Gilded: Gilded, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Marissa Meyer, number one New York Times best-selling author, returns to the fairytale world with this retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
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 realises 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.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 34 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||02 November 2021|
|Publisher||Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 19,773 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
35 in Paranormal Romance for Teens
104 in Fairy Tale & Folklore Adaptations for Young Adults
126 in Dark Fantasy for Young Adults
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Top reviews from Australia
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The story is very dark and magical especially with the gothic, German setting. There were so many interesting and creepy beings woven into this story that felt very reminiscent of old school fairytales and I loved it. It made me want to look more into German folklore! You could see how much research the author put into her story.
I enjoyed the romance between Serilda and Gild and couldn’t help but root for them! I can’t wait for the sequel.
Marissa Meyer’s novel covers six moon cycles. Each full moon features a wild hunt, when the dark ones from the underworld and the tethered souls of mortals slip through the veil between the worlds, seeking prey of earthly and magical creatures. An endless moon—a full moon coinciding with a solstice—provides the highest hunting prizes, as this is the only time the seven gods can enter the mortal realm. A wounded god can grant a wish for anything, something the dark ones greedily covet.
Serilda, a miller’s daughter, lies to the antagonist, the Erlking, about her ability to spin straw into gold. Thus begins the parallel with Rumpelstiltskin: three times Serilda is summoned to the Dark Lord’s castle to spin straw, three gifts she gives to the Gilded Ghost who performs the gold-spinning for her. The rule of three technique continues in the three key male figures surrounding Serilda: her father the miller, the evil Erlking and her saviour Gild. After Serilda has pawned the only precious things she has the audience wonders what she can bargain, because ‘all magic requires payment, to keep our worlds in balance’. Following Rumpelstiltskin the first-born child seems next: how will this play out with only a few more moons in the page count?
Gilded is more than a re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin. The success of fantasy depends on credible world-building. Meyer excels in her construction: opening the cover of this book is akin to entering a portal into an ethereal realm, into which the audience is drawn deeply by its exquisite descriptions and unlikely romance. Attractive design features enhance this otherworldly ambience.
Specific word choices develop the mystique: settings include Märchenfeld (Fairytale Field), Verloren (Lost) and Asyltal (Asylum Valley). German words integrated alongside original language build atmosphere with a syntax and rhythm common to the fairytale genre. German speakers will enjoy revealing the secrets woven into the names, thereby adding extra depth to the plot.
Through the gods the author provides a modern take on gender by employing the pronoun ‘they’, as ‘sometimes a god might be both a boy and a girl ... sometimes, neither.’ Acknowledging that ‘mortals … put limitations on [them]selves’ the question is posed: ‘if you were a god ... would you limit yourself?’.
As the stakes rise for Serilda the audience is taken to both sides of the veil at electrifying speed. Life imitates art as the reader experiences the dislocation and disorientation the protagonist feels when the consequences of chosen actions reinforce her growing realisation that ‘the [Erlking’s] castle [is] dangerous, no matter which side of the veil’. Serilda discovers the true power of story: can she determine her own ending by deliberately directing the plot? After all, she is ‘cursed by the god of lies, who … [is] as much the god of truths’.
Meyer’s open ending provides optimal foundations for a sequel, something readers will surely welcome from the bestselling author of the five-part Lunar Chronicles series and Renegades trilogy.
The narrative started out slowly, but picked up about a quarter of the way in. World-building is well done, without becoming overwhelming. However, the inclusion of a map would have helped with imagining the locations in relation to each other.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and am looking forward to the next in the series.
Top reviews from other countries
This is my review of Gilded by Marissa Meyer
This is a new series by the author of the Lunar Chronicles which are a series of fairy-tale retellings set in space. This time we are in a new fantasy setting based on the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin. Once again this author has taken a well-loved tale and made it a unique and wonderful tale. The story is charming as a prince and completely magical. The characters are both engaging and rememberable. I cannot wait to continue the series and to be back in this world once again.
Highly recommend it if you enjoy reading fantasy retellings of classic fairy tales.
Loved the beautiful, assured use of language and how the story was told.
And now, of course, I cannot wait to see how the story continues in book 2.