A unique twist on the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale!
Miryem is the daughter and grand-daughter of moneylenders. Her grandfather is very successful in this business but her father unfortunately isn’t so much. 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. She quickly turns their troubles around and makes a reputation for herself. One day she boasts of being able to turn silver into gold and is overheard by a Staryk, one of the magical men who live in the forest and who rape and plunder for gold.
This was very immersive! I could see the foundations of the original story there but it was completely turned on its head which made me more invested. I didn’t quite know where the story was going to go next or how it would circle back to the original but boy did it!
Miryem was a little forgetful as a main female protagonist to be quite honest. I liked her initiative and her ability to trade up and earn more money for her family but there wasn’t much other than that that really swayed me to her. I much preferred Irina’s drive and her cunning as opposed to Miryem. Though I thought the two contrasted well with each other.
I like the way the story unfolded. It took me a minute to get situated into the plot, I was a little bored at first, but the action and the intrigue definitely picks up and kept me engaged. The whole storyline with Irina & Mirnatius was so very compelling. I loved the banter between the two and to see Irina evolve as a character from the forgotten daughter of a Duke to a Tsarina was wonderful to read. I really dismissed her as an insignificant character at the start of the book but she really bloomed and caught me off guard with her calculating ways.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but it took me by surprise. It was a bit of a slow start but I was ended up really enjoying the storyline and the setting. The Staryk’s and their magic was very unique and I liked the fact that there was the Chernobog to oppose their might. You didn’t quite know who to barrack for in the situation and it made it a lot more interesting because of it!
⭐️4/5 Slow build into a fantastical tale!