Marissa Meyer’s books have a special place in my heart. I once did a casual cosplay of Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles with a few friends for a con, and I remember how me and one of my best friends scoured every single English language bookshop in Rio de Janeiro for the new Marissa Meyer book that was supposed to come out the week we were there. We did not find it, but we had a great time. So to say I was excited to read another fairy-tale inspired book by her is an understatement – I love retellings and have been on a binge recently so this came at a perfect time.
Many thanks to Bethany at Faber for sending me a shiny ARC (she is the most wonderful ARC packager, they are always wrapped amazingly!). All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 02/11/2021
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: 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. Love isn’t meant to be part of the bargain.
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. (from Faber Children’s)
OPINIONS: I really really enjoyed this one. Serilda is a fantastic YA heroine – she is a storyteller first and foremost, and most definitely not the meek and obedient type. She is unashamedly herself, even when it brings her into situations that aren’t the most comfortable. She talks big game and then is stumped when she actually has to follow up on her words and that makes her so damn charming – we don’t see girls like her enough. That kind of talking confidence is all too often reserved for guys. But she breaks those stereotypes, and ends up making deals with a king and a demon that have her in over her head.
And despite all of this, she is smart. All that she can rely on are her wits, as she doesn’t really have anything but that. And somehow, she needs to get out of that situation she talked herself into. Gilded is a compelling story, and while yes, it is inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, it is also something wholly its own. Meyer takes this story and crafts it into something both modern and ethereal, perfect for the boom in retellings we are currently experiencing and hitting on a lot of elements that work well for the older YA audience.
I can see Gilded doing really well once it is released next month. It is not a perfect book – I thought the pacing wasn’t quite right, and some parts were a tad too long and started dragging a bit – but it is a very solid one with characters I fell for. I am already looking forward to rereading it. If you’re into retellings, character-driven fantasy and smart-talking girls, then this one is for you.