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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.

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.

Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

502 pages, Hardcover

First published November 2, 2021

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About the author

Marissa Meyer

72 books123k followers
I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my husband and beautiful twin daughters. Represented by Jill Grinberg. Learn more about me and my upcoming books at http://www.marissameyer.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,712 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
October 20, 2021
But there are two sides to every story. The hero and the villain. The dark and the light. The blessing and the curse. And what the miller had not understood is that the god of stories is also the god of lies.

2 1/2 stars.
I'm still deciding my rating as I write this review. I liked... some of this book. The first hundred or so pages were fantastic, really well-written and compelling, right up to where the first round of straw has been spun into gold. After that, I thought things got repetitive, convoluted and a bit boring.

Gilded is one of those books where I liked the idea of it more than the actual reading experience. I love, for example, that Meyer wove so much German folklore into this retelling, not just that of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, but also the Erlking, Shrub Grandmother and Nachtkrapp. You can tell that Meyer did her research.

A major problem here, I feel, is that Rumpelstiltskin is a short tale and Meyer attempts to extend it to over five hundred pages of novel. Part of this is achieved by adding in all the mythology extras above, which is exciting, but also makes it unnecessarily convoluted at times. Part of it involves adding in lots of side characters and padding, most of which I did not care about. I know the tale, I know Serilda is going to be brought back to the king's palace again, so all the dithering around until he shows up really dragged the story down.

I also did not care for what is ultimately at the centre of this story-- the romance. The chemistry was not there for me and it felt like there were too many important things going on for me to invest in the two of them giving each other googly eyes. Also, part of it may be my fault for initially assuming Meyer was going to

I must confess that I did not realise until the very end that there would be a sequel and now I'm even more convinced that this book should have been a 350 page novel, not a 500 page one. Hype might convince me to give it a try, but right now I'm thinking I'll pass on the sequel.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
November 29, 2021
my one and only rumpelstiltskin reimagining (‘spinning silver’) was far from great, so i was a little hesitant about this one. im just not sure this particular fairy tale is for me. but who was i to doubt MM? she is the queen of fairy tale retellings, after all.

and i think she did a good job with this story. its not as dark at the original grimm brothers tale, but this is considerably darker than most YA retellings, so that was exciting to me. while the middle section of the book is quite long and repetitive, i enjoyed the plot overall. a little bit on the nose at times, but the inclusion of ghosts and monsters and curses within a castle reminded me a little bit of ‘beauty and the beast,’ which is my favourite fairy tale. and the added romance helped buoy up what could have been a very depressing story.

overall, a very magical and entertaining story. really looking forward to the sequel!

4 stars
Profile Image for Isabelle Reneé Reads.
143 reviews298 followers
November 27, 2022

*flops down exhaustedly onto an extra squishy pillow whilst hugging her ✨gorgeous ✨ copy of Gilded*

it’s just all too much for me i’ll have to explain the plot from this pillow.


Serilda is the miller’s daughter, cursed eighteen years ago by the god of lies. Her fantastically magical stories and disturbing black and gold eyes have led Serilda to become an outcast in her village, the infamous bringer of ill fortune. She spends her time as an assistant teacher to the schoolchildren, weaving fabulous stories of the magical world. The children’s favorite story is the one about the fae hunt. You see, the veil that hides the mortal realm from the magical one slips away every full moon. And every full moon, the Erlking, king of the fae, leads the undead souls on a hunt. A hunt meant to terrify mortals and catch the most exotic of beasts.
The children laugh and shiver at her tales, but Serilda knows both the hunt and the Erlking are much more real than her stories make them appear.

The night of the Snow Moon, Serilda hears the thunder of the hunt approaching her village. She cautiously cracks open the door to find two moss maidens huddled by her door, granddaughters of the Shrub Grandmother. They’re hiding in the shadows to escape the hunt that’s trying to kill them. Serilda hides both maidens in her cellar, and when the Erlking himself arrives on her doorstep, Serilda does what she always does: she tells a story.

A story about how she can spin straw into gold.

The Erkling leaves, and at first, Serilda believes she’s saved both the maidens and herself with the story. But the very next full moon, the Erlking captures her, locking her into a dungeon overflowing with straw. He tells her that she must transform the entire roomful of straw into gold before dawn, or she will be killed for telling the king a falsehood.
Knowing full well she can’t spin anything into gold, Serilda believes her life is forfeit.
However, when the clock strikes midnight, a mysterious boy appears in the dungeon. He says he can spin every piece of straw into gold.

For a price.


just rewriting the plot is giving me chills.

anyways so Gilded is SUCH a beautiful retelling of Rumplestiltskin. Candy. Absolute dark gothic candy. You don’t even need to have a clue about the original fairytale to understand what’s going on. OOOOO WAIT
I just remembered something very important.

*picks up megaphone*


a heck ton of people have asked me about this, and so I feel the need to let you all know this in my proper review: Gilded is a completely different world, has completely different characters, retells a completely different fairy tale, aaaaaand it has faerie magic.
The Lunar Chronicles does not have faerie magic.


In terms of the plot flow, the beginning is kinda slow and rather confusing, but do hang on because the pacing and the action gets WORLDS better ;)

Speaking of worlds, the worldbuilding. For a good portion of the book, the entire world (while very aesthetic) MADE NO BLOODY SENSE. For example, the concept of the fae hunt confused me for a solid 130 pages before I finally gave in and posted a status update bemoaning my utter bewilderment. bestie El then told me fae hunts are actually a part of fae lore and O MY GOODNESS somehow it being a historical fae concept just made everything click for me thank you El <3

the writing was absolutely gorgeous. It was pure gold (yes pun intended). The whole thing really just gave my aesthetic sensibilities pure delight with the lyric-ness of the sentence flow and how they every sentence created such beautifully vivid imagery *chef’s kiss*


The supporting characters were all QUALITY.
Surprisingly, there were actually quite a few little kid side characters in Gilded. The kids at Marchenfeld were cute, but I have never met a five-year-old that talks in sophisticated sentences and comprehends complex social subtext, so I kinda just started getting annoyed with the Marchenfeld kids.
I adore Leyna. She is my fictional firecracker eight-year-old child and such a smartie you go girlie <3
For our side characters with a little magi, all I’m gonna say is that I really wanna be like Shrub Grandmother when I’m eighty.
no i’m not going to tell you y’all what that means have gotta go read it to find out ;)

Serilda was actually a very solid, enjoyable heroine. She was pretty quick in her decision making (leading her to make a couple stupid decisions, but i really couldn’t be bothered because bella swan has permanently scarred me).
Serilda was not the most memorable of heroines, but I loved that even though she was spirited off to serve the dark fae king, she actually DIDN’T FALL FOR HIM.

+100 heroine points

and now for the hero:
I can’t really say much else without spoilers so PLEASE go read about him too *puppy eyes*

also Gild and Serilda TOGETHER !!
I adored both these cinnamon buns. They are PERFECT and PRECIOUS and AHEM IM SHIPPING THEM SO HARD.
Now. I will say the one thing that made me so bloody annoyed about this relationship: they were adorable and perfect for each other, but they have a really *cough* quick progression of said relationship.
Put it this way: we went to all four bases within five meetings 👀
While I was reading it, it didn't feel like first sight instalove, mainly because of the month-long gaps between moons (when they get to see each other).
so it was like drawn-out fall-hard instalove.

idk if that made any sense lol


*muffles fangirl screeches into the pillow so the confused neighbors don’t come knocking*

as much as I'm downing the romance, i actually really loved this book.
go read it.
i promise you won’t regret it ;)

Star Rating: ★★★★★
If This Book Was a Movie Rating: PG-13

Recommendations If You Liked This Book:
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
April 3, 2023
Gilded is the latest release from the ultimate Queen of Retellings, Marissa Meyer.

Pitched as a haunted retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, Gilded was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. I preordered the heck out of this book and am so pleased that it now graces my shelves.

The narrative follows, Serilda, a miller's daughter, who spends her days spinning tales for the children in her village. Her stories are wildly entertaining and full of untruths, even though to hear her tell them, you would think everything she says is possible.

Serilda is a truly gifted storyteller. Cursed years ago by the God of Lies, Serilda's talent was bound to get her in over her head eventually.

