Gilded (Gilded Duology #1)
Feiwel & Friends
Published November 2, 2021
Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller’s daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.
Or so everyone believes.
When one of Serilda’s outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price.
Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.
Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
I think what makes this book really cool is that, just like with her Lunar Chronicles, Meyer creates a whole world in which the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin takes place. The major points of the story exist in her story world, but there’s so much more breadth and depth around them. All that background or world building explains why the story happens the way it does, which I think is really cool.
Whereas the Lunar Chronicles exists in a sci-fi universe, GILDED takes place in a much more traditional fairytale world. A world with witches, curses, and a wild hunt that takes place every full moon.
I liked the characters, especially (of course) Serilda and Gild. Some of the elements of the story seemed obvious to me early on, but because this is a fairytale retelling, I feel like that’s okay? They were things beyond the Rumpelstiltskin elements, so I don’t want to spoil anything by saying more.
Overall, though, I found it easy to get lost in the lush fairytale world of GILDED and really enjoyed the story, especially the romance between Serilda and Gild.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white. There are a couple of minor characters, two women, who are attracted to one another.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex.
The story contains magical creatures, ghosts, and magic. There are seven gods, and they can present as any gender they choose. They’re generally referred to with they/them pronouns. The Erlking binds ghosts to his service. They must obey his commands. He and the rest of his court are made up of Dark Ones, or servants of the god of death who’ve escaped his domain.
Situations of peril. Serilda witnesses ghosts reliving brutal deaths. At one point, a gruesome zombie-like creature attacks her. She discovers the young bodies of victims of the hunt, their hearts torn out.
Serilda drinks a potion which makes her appear dead for a time.
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