Monday, 13 December 2021


It’s not often I do write-ups on The Pewter Wolf Reads about books/audiobooks I quit (or DNF [Did Not Finish]). And if I do, I usually only write my thoughts on Goodreads (mainly because so I remember why I quit or because it’s a review copy and I want to show publishers via NetGalley that “hey, look, I did try and read it. Why aren’t my Did Not Finish review not affecting my Reading Percentage, NetGalley [hint hint!]?”). But mainly, us book bloggers don’t exactly practice what we preach about reading for pleasure and quitting when we’re not enjoying it. Though we are getting better.

But Gilded by Marissa Meyer, I wanted to talk about because while I did quit this around the halfway mark (57%, I believe) and I borrowed the audiobook from the library and had this on double speed (something I rarely do), I do think some of you guys will really like this book. I mean, this is a fairy tale reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin – I already know most of you guys love a good fairy tale retelling.

Serilda is a miller’s daughter who can’t stop telling stories (well, she was cursed by the god of stories and lies). When she is caught out one night, she tells a story to keep herself from getting killed – that she’s out to collect straw so she can turn to gold, she catches the attention of the Erlking who, every full moon, takes her to his castle and demands to spin straw into gold – or be killed for lying. Desperate, Serilda accidently summons a mystery of a young man who can spin straw into gold – for a price. Magic always demand payment. As the two spend time together, they form a connection and wonder why the Erlking wants so much gold. For the Erlking has plans… dark plans and Serilda has found herself at the heart of it.

Now, in theory, this is right up my street. A YA fairytale retelling (with just enough darkness at its heart and yet, a romance to keep things light) with hints of other fairytales (I keep thinking this had dashes of Beauty and the Beast thrown in, and strong Once Upon A Time vibe) with strong writing and other elements that should have ticked all my boxes.

And yet… I quit the book around the halfway mark. Not because the book is bad – it isn’t, and I do think most of you guys will enjoy reading this. But, the book had two issues that didn’t work for me as reader and now that I’m typing, I now realise that these were the same issues I had when I tried to read another retelling from this author a few years, Heartless – a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Heart: book felt too long and repetition.

I get why: most of the story takes place on night of the full moon so, of course, there’s going to be repetition over how the characters react, their actions and whatnot – hence the issue of length. The chapters of the full moon have to be long and with the story going in the direction it’s going, it’s needs that length. However, this is the first in a series (duology?), so if these issues are here now with me, I sense I’m going to have these issues in the next book. Which then leads to a question every reader ask them when starting a new series: do I want/need to continue?

For me, the answer’s no. But I have read several reviews from book bloggers I like and respect, and their answer is yes. Not every book is going to work for every reader.

But I did try to read this, and there are elements I do like and I will recommend this book to readers. It’s just that this book didn’t work for me, sadly.

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