Spinning Silver – a book

Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Novik introduces three female protagonists in this book without much preamble and keeps moving between them in a confusing way. I was never quite sure which of the three characters I was reading about.
It is based in a realm of magic and mysticism, of cruelty and heartbreak, fringed with glittering ice and populated with creatures carved from the wildest corners of the imagination. The initial chapters titillate with high stakes, compelling characters, and enchanting descriptions of warm food and a forest cloaked in snow, but the narrative is soon bogged down.

Two of the female protagonists having such similar plot lines as to feel redundant.

The final nail in the coffin – or icicle in the heart – is the inclusion of multiple POVs. Novik opens with two primary voices, but more characters are introduced as the story progresses. A change in POV is indicated by an icon of a spinning wheel, but the speaker is not identified and new character voices are dropped without preamble. Not only does this create extra work and confusion, Novik elects to recount scenes from varied perspectives, resulting in even more redundancy.

Spinning Silver holds all the ingredients of a magic spell, but the execution leaves one cold and unsatisfied.

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About Stuart Smith

Live on the East Coast of Scotland with views of the Isle of May and Bass Rock out my window. Retired and giving up political activity gradually as no-one locally is interested.
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