I knew it was time to read Gilded now that Cursed is out and my library hold is going to be ready within a few weeks. I have consumed everything by Meyer on audiobook after discovering Rebecca Soler as her long time narrator. I have no regrets at any point in this arrangement as I loved both author & narrator through Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles and beyond.
Anyway, it was a fun diversion to listen while flying last week. Let’s take a look at the book and then I’ll share my thoughts..
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Gilded
- Series: Gilded #1 (Duology)
- Author: Marissa Meyer
- Publisher & Release: Feiwel & Friends, 2021
- Length: 512 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fans of dark fairy tales and retellings
A Quick note on the audio: 16 hours long and narrated by the ever excellent Rebecca Soler. Released in 2021 through MacMillan Audio / MacMillan Young Listeners. On narration alone I give her a full ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Here’s the synopsis via Am*zon:
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 think it’s fair to begin by saying that Gilded is darker and more along the lines of Heartless and other more typical fantasy books, than say, The Lunar Chronicles was. Gilded is obviously a Rumpelstiltskin retelling and by far one of the darkest YA books I’ve ever read. Meyer brings in other such lore as The Wild Hunt & The Erlking in order to create a wild fairytale world full of ghosts, curses, undead, trickster gods, and more.
It’s really a dark fairytale in every sense of the genre, and I’m here for it.
Stories about stories are some of my favorite plot lines. I can’t go into detail without spoilers so I’ll just say that I loved Meyer’s attention to the storytelling and exploration of story itself, and *the twist* was perfect.
I immensely enjoyed the plot although I felt that 500+ pages was way too long. I liked the lore and stories about the realm and meeting the kids and all the other mystic creatures and world building, but 500 pages just felt like it dragged at times. I think it’s more noticeable in fairytale retellings too where we know the bare bones of the plot already. On audio I was ok but I could see where, on page, I would have been glazing over a bit.
The characters are pretty amazing too, I just love all of Meyer’s characters and how Soler brings them to life. Serilda took a bit to warm up to but eventually I liked her, and was all about Gild. The kids are cute and seem well written for their ages.
Content wise… a few things besides the length affected the rating. Meyer got to mildly touching on a few topics that I haven’t seen in her books before. Feiwel & Friends is usually good about this but they’re advertising age 12 at the lowest while the book contains mostly fade to black baby making (pools of sunshine and all that), children being found with their hearts eaten out, killing undead fathers, and other horrors… So … Idk, parents use caution.
For me though as an adult I enjoyed the book. Usually Meyer sticks to pretty age appropriate content but as I said, this is a more typical dark fantasy novel than her others.
Overall I think it’s great for those who like characters and curses, stories about stories, dark fairy tales, a twist of romance, and everything else we have come to expect from Meyer.
Thanks for checking out my book and audiobook review of Gilded by Marissa Meyer. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Cursed soon. I listened through Libby and as always, all thoughts are my own.