When one of her stories draws the attention of the Erlking and his wild hunters, Serilda gets drawn beyond the veil into a world of ghouls, phantoms and other mythical creatures.

Based on her story, the Erlking demands that Serilda weave straw into gold for him, locking her in a tower, threatening her life if the task isn't completed by morning.

After a mysterious boy appears in her tower room, Serilda discovers he has the exact magic she needs to save herself.

But who is he and what does he want with her? As the two get to know one another, their fates become intertwined in Serilda's epic battle to free herself from the Erlking's clutches.

As mentioned above, I had been really excited to get my hands on this book and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the audiobook from the publisher, Macmillan Audio. I decided to go with the audio version because of that and I am so glad that I did!

I previously listened to the entire Lunar Chronicles series on audio and had such a blast with it. To my sheer delight, I quickly discovered this audio is performed by the same fantastic narrator, Rebecca Soler!

She has the perfect voice for Meyer's stories. Whimsical and captivating, she breezes through Meyer's whip-smart dialogue like she had written it herself.

In fact, that is one of my favorite aspects of Meyer's writing; the dialogue. It is always so witty and fun, keeping me smiling even during the most intense scenes. Serilda's perspective provided plenty of opportunity for Meyer to show off her comical side.

Having read this entire story believing it to be a standalone novel, I was a little surprised when I reached the end. Surprised and elated, as it is not!

This is actually the first in a duology, with the second book expected to be released next November. I cannot wait to find out the conclusion to Serilda's story. I will definitely be rereading this one prior to that release.

If you have enjoyed previous works from Meyer, or just love a dark fairytale retelling, you absolutely need to pick this one up and give it a shot.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy of this to listen to and review. It's an incredible story with some phenomenal narration to boot!

I cannot wait for the continuation of this story. 2022, here we come!!!

Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,313 reviews44.1k followers
December 10, 2021
OMG! When queen of retellings decided to write about Rumpelstilskin, only thing you can do is clapping, hurraying this decision and getting extremely exciting about this book!

I didn’t simply read 64 pages of this extended sampler of the book! I just devoured it! It was the happiest 28 minutes of my life! But when it ends with magical cliffhanger: two characters’ meeting at a dungeon in extremely difficult circumstances, the only thing I achieved was scream-crying; because I needed more, I wanted more, I literally craved more!

This is fascinating start of legendary retelling! I think this has great potential to be my favorite fantasy book of the year! I cannot wait to read the rest of it!
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
July 26, 2022
rumpelstiltskin is the best fairytale ever. a tiny man with an insane name who sings it to himself but gets so mad when you guess it he tears himself in half? good stuff.

so before reading this, i was all, if marissa meyer can write a retelling half as good as that...we're in business.

unfortunately that is a hard order to fill. a tough nut to crack. the difficulty-level equivalent of eating just half a candy bar, or those inexplicably impossible barbie game boy games i used to have to ask my mom to play for me. (why did i think my mom was the early 2000s equivalent of a twitch streamer? i have no idea.)

anyway, enough goofing off, i have a new hot take:

no book should ever have a romance. especially YA fantasy.

i'll make exceptions for the romcoms i can't stop trying even though i have clearly unmeetable expectations. i'll make the OCCASIONAL exception for lit fic, but only if it involves a very complicated (read: unlikable) woman destroying herself in a toxic relationship.

but i am retired from YA fantasy romance. the love story in this book did nothing but detract from what good there was!

because here's the thing: i knew there'd be some form of romance here. i expected it. because the thing about the original iconic fairytale is that even the brothers grimm didn't know what the people (me) wanted (as much content as possible about some gobliny freak), and the main character was actually the gold-spinning lady who marries the king's son.

but the romance in this book is...not with the king's son?

it is, to the best of my recollection, with some weird little ghost boy.

do i feel this swap made sense? no. do i feel it made even less sense when she was ?!?!? yep i sure do!

yuck. if you ever thought what rumpelstiltskin was missing was 450 additional pages and , this is the book for you.

all that being said...this wasn't NOT fun.

so see you when the sequel comes out, i guess.

