Publishing November 2, 2021
Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting 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 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.
I… don’t quite know how to review this. It started out fabulously. I was SO hooked for the first, oh, 25-35% but then… I just lost interest. I was interested enough to keep listening, but when I put it down it was really hard to make myself pick it up again because I just stopped caring about any of the characters.
The main problem I think is that the story is too long and it really drags from maybe 35-70% and only gets somewhat interesting again toward the end. But… all the “twists” at the end are far too predictable and really I could see the whole thing coming much earlier. I was hoping there would be some surprise twists but…. nope. I’m also vaguely interested in the sequel just to know how it ends but more dreading it because the first should never have been spun out as long as it was and unless they introduce a whole lot of new information there isn’t nearly enough story left for a second book of this length. Really it should have been trimmed down and made into a standalone.
I loved the first part, with Serilda telling stories to the children, but I was never sold on the love story. It was like, “we’ve spent three nights together where I tell stories and he spins straw into gold and now we’re madly in love and can’t keep our hands off one another even though we’re both severely touch starved and really don’t know each other at all.” Like, they’ve hardly even talked to one another. And unfortunately the second half of the book focused rather heavily on the love story. Gild also has about as much personality as a potato, which is glaringly obvious when comparing him to Serilda, who has buckets of personality.
I don’t even need much obvious romance in a book to ship it — a hint here and there is plenty — but you’ve got to give me more to work with than a snatched few hours once a month, hardly any talking, and some frantic making out. A grand love story that is not.
The best moments were with the children and I really wish there had been more time spent with them.
*Thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan Audio for providing an audio arc for review.