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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Book Review: Gilded by Marisa Meyer

If you enjoy a story of magic, folklore and dark creatures from the Wild Hunt—but with a fairy tale twist—then Gilded, by Marissa Meyer, is the book for you. This YA novel, the first in a duology, came out in 2021, but it was new to me, and I’m glad I read it.

Serilda, our heroine, is a girl with very unusual eyes, who is “gifted” with the art of storytelling by a god. She’s also a liar, who is only accepted by a delightful gang of small children who live in a nearby village. She lives with her father, a miller, and although her mother was lost to the Wild Hunt many years before, Serilda and her dad are pretty happy.

Enter the Erlking and his hideous pack of beings from a dark court of cruelty. In a seemingly successful attempt to avoid the Wild Hunt, Serilda tells him she can spin gold from straw, and that’s when things really get going. Yep, this book is a “Rumpelstiltskin” retelling.

When we meet Gild, the ghost of a prince killed by the Erlking, we find Serilda’s love interest who also spins gold from straw for her. What happens afterwards is a dark but engrossing twist on the famous fairy tale. The bad guys are really bad.

But Serilda is a plucky heroine who never quite gives up. She learns and grows and begins to accept that she has a supernatural gift of her own, and that her stories have more power than she knows. Gilded is filled with good supporting characters and has a very well-built world.

This book is a dark fantasy story that nonetheless is not depressing. It’s an exciting, magical read that I think most fairy tale and fantasy fans will enjoy.

You can buy Gilded here.

Kate Wolford is editor-in-chief of The Fairy Tale Magazine.

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