Hey friends! Back at you with another review this week! Today I’m sharing my review of “Gilded” by Marissa Meyer, which came out this last Tuesday.
An eARC was provided to me by Macmillan via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out the official synopsis, my review, and a bit about the author!
Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
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.
I have been waiting for a long time for Marissa Meyer to return to the world of fairy tale retellings. The Lunar Chronicles were such a huge part of my teens and young adulthood, so when I heard she was diving back in with a brand new retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin,” I was immediately excited. However, upon finishing “Gilded,” I have somewhat mixed feelings.
Let me start off by saying that it’s clear Marissa Meyer did her research with “Gilded.” There are many callbacks to the original tale and she even included some aspects of other German folklore into the story to add to the plot. Marissa Meyer is also an excellent writer and story teller, which, being that our main character is a storyteller, made those aspects of the story that much more magical and believable.
Now, where my mixed feelings come into play, is the fact that “Gilded” was so long. Almost unnecessarily so? The first hundred pages were inviting and whimsical and kept me looking forward to more. But the thing with “Rumpelstiltskin” is that it’s a short fairy tale. I do think adding in other bits of German folklore massively helped add something new to the story and keep the plot overall engaging. But eventually the story did begin to feel dragged out and repetitive due to Serilda, our main character, being called to spin straw into gold every full moon. While the original story is also repetitive with Rumpelstiltskin coming back daily when the miller’s daughter needs to spin straw into gold, having the story extended over 500 pages like “Gilded” is, doesn’t make it as fun to read. I know Serilda is going to be called back by the Erlking because I know the story of “Rumpelstiltskin.” After the second time she gets called back on a full moon, it sort of felt like just a bunch of everyone waiting around for the Erlking to return again.
One other thing that has me really in my mixed feelings is the romance. We instantly know that Gild is going to be a romantic interest for Serilda, and while I really do like Gild and the two of them together, I realistically feel like there simply wasn’t enough of them together to really sell that they’re in love. They meet a handful of times for a few hours? I don’t know, maybe this is an aspect of the story where I simply need to suspend my disbelief since this is a fairy tale retelling. In fairy tales, insta-love is quintessential. Maybe I’ll give it a pass?… Now do you see why I have such mixed feelings?
Overall, I didn’t hate “Gilded.” In fact, the story itself, I loved. It was magical and whimsical and dark and twisted. The characters are enjoyable, even the evil ones, and there is so much promise with how much information we are given. It almost feels like “Gilded” was one big set up for the next book–which we are absolutely getting because nothing major wrapped up in this first one. I almost get “A Court of Thorns and Roses” vibes from “Gilded.” Not at all from anything having to do with the plot, but with how ACOTAR was its own story, that then very clearly became a book that was meant to set up the actual story.
Anyway, my mixed feelings with “Gilded” stand. I don’t completely hate it, but I don’t completely love it as much as I expected to. I will however, definitely be checking out the next book because I am interested in seeing how this story ends.
3/5 stars ★★★☆☆
About The Author
Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless, The Renegades Trilogy, and Instant Karma, as well as the graphic novel duology Wires and Nerve. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and a MA in Publishing from Pace University. In addition to writing, Marissa hosts The Happy Writer podcast. She lives near Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters.