Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
I absolutely loved reading this book! It was a little bit harder getting into in then her previous books, because while I approve of Miryem stepping up to be the moneylender, well, it made her cold. And it was the set up of the world, and once things got going, they were like light-speed!
This book is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. I think it's set in our world, with there being Jews and Tsars and such. I loved how it was all put together, that Miryem was the Rumpelstiltskin, and the anti-Semitic views of those that were lent money. It really made me angry that she had to face that! She was hard to be a moneylender, but she was fair. There was the whole turning silver into gold thing, and the importance of names. Loved how the different parts of the story were expressed!
There were two things that I really enjoyed about this book. The world building, and the chosen POV's that we got. The world building, wow, it was absolutely amazing! Sure, I don't think we got half of the details, like where the Staryk came from, but what we got, combined with the writing was lush and so exciting to be in!
And the different POV's, they worked so well together. We had 3 main ones, Miryem the moneylender, Wanda whose dad got indebted to Miryem and so had his daughter work off his debt, and Irina the daughter of a Duke. Besides the obvious connection between Miryem and Wanda, these girls weren't connected at all. They all had different stations in life, and it was interesting to see what each girl worried about, what their lives were like, and how different they were. And as the story wove their different parts together, it exemplified the saying, "the sum is more than it's parts." The parts were excellent, but the whole, it just blew me away!
Miyrem was really smart, and she faced a lot of adversity, as a Jew and as a moneylender. But with each threat, she used her wits, and came up with some pretty elegant solutions. From the 3 times of making silver into gold, to the 3 days to turn 3 different rooms worth of silver into gold, she is smart, and I loved that! And her interactions with the Staryk lord, yeah, those were so fun to read!
Irina was smart as well. She was married to the Tsar, and somehow knew that there was something wrong with him. I loved how she manipulated him, and how well she used her knowledge of politics as a weapon!
When the book was gearing up for Miyrem and Irina's big plan, I was like, oh, no, things aren't going to go smoothly, because there was still about 100 pages left. And yeah, it didn't turn out to be the final battle, that came later. But it all came together so well, and it was so clever! Really enjoyed it all, and that ending was just amazing!
Loved reading this book, it was so fabulous, and I can't wait to read more by Naomi Novik!
Author: Naomi Novik
Read: July 12th, 2018
Reason Why: Love her writing, and it's a 2018 Retelling Reading Challenge Book, SAC 2018 Book and a WoW Book!
Publisher: Del Rey
Published: July 10th 2018