bottom line: i don't know how i feel either! i'm just hopin for the best.


noted lack of little gremlins singing weirdly specific songs and tearing themselves in half here...

review to come / 2.5 or 3 stars

currently-reading updates

if you ever need someone to read an arc 7 months after its release date, i'm your girl

(thanks to netgalley for the e-copy)
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,714 reviews25k followers
September 19, 2021
Marissa Meyer writes an atmospheric reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin set in Germany, an enchanting gothic fairytale world firmly rooted in the nightmare horror end of the genre. 18 year old miller's daughter, Serilda, lives with her father, bestowed with her golden wheeled eyes and talent for deception, she is shunned by most locals as cursed, untrustworthy and a born liar. As a school assistant, however, she is loved by children for her ability to spin stories from what appears to be thin air, but are her stories really lies? Her patron deity is Wyrdith, the god of stories, fortune, lies and fate, and at the full moon every month, a time when the veil of the other darker world lifts, this opens the entry into our world of the wildly exuberant hunt led by the evil Erlking.

The hunt is notorious for taking children and bewitching others to join, none of whom are ever seen alive again. One night, with his entourage of the undead and hellhounds, the Erlking is seeking 2 moss maidens whom Serilda hides, deceiving him that she can spin gold from straw. This is to haunt her as the following full moon, she is taken to the Erlking's home, Adalheid Castle, located in the middle of a lake, to be punished for her lies. She is taken into a dungeon full of straw that she is expected to spin into gold by the morning, if she fails she will die. Her demise seems certain, she cannot fulfil this impossible task, but a boy, a polstergeist, named Gild appears. He knows nothing of himself or his past, Gild is cursed to inhabit the Castle and its grounds, unable to ever depart. What he can do is take straw and spin it into gold, providing he is paid for his magical abilities. What was not on the card was love. And why does the Erlking, a highly skilled magician, want the spun gold?

This is the first book I have read by Meyer, it is exquisitely written, she weaves a wondrous fairytale world of dark magic, Aschen Wood where no mortal belongs, the creepy territory of the dark ones, and the forest folk, Adalheid Castle, along with the inclusion of a host of other dark beings, the dead and other magical creatures. This is a beguiling and immersive read, whilst horror lies round almost every corner, you cannot help but root for Serilda and Gild, wondering how or even if they can escape the terrors of the fate that has befallen them. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book to see where it all ends. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,154 followers
Want to read
September 11, 2021
Can Marissa Meyer write retellings for every story ever, please???
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
502 reviews417 followers
January 4, 2022
Who has an unpopular opinion? Tis I, of course. *commence sobbing*
[This in no way is to offend the author, it's just a personal opinion and if I offended anybody please let me know!🍩 I'll be dramatically crying into a pillow for the time being]

Rating: 🩹🩹🩹🩹 A solid 3.6 (yes, I lowered it after this review. And I'm hating myself)

Surprise! I am so bummed right now.

Bummed because so many things could've been better.
Because I haven't been able to write this sooner as a result of my conflicted feelings. (also, I've been putting it off)

....because this book went from a hyped 5-stars to a 4 star and down to a 3.7 stars. And now, Future Booksy is telling me she lowered it to 3.6.

And even though I knew there was a possibility of this failing me, I hoped with every single living organism in my body for it to turn out with a different fate.

Now, this is me, trying to recognize that some favorite author's new books don't always click. Even when a reader fell so hard for one of their previous series that years later, they haven't been able to move on.

So hi, I am currently wearing a bittersweet smile and knowing that although I didn't love this book, it was enjoyable to experience it.

It took me a while to see the true rating I had for this story, more time to figure out how to put it into words, and even more to find out how to get over the disappointment.

I truly believe maybe it was me, maybe I wasn't in the right space of mind to delve into this story, perhaps a faerie of some kind had bewitched me and made me think this book was the love of my life for a while. Seriously, the book isn't even bad. It's not horrid, not even unpleasant. Just... not for me? Let me break it down just a tad, so I can go, convincing myself along the way that I still adore Fairytale retellings.

