Storytime With Sophie: Gilded


Logan Cogley

Marissa Meyer’s new fantasy novel, Gilded re-tells the story of Rumpelstiltskin from a different point of view. Gilded is a refreshing new read, and captivating.

The familiar tale of spinning gold and deceit known as Rumpelstiltskin, is retold by well-known author Marrisa Meyer in Gilded. This novel came out Nov. 2, and is the first part of duology, with this book leaving readers with a cliffhanger, anxious to read more. No information has been released on when fans can expect the next installment to come out. Fans of Myers’ previous well known books, The Lunar Chronicles and Renegades, may be interested to read.

The novel focuses on Serilda and her experience interacting with the dark creatures of the world. Serilda was blessed by her world’s God of storytelling and lies prior to her birth, and thus, developed attributes in correspondence with the God. Growing up ostracized with unique black and gold eyes, and the inability to restrain from lying, Serilda often finds herself in troublesome situations.

The re-telling of well known fairy tales may be a somewhat redundant trend, but this novel does a good job of intriguing readers and providing a different perspective of the Rumpelstiltskin tale. The novel provides a more gory, mature, and thought-provoking take on a familiar childhood story. This depiction contains much more violence, and more unhappy, realistic endings.

The novel’s romantic aspect benefits the novel overall. The romance between the protagonist and her lover is well-developed, yet does not take away from Serilda’s own story and desires.

One of the novel’s biggest downfalls is its pacing. Most major events take place during the “Wild Hunt”, which only takes place on full moons. This creates a sense of lost time for the reader, where it is not specific as to what was going on in those multiple weeks between. At times, the novel progresses very slowly, and multiple chapters will go by, leaving the reader wondering if anything important has really happened at all.

Another challenge is the world Meyer chooses for the novel to take place in. The mythology is incredibly intricate and can be hard to follow at times. For example, there are multiple deities, as well as a plethora of monster-like creatures with elaborate names. The book has several ties to the German language and culture, but sometimes the specificity of the details in Myers’s world prove more taxing than interesting.

The German background also results in an underwhelming lack of diversity. While physical descriptions are not often provided, when given, the characters most regularly are lighter in skin tone. There is one queer couple, but it is not clear if this in an anomaly or accepted in this world. The deities are also described as using they/them pronouns, and not associating with any specific gender.

The characters are unique, with the main protagonist being a refreshing character amongst the young adult genre. Serilda is portrayed as being very independent, but also somewhat morally grey due to her profound and frequently used ability to lie.

The big plot twist in the final chapters of the book was very predictable, with clues that many readers would catch in the beginning of the novel. Considering that the novel is based on a predetermined work, readers may have some idea of the plot going into the novel, but it is unclear how closely Meyer’s will connect the next novel to the original story.

Those looking for a darker side to familiar stories from youth may enjoy Gilded. Despite its few flaws, the twists and turns as well as likeable characters are enough to get through the novel. Gilded leaves fans anticipating more, and wondering how Myers will choose to end the series.