A Rumpelstiltskin Retelling- A Review

Gilded by Marissa Meyers

Publication Date: November 2, 2021

Summary from NetGalley:

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.

ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

Rumpelstiltskin was always a fairy tale that intrigued me. It is a little bit of a mystery, who is this mysterious man, and a little bit of a love story, with a little rags to riches story thrown into the mix. What was he going to do with that first born child anyways? That was the big question in my mind. We now have the answers to some of those questions and then some from this wonderful retelling.

I really enjoyed this retelling for the most part. It got a little bogged down in the middle and it is perhaps a shade too long. But I can forgive all that for the wonderful characters and the story that the author has created here.

I really liked Serilda. She is a tragic character that seems to have bad things happen to those around her, despite her good intentions. She also made some decisions that she knew were bad, but made them anyways. Her stories were wonderful though and she was incredibly brave in standing up to the Erlking. I also liked that even though she was repulsed by the ghosts in the castle, she was also sympathetic to them and to the horrible ways in which they died. She is a very loving and giving person, and will do anything to help someone in distress.

Gild was perhaps my favorite character. I just adored him and his pranks and how much he loved annoying the Erlking. His backstory is revealed slowly throughout the book even though neither he nor Serilda realize that it is his story. I loved the innocent nature of him and how tentatively he approached the relationship he develops with Serilda.

The Erlking was just ghastly and I loved to hate him. He was cruel for the sake of being cruel and really despicable. Many of the dark ones that helped him were also quite nasty and cruel. But it was interesting how easily Serilda was able to manipulate him at times.

The overall plot of the story was well done, but there were times when it lagged energy and got bogged down in minutiae. For example, the pages long descriptions of places that Serilda visited. I appreciate the world building and the descriptions, but it slowed the story down quite a bit. I won’t go into the plot much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really liked how Serilda’s stories became intertwined with the rest of the story. There are some rather gruesome deaths, which happen off page, but were rather hard to take as they involved characters Serilda cared very much for.

I had thought this was going to be a stand alone, until I got towards the end and realized that there was no way to wrap this story up in one book. No timeline that I could find about the next book and when we might expect it. But it will be one of my most anticipated reads whenever it comes. I really am looking forward to how this is all going to work out for Gild and Serilda. A wonderfully dark retelling of a fairytale that I think you will enjoy.

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