The plot of this book was incredibly sugary sweet, with copious amounts of vitriol spread within for diversity. Let me begin with the things that weren't the best for me, since I'll fangirl a bit later, of course. The wordlbuilding was very good, interesting too, albeit a little confusing to me if I'm being honest. Again, probably my fault, but I'll go along with it. I enjoyed the different scenery, the cadence of how the words created palaces out of nothing, yet... I didn't find the thing I love most in fantasy books. That single thing that makes it so much better-- the 'hook me' factor. I find that it varies from time to time, but for me, it ultimately remains the same. I like seeing laid out like a movie in my head, if it's too detailed I get lost in the meaning of it, whereas if it has not= details: my mind goes blank in trying to decipher the setting. I love riding along with the horses, feeling the wind stinging my chest, but since I couldn't picture some things, that made it a lot more difficult for me to love it. The start of the book was strong, so strong I fangirled and screeched, the middle begged the question of:

Could it have been shorter?
Less wordy?
More to the point?

Frankly, sometimes I felt like I was in a loop. I had never heard of the Rumpelstiltskin story until this book, to be honest. So this was my first dive into the world of a gold weaving man child who craved for a single person to know his name to then tear himself in half, or be thrown, or basically die. I wished the direction the plot took would've been shorter, and honestly? I believe this could've been a standalone instead of a series.

*goes off a cliff because she can already see the judging glances of readers everywhere*
*I promise I loved The Lunar Chronicles, okay?*

The writing on the other hand, was amazing. Splendid. Magnificent-- another adjective here porfavor. It added so much sparkle (hehe) and vibrant colors to the bleak world I had painted in the canvas of my mind. Miss Meyer always knows what to add to get the flavors of the writing to be savored across a reader's tongue.

Sometimes though... I really didn't need to know that much about things. I know the main character has weird eyes. Yet, I don't know how Rumpelstiltskin really looks in this story. I know how the monsters look, how the hellhounds prance in hunger, yet I cannot recall how the romance came to be.

And that, my friends, will be explained now, of course. (wow, such a TrAnSiSioN, pfft)

The romance that never made bloody sense.
Can you feel me rubbing my neck from this far?
Yes, I indeed jumped ahead of the characters to rant about--elegantly throw off a mountain--this 'love' of theirs.

Gild and Serilda saw each other five times.
In five months.
Which means... let me make the math... carry the zero over to the right... multiply x by 12...
Excuse me.
I don't know.
And that annoys me.

It's been a while since I've given in about the 'romance' talk. This one is the wondrous exception.
Don't get me wrong, Gild seems cute. He's nice. Hasn't been around a human for so so very long, that the prospect of even a touch sends him into a state of joy. And it was all okay until the point where out of nowhere, their skins started tingling (are you okay), their cheeks began to be flushed (do you have a fever?) and thoughts were for each other and no one else (*whispering* did you hit your head).

*sigh* And I thought this was alright too.
Until once again, the two MCs that barely know each other, fall into each other's arms without clothing present.


And lone and behold, the MC gets ********. That seemed like a bad word, but it isn't, omg.

Anyhow, anyhow, this made me slightly despise these characters, so that's what I shall talk about in the following section. (if the author is reading this, which I know she isn't, I love your words. Please don't cancel me *snort*)

**I never thought I would rant against a Marissa Meyer book, and it is killing me**

The MC was such a spectacular young woman, it was impossible for me to hate her (see, I wrote hate. As in strong dislike, I still didn't see the point in many decisions she made, but that's part of her charm). Serilda's sarcasm was on point, her comebacks were so appetizing, and her lies? Oh, the wickedness of deceit was so clever and aromatic to inhale. I had no problem with her, really. She was strong, could be stupid at times, good at everything minus the things she couldn't do-- taking, for example, the fact that she lost someone super close to her and the only thing she did was run into Gild's arms, sob for a few minutes and forget all about that person until it was convenient for a super emotional moment to happen-- I'm trying to be nice, Booksy stop it.

Le bum tis I. Seriously, I didn't hate her! Would I die for her? Probably not. I would give her a toothpick to saw through some chains if she were to be held hostage.

Gild was nice.
He was good.
Uh huh.
That's all.
I really didn't care what happened to him- *hurries to get under a rock never to be seen again*

The rest of the characters I didn't mind, they were great at trying to get me into the book when I was on the verge of a slump. There were children in this book! Actual, living, breathing, maybe with more vocabulary than I would think they would have, children! As in kids, little hoomans. I love kids in books for real, I'm always waiting for them to turn evil and kill everyone.

(please forgive that)

Before closing off, I wanted to mention the Eerlking. I thought, for about the five hundred pages this book lasted, that he would be the misunderstood guy. And Gild was actually the bad guy. Was I looking for a plot twist where none were supposed to reside? Absolutely!

My alter egos would be offended if I didn't try.

Marissa made me hate him with every single thread of what's left of my morality when the ending came. I was still set on him becoming better, possibly being a love interest and THEN.
And then.
He was about to do something unforgivable, so I had to take a cannonball and blast a hole into the frail ship I was cheering on. Is it so bad that I was with him at the beginning? I swear, books are ruining something in me, and I'm always trying to fix it with a transparent tape.

On a closing note, I liked the book. I really did (not me trying to fix everything I just said). It wouldn't be in my favorites, nor would I consider reading it again. But I am looking forward to what the sequel has to say! I need some separation, anguish, terror, more darkness please! (I say this with all due mental power, of course) The plot was okay, writing was *throwing a cascade of kisses at it* I was still confused in a lot of places but as the closing pages came to hit me with a machete without concern for my head (in fact, I believe it was aiming for it) I did understand the hype. I just think it was too late for me to truly appreciate the story for what it was.

A fantasy romance with instalove situations, when I was searching for a type of dark fantasy retelling with minimal romance and lots of tension involved.

I know I would've loved it if it had gotten some kinks fixed, but as we all know, this review is a piece of straw in a whole lot of gold to be processed (pffffft). I'm pretty sure I'll hate this thought process in about a week.

(Booksy is already regretting it)


Not as good as I hoped for, but better than I thought it would be. In other words, the hype was okay yet, I wished for more of a ✨spark✨

RTC dear ones!



I thought we had a close relationship since I fell for Thorne.
*glances at overflowing TBR*
Profile Image for Elle.
587 reviews1,401 followers
January 25, 2022
I will keep this short because god knows Marissa Meyer didn’t.

Obviously—this book is way too long. It drags like you tied an anchor around your neck and tried to run uphill. I legitimately cannot understand how anyone was able to read this with their ~eyes~ when I was struggling through a 15 1/2 hour audiobook at 2X speed. Genuine praise to the brave souls who forged ahead into this bleak monotony.

This was not a complete story, not even a complete arc. As soon as it starts to feel like you’re approaching something resembling a second act, the book inexplicably cuts off. WHY?!?!?! Did the author just give up as well? Honestly if that’s the case then I don’t blame her.

The idea is cool and the beats of the story are there if only someone cut out the hundreds of pages of filler along the way. We simply do not need watch Serilda (the main character, did I mention that?) complete one thousand versions of the same tedious task.

And I know I said I’d be short, but I need to reiterate how horrendous that “““ending””” was. This is how I imagine her thought process went:

Marissa Meyer — “Thanks for reading 500+ pages of slog 🙂 here is your 🙂 reward:”

Marissa Meyer — “enjoy!!!!!!

I have a headache, am three reviews behind and now very grumpy that I actually read this whole thing. This is the best I could do. Still not as bad as The Maid, though, so 3 stars.

*Thanks to BookishFirst for my giveaway copy!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,118 followers
February 14, 2022
“The world was full of small enchantments, when one was wiling to look for them. And Serilda was always looking.”

Loved it! 💖

Serilda has always been an outsider, the villagers give her a wide berth. The story goes that her father assisted a god and in return blessed him and his wife with a daughter. A daughter blessed by the god of stories and lies.

When the Erlking and his night hunt come rising through town on the full moon Serilda finds herself caught up in the hunt and then imprisoned in his castle.

Caught in a lie that she can spin straw into gold, Serilda is told to prove it or be killed at dawn. Until a boy turns up who can help her, but for a price.

