Spinning Silver

480p. Ballantine/Del Rey. Jul. 2018. Tr $28. ISBN 9780399180989.
OrangeReviewStarAlthough he's a moneylender, Miryem's compassionate father has allowed the villagers to avoid paying their debts while his own family starves in the cold. With her mother sick in bed, Miryem steels herself and travels door to door demanding payment. Though she faces prejudice and anger because of her gender and Jewish faith, tenacious Miryem soon takes over as town moneylender, earning a reputation as a shrewd businesswoman who can turn silver into gold. Hearing of her skill, a Staryk (cruel, fairylike creatures from the winter realm) lord visits Miryem and demands that she turn his silver into gold. If she succeeds, he will make her his queen, but if she fails, an icy death awaits. What starts as a quest to survive soon morphs into a mission to save the human and winter kingdoms. As with Uprooted, Novik infuses a fairy-tale concept with Eastern European traditions and weaves everything into a comfortingly familiar yet stunningly unique work. This magical tale is a story of strong women overcoming hardship through perseverance, intelligence, family, and faith. With each chapter told from a different perspective, this masterly work pulls readers into the characters' world, making it impossible not to root for them.
VERDICT Recommended for teens who love fairy tales and readers who appreciate complex, character-driven narratives that build slowly to a satisfying conclusion.

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