After Uprooted, I immediately looked for more books by Naomi Novik. I found and read Spinning Silver, and it is just as engrossing, graceful and brilliant as Uprooted.

The books are like sisters – similar in some ways, different in other. In structure, this one is less straightforward and more messy and sprawling. In content, Spinning Silver is also a melding of fairy tales: spinning silver into gold like in Rumpelstiltskin, a fairy king who steals a human girl away, a fire demon who eats souls, etc. The enemy this time isn’t intent on devouring the land, but on bringing on a never-ending winter.

The heroines in this book are more ordinary but at the same time more heroic. They have no magical powers, but they work harder at protecting and saving those they love.

That is what much of this book is about: hard, painful work for the sake of your loved ones. It’s about the heroism of quiet strength rather than spectacular magic. About the pain of being unloved, and the growth that love can bring about. Not romantic love, mind you, but love for one’s family and people.

I wish she had written more like these two, but instead the rest of her work is “Napoleonic wars with dragons”. Too bad.