Friday YA: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I love a fairy tale re-telling when I don’t remember the exact details of that fairy tale. It helps me get lost in the story instead of making comparisons to the original. Spinning Silver was a new take on the story Rumplestiltskin and about all I could remember from that story was that there was a girl that spun straw into gold and got her some unwanted attention. Our heroine Miryem has a talent for turning things into gold but it’s not by spinning straw. She is the daughter of a family of moneylenders, and while her father is horrible at collecting those dollars owed, Miryem excels at remaining cold to their customers excuses and keeps her hand out until it is filled. While walking home through the forest one day, she makes an off hand remark about being able to turn anything into gold and the Staryk overhear. The Staryk are a race of (for lack of a better term) ice people. They live in winter 24/7 and are the boogeymen of Miryem’s world. When she catches their attention she does what she does best. She gets them results and gets some unwanted attention in return.

Miryem is not the only main character of this book. It’s actually told through multiple POV’s and I’ll admit that that got a little confusing. Especially when a new POV was introduced and you spent a few paragraphs reading to try to figure out whose eyes you were seeing through this time. Each character had their own plot that spun and twisted together to combine into a satisfying conclusion to all of their storylines. I’ll admit to liking Miryem’s story the best, but maybe that’s because her POV was easy to spot.

The pace of this story helped the overall feeling that you were reading a fairy tale and the writing was well done. However, there was a lack of warmth for these characters. I so wanted to like them but something seemed to be missing. They were all so determined in their lives, but nothing seemed to make them very happy. Overall, even though there was a happy ending, I felt kind of unhappy about it all. That’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate the writing, the story had twists and turns that I didn’t expect and I certainly appreciated the craftsmanship of the author, but for me it lacked heart.

I have read nothing but great reviews for this novel, but because of that lack of warmth I could only give it a 3.5 rating. Sorry Naomi! However, as with all books reading is subjective and all of you may LOVE this book. Even though I am always right (not really), if you are interested in reading this book, please do! I would love to hear what you think. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Spinning Silver

Click this link to purchase!* Spinning Silver: A Novel

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

You know when you have a name that is on the tip of your tongue but you can’t recall the word? The story of Shahrzad was that tale that I knew I had heard before and as I started listening to the audio book I immediately searched for it. The re-telling of that story stays pretty close to the original. However, instead of a husband who has each wife killed as the sun rises to save himself from infidelity, our hero Khalid’s reason is a mystery for most of the book. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give it away here in my review. It is not because he is trying to save himself from the hurt infidelity brings, it’s a more “honorable” reason. If you can call having hundreds of women killed, honorable. When our heroine, Shahrzad volunteers to be the kings next wife, she surprises everyone. Why would you volunteer to die? That reason is what is at the heart of this story, and she and Khalid’s budding relationship is what kept me listening.

Not only is Shahrzad a great storyteller, keeping Khalid hanging on the plot each night, she is the type of heroine that I enjoy reading about. She is strong, willful, smart, and emotional. Shazi’s original intent for volunteering is soon betrayed by her feelings. How can someone fall in love with a man who has had so many women killed? Her internal struggle was riveting.

Taking place in Persia when women were seen behind screens and through wispy bits of fabric, Renee Ahdieh modernized this version allowing Shazi to be bold and adventurous. Her King, Khalid, seemed to actually be more reserved and traditional than she, but as we get to know his reasons for his actions, we see why she would be attracted to him. That reserve was self protecting. I couldn’t really see how this novel could have a happy ending, and just as in one of Shahrzad’s own tales, I was left wanting more.

The narrator for this story, Ariana Delawari, took a more traditional route for her storytelling. She did a straight read, delivering emotion well, but not really changing her voice for the different characters. Once I got used to her style I found that this really fit the pace of the novel. This isn’t a story that you rip through. You need to enjoy the flavors, sights and smells of Persia through this authors words without any special effects to detract from them. I really enjoyed listening to it and will also listen to the sequel too. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Wrath

Click this link to purchase!*The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

When her father goes bankrupt, Yeva, her father, and her sisters have to sell off all of their wealth and move back in to the rundown hunting cabin he owned prior to marrying their mother. He is determined to build back up their wealth by tracking and hunting the fantastical creatures of the forest he taught Yeva about in her childhood. Instead on of those beasts ends up killing him instead. Yeva, nicknamed beauty by her father, goes off on a hunt of her own finding much more than she’d bargained for.

As you can guess, this is a fairy-tale retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast- but with a twist. Meagan Spooner sets her Beauty in Russia and fills her tale with Russian folk tales that embodies this tale with life beyond a Beauty falling in love with her Beast in a broken down castle. In her captivity, Yeva keeps herself sane by telling her captor every story she can remember turning her dark and dank cell into multi-hued world, if just for a moment. As she spends more time with her Beast, she see’s through his outer appearance to see the humanity within him, realizing he may be one of her tales turned to life.

I am not sure why it took me so long to read this book other than I had a ton of fairy-tale re-tellings on my list and even though I’d heard this one was very good, I thought I knew the story of Beauty and the Beast. However, the Russian folk stories gave life to this Beauty and the Beast and I really liked the world Meagan Spooner built for the setting. I liked the Beast’s origin story and the journey Yeva had to take, both internal and external, to save him from becoming a true Beast gave more meat to the romantic musical that Disney made popular. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Click this link to purchase!* Hunted

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate