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Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Ghosts, gore, and gilded objects. Plus a little romance on the side. What more could you want from one of Marissa Meyer’s amazing fairytale twists, this time on the haunting story of Rumplestiltskin.

There has never been a Marissa Meyer novel I haven’t liked and Gilded is no exception. Perhaps it is the fact that the story is a fairytale twist (my absolute favorite kind of book) or maybe it is the medieval kind of setting with castles, wagons, and little towns.

Whatever it is, Marissa Meyer outdoes herself with her return to retellings.

The book tells the story of Serilda (an excellent start with a gorgeous character name) who lives in Märchenfeld.

Sidenote: did you know that Märchenfeld means fairytale feild? I noticed the word when reading the book due to the first portion of it: “Märchen.” In my own world, the time period is called “Märchen Zeit” (fairytale time). So the name of Serilda’s town stood out to me. How funny is that??

Of course, Serilda doesn’t get to live in her little town for long. It should be noted that Serilda is the goddaughter of the god of fortune…and lies. She is excellent at spinning tales of deceit so when the Earl King (a nasty king of ghosts from the underworld only allowed out of his mysterious palace on full moons and solstices) comes knocking at her door looking for the forest people she’s hidden, she spins a tale, telling him she’s collecting hay under the full moon, in the snow, to spin into gold. He later kidnaps her to have her do just that.

Thankfully Serilda is saved by the mysterious Gild who lives in the Earl King's palace and happens to be able to spin hay into gold. But Serilda begins to see there is more to the palace than she expected, more to Gild than she sees, and a mystery she must solve to save herself and the kingdom.

The story is enticing, to say the least. It is very different from any story that Meyer has written before. Not only is it actually set in a medieval time period (Marissa Meyer’s previous retellings were, of course, set in a sci-fi future that involved space travel) but it is hauling with ghosts, gore, and mystery beyond anything Meyer has written before. It is not necessarily surprising. I as the reader wasn’t any more surprised by things in the book than I waist previous books (not to say I wasn’t surprised at all, just not any more so than previous books). Instead, the mystery relates more to the feel of the book.

This is also the first book where Meyer has revealed her characters having sex. The scene is not explicit no is it written out in detail but it is made very clear that the characters have sexual relations. If any of her other characters have done so, we aren’t made aware of it whatsoever. We can only assume that Scarlet and Wolf, Cinder and Kai, and so on either had or didn’t have relations with each other. In this book, there are no assumptions.

That being said, I didn’t have a problem with Meyer including this detail. After all, it is somewhat important to the storyline of the Rumplestiltskin tale. As a whole, while the book was incredibly different from any of her other books, it was just as good as any other Meyer book. I would still prefer the Lunar Chronicles series above all else but would probably say this was the second-best Marissa Meyer book series (after all, there is a second book coming so it will be a series).

And that second book has just been revealed to be called Cursed. The book is set to be released on the 8th of November next year and will hopefully answer some of the dramatic questions that are left unanswered at the end of Gilded. Meyer strikes again with her cliffhangers that leave the reader begging for more and drooling as they wait an entire year for the release of the next novel in the series.

This year, the preorder system set up for Gilded was lacking despite the awesome gifts offered. Four gifts were offered for those who preordered their books by a certain time and from an “Indie” (independent) bookstore. I ordered from a lovely bookstore called “Words Matter.” The store is in New Jersey and not only provided excellent service but also changed the address when I discovered I would be at a different house for two weeks during the time of the release. They also sent me a cute postcard with my order which I saved (you can never have too many bookmarks!). I would definitely recommend ordering from them.

Unfortunately, though I paid more money to order from Words Matter so that I could receive the Gilded enamel pin when I received my preorder package, the envelope was open and only the bookmark and poster were inside. Fiercereads would not get back to me and Macmillian only said to contact Fiercereads. So while I loved the book, I had an unfortunate experience with the preorder campaign this year.

I would 100% recommend reading this new book by Marissa Meyer and even ordering the next one as it comes out next year (I’m sure you’ll understand why when you read the cliffhanger of Gilded). Enjoy the spooky Rumplestiltskin twist and the stunning cover art.

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