Verdict: This made me so happy.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Published by Pan Macmillan, July 12th, 2018
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 original fairy tale, Naomi Novik deftly interweaves six distinct narrative voices – each learning valuable lessons about sacrifice, power and love – into a rich, multi-layered fantasy.
I loved this. Reading it made me happy and by the end I was positively squealing. I enjoyed Uprooted and I loved this one, so I might actually have to read everything Naomi Novik has ever written.
This is a very loose retelling of Rumpelstilzchen which incorporates parts of other fairy tales as well – so I was always going to love it. I am such a huge fan of books written in this fairy-talesque manner and if they than are set in snowy, frozen parts of the world I am in reading heaven. The book’s atmosphere of winter and rural communities and fairy tale was just executed brilliantly and the hints of other stories made me very happy. The prose is stunning and fluid, the world imagined is vivid and wonderful, and the main three characters were absolutely brilliant.
Unlike Uprooted, this book is told from multiple perspectives, which I mostly adored. I thought the women at the center of this book were wonderfully drawn and I adored them all for different reasons but mostly for their refusal to be something they are not. Especially prickly Miryem and clever Irina had my hearts. I loved how resourceful the two were with the opportunities they had. I do think that sometimes the other perspectives could have been used more sparingly. There was one scene in particular towards the end of the book where I thought the voice chosen was unfortunate.
First sentence: “The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard.”
I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.