling author of The Bear and the Nightingale)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A bit slow in spots, but overall great!

Sometimes the narrator was a bit flat but here Russian accent added wonderfully to the overall feel of the story. If you like fairytales and want to hear one that feels more ‘realistic’ this is the story for you! #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great listen

This book was a great retelling of an old fairy tale. The story telling was wonderful and I really love the lady that reads it , she has an amazing voice.

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Wonderful

I loved this title. A perfectly spun tale. I cannot wait to read another of her titles.

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Awesome book

Loved it! The author makes you care about all the characters even the so called bad guys. Unique story really enjoyed it

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beguiling fairytale in novel form

I was captivated by the vividly depicted story world, which seems to slide naturally between the real and the imaginary in the best possible way. The prose, as read by the narrator, is smooth and uncluttered, advancing the story and evoking the sensuous experience of listening to these women recount their stories to the listener as if we were together in the same firelit cottage during the coldest of winter nights. The plot skirts around the edges of being too intricate, and the subtle beginning and twisting escalations deserve a more satisfying and less stereotypical ending. But there's so much good book to enjoy here – I very much recommend. #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zoe
  • 2018-09-15

Another fantastic tale!

I absolutely adored Uprooted, and this book did not disappoint as a follow up. The setting perfectly bridged the magical and the real, and the story marries familiar fairy tale elements with unexpected and unusual stories and characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who liked Uprooted, or the Bear and the Nightingale books, which have a similar feel. #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great take on a classic fairy tale

I love fairy tales, have since I was a child and for the longest time I would read every new take on fairy tales I could get my hands on (from tales the world over to remakes and retellings of ones as familiar as a Disney tale). This one falls in amongst the best of them.

This take on Rumplestiltskin, woven with Russian folklore and Jewish traditions and characters of both, is a rich telling of a tale that I never could quite get a handle on. I would expect the tale to move along familiar and well worn trails, but it would skip along until suddenly it would turn to less familiar ways that were just as enchanting and fascinating.

Naomi Novik does a wonderful job keeping the familiar fresh and bringing the unexpected to a satisfying conclusion worthy of any classic fairy tale without the women waiting in the wings to be saved by the hero.

Lisa Flanagan does the story justice, the voices are distinct enough I am never confused about who is speaking and the pacing is excellent. I look forward to listening to this one again.

#Audible1

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • 2018-09-07

A good choice for fans of Uprooted

I've been a fan of Naomi Novik for a while now, and this latest book does not disappoint. Her take on the Rumpelstiltskin story is so fresh and original, but still feels very much like a fairy tale.
Although I like the narrator, I found that it was sometimes hard to figure out which character was speaking. The story is told by several different characters in the first person, and the voices used by the narrator were very similar. It was easy enough after a sentence or two to figure out who was speaking, but it did cause a bit of confusion for me at certain points.
For me, the best audiobooks are the ones that you want to listen to over and over again, and I think that this story was interesting enough and the narrator was enjoyable enough to re-listen to this audiobook.

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Absolutely Superb

Naomi Novik is a master of fairy tales. The story is well thought out and subtly directed to lead to a satisfying end while still following the rules of the world and showcasing each character's unique personality. The story was tense and exciting and believable for a story about magic and royalty and commoners, and I loved every minute of it. Paired with the narrator, it was a superb listen. Lisa Flannigan took on the challenge of multiple perspectives like a pro, with her variety of accents and inflections that let you know who was speaking as soon as the chapter began, and the voices of the villains were eerie and unique to match. I can not recommend this book enough, especially to those who love magic and cunning in their books and strong women who lead the story. Novik has impressed me yet again, and considering this book was released just last month, I don't know how long the wait til another will be, but I can't wait to see what she does next.

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Amazing

The best fiction purchase I have made all year. I have looked forward to this book since Uprooted, I plan on getting a hardcopy as well as the audio version.

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  • R. W. Olsen
  • 2018-11-30

One of my favorite authors. Only 1 small complaint

I love Naomi Novik and I love this story. Her stand alone stories are magical and hearken back to the best fairy tales. Her Temeraire series is my favorite! That said, this audio book has a flaw. If I am reading the physical book, I see the chapter breaks and I know when we move from one character's perspective to another. In the audio book, there are no such breaks like in some books where a chapter heading is read, or the name of the character in that chapter is read. Since all the chapters are in first person, I got caught a couple of times suddenly realizing that the the person who just said "I went into X room and did Y activity" was not the person I thought because a chapter had switched and because of that the "I" was a different person. Not a fault of the author. Everything else is perfect. The narration is great, and the story is wonderful...but more about the production of the audio book alone. That is it. I love everything else.

