Gilded Review

Reviewer: Sowmya, @Bookishelflife
Release Date: November 2, 2021

Rating: 4.5/5


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.
Bookishelflife Review:
Everyone knows Marissa Mayer is the Queen of Fairytale retellings but what I loved about this particular book is that she picked up Rumplestiltskin, an underrated Fairytale in the literary world to whip her magic wand and spin an amazing tale out of it. Gilded starts with Serilda an 18 year old who is considered as bad luck in her small town, 1)she has golden spokes around her pupils because she is blessed by God Of Lies-a trickster God and 2)she spins the most outrageous tales which are shunned as lies and dangerous.The only allies she has are town's children who are utterly bewitched by her stories, Serilda's stories within this story are quite interesting and the way they are interwoven into the actual plot is exemplary!

Serilda's character is a wild mix of an adventurous and eccentric spirit, who gets in trouble because she has a rather curious mind- did the curiosity get this cat killed? well it didn't, but she lands in a bizarre situation that catches the attention of the most feared Erlking,The dark king of the wild hunt- someone who is mostly a figment of fiction to a lot of people in the real world but is still feared by everyone, and I would say,rightfully so. While trying to outsmart the Erlking, she spins a tale about herself that she is Goddess blessed and can spin straw into real Gold.

This leads her to her predicament because the Erlking summons her the next full moon obviously to demand her to spin mounds of straw into Gold which is when this fair damsel meets a lonely spirit in the haunted castle-Gild, her unexpected alley and the only person who can get her out of her predicament. However, it certainly cannot be a one time things she really wants to get out of the situation alive so deals are struck and locked away which may or may not end up in Serilda’s favor. Gild is a someone who readers will develop instant liking towards and I cannot wait to learn more about him in the next book, he is sweet yet an intriguing character that certainly has secrets of his own

"That can't be a surprise. A mysterious stranger who appears magically whenever a fairdamsel is in need of rescuing? Who dresses like a drunker earl, but can create gold at his fingertips. Who is flippant and aggravating, but somehow charming too. When he wants to be"

The Chemistry between Gild and Serilda is funny, full of banter and super slow burn. On the other hand the plot, execution and the world is whimsically dark and mysterious, oftentimes straight up creepy and scary- An eerie castle that only comes alive on certain full moon days? gruesome beasts that should only exist in nightmares? Ghosts that are known as dark one's? deadly bargains that might cost you your soul? Gilded has everything an "adult" fairytale needs, utterly enchanting with a distinctive narrative style which only Marissa Mayer can flawlessly deliver, the book is going to charm so many fantasy lovers when it hits the shelves!
Favorite Quote: "But there are two sides to every story. The hero and the villain. The dark and the light. The blessing and the curse"
Treasure Found: The World Building with a lot of stories within stories- some magical, some dark!

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