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POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Seventeen

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful week! I have to confess, it feels very weird to be posting a POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update on a Friday. But since tomorrow is going to be devoted to the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, I wanted to make sure that I took the opportunity to publish this week’s update before the Readathon commanded all of my attention.

A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the title…

I only had the opportunity to read one book for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge this week, which was Spinning Silver. The author, Naomi Novik, also wrote Uprooted, which I discussed in a previous POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update. While Spinning Silver‘s cover art is reminiscent of Uprooted, it is not a sequel, but a standalone novel that takes place in a very different setting.

Spinning Silver tells the story of a young woman named Miryem, who is the daughter of a moneylender. Her father, though he is a very kind man, is not a particularly successful businessman. When concern for her mother’s health prompts Miryem to take over her father’s business, she does extremely well; not only managing to save her family from crippling poverty, but making them very wealthy.

Miryem’s success causes her to make a dangerous boast about her ability to turn silver into gold, which is overheard by the king of a race of beings known as the Staryk. The Staryk are known and feared for their icy nature and their ruthless obsession with acquiring gold. After overhearing her claims, the Staryk’s king tells Miryem that she must change silver into gold for him three times. If she fails, he will turn her to ice…but if she succeeds, he will make her his queen.

This was my second time reading Spinning Silver, and I actually found that I enjoyed it even more than I did the first time. Though the book is largely about Miryem, there are two other characters that are just as important. The first is Wanda, who begins working for Miryem to pay off her father’s debts. The second is Irina, the daughter of a duke, who finds herself married off to the tsar, a man possessed by a cruel demon that wants to drain away her life. The stories of all three women unfold and intertwine over the course of the book, and the narrative frequently switches between their perspectives (and those of a few other characters), even within chapters.

I’m not usually a fan of books that have frequent perspective changes, but these changes actually work very well in Spinning Silver. The author’s use of first-person point of view also allows the reader to get a better sense of each character’s motivations, something which becomes increasingly important as the book progresses.

As always, I do think it is important to provide warnings when a book contains content that could trigger emotional distress. Spinning Silver contains several instances of domestic abuse, including a parent who physically abuses his children when drunk. There are also references to animal cruelty that is carried out by a child.

If you decide to give Spinning Silver a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I never fail to be impressed by Naomi Novik’s ability to craft amazing stories and characters, and I can’t wait until her newest book (A Deadly Education) comes out at the end of September.

Tomorrow is the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be part of something that promises to be a lot of fun. While most of the day will be spent reading, I will be posting about my Readathon experience on The Unapologetic Bookworm and on Twitter. If you would like to follow my progress on Twitter, you can find me @UnapologBkworm. Updates may be a little more frequent on Twitter, but new blog posts will also be showing up throughout the day, so I hope you will stop by frequently to check out new content.

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