84 of 86 people found this review helpful

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  • Episteme
  • 2018-08-09

Her best! For me, anyway.

If your thing is lots of bashing and banging and soldiers and such, or regency style romance, this may not be for you. But if you like tales of good and evil where good prevails, but not in any simplistic way, and characters grow and develop, and things come right in the end, you just might love it as much as I did. Love is crucial, though not romantic love alone. Love and courage and the determination not to give in to greed or fear or even one’s own rage.
The narrator would get five stars from me for her demon voice alone, but she also reads clearly and with meaning, with just a hint of an appropriate accent and just enough differentiation between characters that you follow within a sentence when the author switches between narrative POV. But seriously best demon voice ever.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Verna Knapp
  • 2018-09-08

Voice too soft to hear much of the time

I shall have to return this, as the reader is so quiet that I only heard snatches. I turned up the volume all the way, but could not hear enough. Also, there are multiple female characters, and all were read with the same voice, which made it hard to figure out which character was speaking.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • T. Winter
  • 2018-07-12

Dark and Magical

This was darker than Uprooted, but equally excellent. The somber tone was perhaps because of the narrator, who had a faint, Eastern European tone of worldliness and disillusionment. She was absolutely excellent, and perfectly matched to the tone of the story.

The imagery is a feast for the senses . . . dark forests, villages full of harsh realities and secrets, and forbidden carriage roads 'gleaming like the top of the river in winter when the snow had blown clear.' Strange tracks in the snow outside the house, oddly shaped and made by a creature not known to man, and footprints leading up to a window . . . these are just a few hints of things you will find on your journey into this world.

Every word is captivating. Every paragraph leaves you wanting to know what comes next. And all the while, you are living this fairy tale.

Truly, the experience of this book was magnificent. It is exactly, exactly what I hoped for from Novik.

44 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-09-26

A well-written story.

I really enjoyed this story even though it was hard to tell sometimes who was speaking. If the narrator had given just a little more pause in between character shifts I would have given her more stars.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen Carlson
  • 2018-11-17

great story but character voices all sound same

great story line but struggled when they changed characters, voices all sounded the same was difficult to keep up with who was who.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emceecee
  • Central MA
  • 2018-08-08

Character shifts were often too subtle and too fast

I enjoyed the story and loved how all the threads tied together at the end. My only issue is with the performance (and it’s minor). The same actress read all the parts nicely, but sometimes when she changed from one to another that were fairly similar, she did it so quickly that, more than once, I had to jump back to try to figure out who was speaking. A longer pause between voice changes would have made it easier to follow.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Angelika
  • 2018-09-01

Too many first-person narrators!

Five people are telling the story! At the beginning of every chapter I have to ask, who is talking now, especially when a new first-person narrator is introduced. The chaperone narrator could have been deleted, without taking much away from story.
The interweaving aspect of religion was unexpected, but part of the plot. Overall a beautiful woven tapestry tale, which leaves a loose end (the ending of the tsar, tsarina and their demon).

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jaime
  • 2018-11-08

Beautiful, if a little confusing

A gorgeous tapestry that weaves together elements of several fairy tails without ever losing its soul to any single one, with overarching themes that tie the storylines together and ends in an unexpected twist on an old and familiar tale.

My only complaint is that the story is told entirely in 1st person - all six (or more) points of view. Really, is that ever a good idea in a complex novel? It’s hard to keep straight which “I” is currently speaking and contextual clues sometimes take a few lines to cue into the change in POV. Who is speaking, Irena? Wanda? Miriam? One of the others? The narrator was good, but she didn’t change her voice between the POV characters, so it provides no clue when someone else was speaking.

All that being said, this is definitely a book worth listening to, and I’ll probably come back to it a couple of times. The Russian lilt and the cadence of the telling are beautiful, and I look forward to finding the bits of foreshadowing scattered through the narrative like bits of Staryk silver.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • 2018-09-25

Started Strong and Lost Momentum

Really a fun inversion of the fairy tale, especially initially. The twists and turns of the plot early on really grabbed our attention, but near the end the story doubled back on itself too many times and it felt as if things could have been streamlined. The scenes from the perspective of the "mother" figure in particular dragged a bit. Still a lot of fun and worth reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful