Audio: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik @naominovik ‏@LiSur ‏@PRHAudio ‏@DelReyBooks

Posted July 24, 2018 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 15 Comments

Audio: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik @naominovik ‏@LiSur ‏@PRHAudio ‏@DelReyBooks Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Narrator: Lisa Flanagan
Published by Random House Audio, Del Rey Books on July 10, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 17 hours, 56 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued.

Channeling the heart of the classic fairy tale, Novik deftly interweaves six distinct narrative voices - each learning valuable lessons about sacrifice, power and love - into a rich, multilayered fantasy that listeners will want to return to again and again.

I have enjoyed all my listens to this author’s work.  I’m more than halfway through the Temeraire series.  Uprooted is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks.  So I was very excited for Spinning Silver.  It did not disappoint.

Russian fairy tales set in a historic fantasy world are not pleasant places for women.  They have no rights, no choices. They are the property of men: their fathers, their husbands or their church.  They are told who to marry or sent to convents. If they marry, they become brood mares and servants unless their new husband is wealthy enough to have servants.

This type of setting generally makes me spitting mad. BUT, in this story, we have the tale of at least three main females, from all walks of life, who survive and overcome what life hands them. Wanda is the daughter of a drunk, whose mother has died. She doesn’t have enough to eat, works hard and gets beaten when he is drunk.  Miryem is the daughter of a moneylender, who is good at lending all their money but not collecting. So she is also hungry but has a home with a loving family.  Irina, is the loved daughter of a Duke, whose mother has died.  She is isolated with the new stepmother being the focus, but she has wealth enough to live comfortably.

There are many points of view in this story. The three main females primarily, but also Wanda’s little brother and Irina’s old servant. There are plenty of men who have a limited view of women but they learn. These women are strong, smart and so capable. That’s not to say it is easy. It is VERY hard. I love this kind of story with a strength of spirit where the characters learn and grow and fight to achieve their goals. While the men do so for power and wealth, the women do so to feed, nurture and protect those they love.


Lisa Flanagan did a very fine performance with all the voices. Both her male and female voices were good. It was especially important to have some differentiation in the three main females as then one can tell who is in this section of the story. The pacing was comfortable at 1.25 speed. Best of all, this was such an enjoyable presentation.

Listen to a clip here:

About Naomi Novik

An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, when she first made her way through The Lord of the Rings, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadow of Undrentide. Over the course of a brief winter sojourn spent working on the game in Edmonton, Canada (accompanied by a truly alarming coat that now lives brooding in the depths of her closet), she realized she preferred writing to programming, and on returning to New York, decided to try her hand at novels.

Naomi lives in New York City with her husband and six computers.

Rating Breakdown
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Narration (Audio)
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Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2018 Audiobook Challenge
  • 2018 New Release Challenge

Posted July 24, 2018 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 15 Comments

15 responses to “Audio: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

  1. Melliane

    I saw a book translated in French and when the published proposed me to read it I declined, now I think I should have tried

    • yes she is an amazing author. But sometimes these stories work better for me on audio as they are a bit grim. It’s only been out about 2 weeks.

  2. Sophia Rose

    I just realized that I have the first book in her Temaraire series. I love that this other series tackles Russian fairytales. I’ll have to mark this series for after I get going on the other.

    • This one is of the style of the Katherine Arden books but a different story. Temeraire is set during the Napoleanic wars in Europe and is fascinating. I have listened to 5 or 6 so far. The narrator is the awesome Simon Vance.

    • Naomi Novik does them well. The other series I have enjoyed is by Katherine Arden. It had a upiri which was a Kate Daniels villain. Women are not in a good place, though.

    • It isn’t really a series, although they are both Russian fairy tales. Uprooted is equally awesome.

  3. robin

    I really liked how strong the female characters were in this book and it was fantastic that for once not every woman was a stunning beauty that all the men fawn over. It was totally a great change to have average women with flaws be the heroes of the tale.

    • I hope you can find the audio. It was at my library but I bought it because I knew I would want it.