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Publishers Weekly Review
Meyer (Instant Karma) explores the power of fiction in this inventive "Rumpelstiltskin" reimagining. Every full moon, the sadistic Erlking and his undead coterie enter the mortal realm to steal wandering children and hunt magical creatures. Pale-skinned Serilda Moller, 18, knows to remain indoors on such nights, but when she hears hellhounds chasing two moss maidens near her family's cabin in Marchenfeld, she feels compelled to intervene. Serilda successfully secrets the duo into the root cellar but is then confronted by the Erlking. Rather than betray the maidens, Serilda--a spellbinding storyteller with gold wheels for irises--falsely asserts that she is harvesting straw to spin into gold. The Erlking departs, but on the next full moon, abducts Serilda to his castle, where he locks her in a cell piled with hay and threatens murder if her claims prove false. Serilda is despondent until a pale, redheaded teen called Gild appears and offers to complete her impossible task--for a price. Intricate worldbuilding and star-crossed romance help temper the Erlking's brutality, and though the book is overlong, well-drawn characters will leave readers craving a sequel. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Nov.)
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--With the fae politics of Holly Black's The Cruel Prince and the dark roots of a Grimm fairy tale, Meyer flips tradition with a simple question: What if the king whom the miller's daughter marries is the villain, and Rumpelstiltskin is her only way out? Eighteen-year-old Serilda's fast tongue and uncanny eyes make her an outcast to all except the village children, who hang on every word of her stories. Marked by the god of lies, Serilda would rather spin stories than wool, until the midnight hunt brings the Erlking to her door. Her fast tongue is the only thing that saves her, but the dark king believes her words and soon she finds herself in a dungeon to spin straw into golden chains. With the help of a boy with no memory, Serilda must use her stories to save everyone--but staying one step ahead of the Erlking will come at a terrible cost. The first installment of Meyer's newest series has an atmospheric beginning that eventually pays off as Serilda travels to the Erlking's undead castle. Dynamic relationships raise the stakes--friendship and familial add depth and thematic elements to the tale, while romance sprinkles more angst on top and promises a truly delicious conflict in the books to come. The main cast is white, with some diversity in race and orientation in the supporting characters. VERDICT The queen of fairy tale retellings has spun what is sure to be another best seller. Recommended for all libraries.--Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL
Booklist Review
The queen of fairy-tale retellings is back, this time with "Rumpelstiltskin" as her inspiration, and the result is a gorgeously intricate tale that will have readers locked in from the start. It follows a poor miller's daughter, Serilda, who has a talent for telling captivating, twisty tales, which (unfortunately) catches the eye of Erlking and his undead hunters. This pernicious crew spirits Serilda to their ghoulish realm, where she is ordered to spin straw into gold, under threat of being killed for telling "false tales" if she fails. At every moment, the book keeps readers in its grip, wishing the best for Serilda, especially when a mysterious boy enters the picture, bringing an unexpected dash of romance to the proceedings. Meyer weaves an enchanting tale filled with whimsically magical moments and some serious suspense. Meyer knows how to capture fantastical worlds, and this one is a treat for her fans and new readers alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Heavy promotion and a national author tour accompany Meyer's latest, which should easily turn into best-seller gold.
Horn Book Review
Every full moon, the demon Erlking and his hunters and hellhounds roam freely, claiming the souls of humans and killing magical creatures for sport. On one such night, eighteen-year-old miller's daughter Serilda saves two of the Erlking's potential victims and convinces the demon that she has been "god-blessed" with the gift of spinning straw into gold. (Actually, she has the gift of telling stories, which she does throughout the book, eventually unraveling one of its central mysteries.) During the next several full moons, the Erlking forces her to spin gold for him at his castle, where an enigmatic boy named Gild helps her by turning the straw into gold -- for a price. This "Rumpelstiltskin" reimagining is rich in worldbuilding, including German-influenced settings and names; relatable heroine Serilda and the cast of supporting characters are equally well drawn. It's an engrossing (if somewhat overlong) tale of curses, unlikely romance, and family loss revolving around the art of storytelling and its mix of truths and lies. Known for her fairy-tale retellings (Cinder, rev. 1/12, and sequels), Meyer here weaves a significantly grimmer, more violent story -- including the murders of several children, the descriptions of which are heartrending and gruesome. However, thanks to the book's tantalizingly open ending, readers are left with hope for justice in the duology's promised conclusion. Cynthia K. Ritter March/April 2022 p.(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In Gilded , #1 New York Times- bestselling author Marissa Meyer returns to the fairytale world with this haunting tale.

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.

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