I was actually surprised by how much i enjoyed this. I thought the romance would be too much, but it was done really well. I loved the world building, the magical elements, the story telling and the secret reveals.

Cannot wait for book 2!


In transit!!!!!! Woop!

Can’t wait for this one 😊
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
465 reviews1,121 followers
January 14, 2022
A magical, retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in Germany

I was so excited to read this because I adored the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! Rumpelstiltskin also really scared me as a child, more than any other fairy-tale! And whilst there were things which I liked, it didn't live up to my expectations, and I struggled to get through parts.

Things I liked:
1) The setting! I loved the German village, the creepy castle and the magical woodland!
2) The magical characters, including ghosts, monsters, witches and the Erlking.
3) I liked the beginning and the end!
4) I liked the dark feel to the story,
5) I actually liked Serilda, the main character, as she was morally grey, interesting and likeable.

Things I didn't like:
1) That this was a series! At first I thought I had missed something, but the amount of reviewers who also didn't know it wasn't a standalone when requesting, leads me to believe that it was deliberately withheld. This would've worked so much better as a standalone, and I was annoyed when I realised near the end of the book, that it wasn't!
2) The middle of the story, which dragged and slowed the pace of the story down due to so much repetition and unnecessary filler.
3) The way the characters spoke. Sometimes this would feel like it was set centuries ago, and sometimes the character's language and interactions felt modern.
4) The romance.. there was zero chemistry and it didn't feel believable to me for obvious reasons. I was actually hoping for either no romance, or a totally different combination.

So although I enjoyed parts of this magical fairy-tale retelling and thought it was a great concept, I feel it could have been executed a lot better. Cut 200 pages and make it a standalone, and I think it would work much better.

Many thanks to NetGalley UK and Faber and Faber for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Mrinmayi.
155 reviews579 followers
Shelved as 'willsacrifice-maryams-soul-for-this'
February 28, 2021

(I am gonna make reaction videos on Youtube😂While wearing a pikachu face ANDDDDD traumatize you all!!!)

Profile Image for Alexis Hall.
Author 51 books11.7k followers
December 18, 2021
Source of book: NetGalley (thank you)
Relevant disclaimers: None
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author.

I need to stop reading YA books that turn out to be the first in a series because, holy God, does this end on … well. To call it a cliff-hanger seems to under-represent both the scope of the figurative incline and the intensity of my hanging from it.

Anyway, it’s an amazing read, though also—and I need to stop remarking on how startling I find YA’s commitment to Going There—dark AF. Kids literally die in this book. In horrible ways. In fact, a tonne of horrible things happen in general. Although I suppose I can take some comfort that the romantic lead is not, for once, a mass murderer. Yay? In any case, while Gilded may take its inspiration from Rumpelstiltskin, it’s a far richer and complex endeavour than the original tale, effortlessly blending German folklore with its own world-building to explore, y’know, the very nature of stories themselves.

The heroine, Serilda, is a miller’s daughter cursed or blessed by the trickster god of stories. Compelled to lie—or from another perspective to tell stories—her gifts, along with her peculiar eyes, ensure the adults in her village view her with suspicion (although the children are drawn to her taletelling). One night, she encounters two fairy creatures on the run from the terrifying Erlking, master of the wild hunt, and lies to protect them, claiming she can spin straw into gold. Unfortunately, this causes the Erlking to take an interest in her and she finds herself locked in dungeon, tasked with spinning straw into gold or forfeit her life. In this impossible task, she is aided by a mysterious “poltergeist” who haunts the castle the Erlking occupies—the nature of both the poltergeist and the castle being their own mystery that Serilda gradually begins to unravel.

And um. This is all completely terrifying: everyone in this story is just so damn vulnerable. Quick-thinking and story-ready though she is, Serilda is ultimately just an innkeeper’s daughter. Gild, the poltergeist, is desperately lonely, sweetly courageous and has no memory of who or what he is, or why. The people Serilda cares about are farmers, innkeepers, librarians and peasants. Even the witch is mainly a herbalist. The gods (non-binary gods, by the way, which I appreciated) are abstract in their motives and mostly absent. When Serilda does encounter magical beings, even if their needs align with hers, its clear they have their own agendas and concerns, far removed from those humans. And don’t get me started on the Erlking. He’s callous, powerful and unabashedly cruel, yet his malignancy is not without motive and cohesion. Driven by lost love as he is, his relationship with his own villainy is far from uncomplicated.

In fact, if the book had a weakness for me, it’s that the sections in the Erlking’s castle are so pulse-poundingly tense and cast such a strong sense of foreboding over the rest of the book that I had a hard time getting invested in the world beyond the castle (despite the fact it’s quite well developed). Mainly everyone just felt too doomed to care about—which, err, was broadly correct. I also suspect some readers won’t like the modernistic tone to a lot of the dialogue but, personally, I appreciated it. There’s kind of a “fairy tale” voice that can be a bit portentous when over-used and so there’s something pacey and engaging about the way Serilda and Gild especially interact with each other. It made them feel like real people living in a real place, albeit one of full of magic, mystery, and imminent disaster, and their relationship came across as genuinely sweet to me.

I should also add that I loved Serilda and Gild as characters. He’s an intriguing twist on Rumpelstiltskin, maintaining the mischief, but losing the slyness—and he’s both heroic and vulnerable in ways that usually aren’t allowed to align. As for Serilda, she’s a deeply flawed protagonist, strong but overmatched, and that kind of made her very relatable to me. I always feel like a bit of a mug when stories about stories about storytellers but … eh. Trite or not, as readers and writers we are drawn to that shit for a reason.

Ultimately this ended up being a much darker read than I thought it was going to be. But I quickly fell in love with it—though I do need the sequel urgent to alleviate some of this dreadful trauma, please.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
2,083 reviews1,661 followers
October 9, 2021
Fancy a curl up, snuggle down read as Autumn descends, hot chocolate optional?! Then this book may fit the bill!

This is a magical and enchanting retelling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin and has all the elements of the Grimm original. Here we have goblins, Moss maidens, Witches, fairies, stolen princesses, stolen children, monsters, ruined castles, dungeons and high towers. There are ghosts, ghouls, phantoms, spirits, spells, curses and enchantments and lording it over all is the cruel, vengeful Erlking, King Grim, whose hounds and hunts prowl the forests with ravens tracking moves. Has he met his match in millers daughter Serilda? Serilda, cursed by the God of Lies and possessor of spinning eyes of golden wheels, is a weaver of fairy tales but is she capable of spinning something out of nothing as Erlking demands? A desperate Serilda appeals for help, enter Gild, the ‘Gilded Ghost’ who demands payment for his magical talents.

This is a marvellously written story which keeps you spellbound from beginning to end. It’s a captivating, dark tale full of fear, creepiness, deception (for good and ill), vengeance, hatred and terror. Let’s add in a bit of romance as literally ‘[they] found love in a hopeless place’ but are they doomed star crossed lovers? The characters are brilliantly crafted and spring to life before your eyes with all the various full moons shining brightly on them.

Overall, this is a compelling twist on the original with a cliffhanger of an ending. There’s got to be a sequel surely, if not, you are as cruel as the Erlking Marissa Meyer!!!

This is marketed at YA and I’m not telling how many years I’m beyond that category and I loved it, so its one for every lover of a fantasy novel!

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Faber and Faber for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for kinley ann.
54 reviews14 followers
July 26, 2023
*4 stars*
another amazing book my marissa meyer!!
Profile Image for human.
641 reviews1,016 followers
January 20, 2023


was i just hallucinating while reading this or,, ?? because there's no way that this book was written by THE marissa meyer, especially after all of my hopes and expectations were raised hearing that this was a fairytale retelling and not a contemporary novel.

and, i mean, sure, the weird stuff didn't happen until relatively later into the story, and i actually liked much of the book before that. but that still doesn't change the fact that the ending and some of the stuff leading up to it was just,, all over the place, to say the least.

so what did I actually like about this book?

for starters, the main character was interesting. i mean, sure, everything kept going back to how she was outcasted by her village and the people that should have been supporting her the most, but the background of the book really expanded on that, which was nice. everything from the hunt to the gods of the world connected back to her own story which made the world-building relevant rather than info-dump-y, and i really appreciated that.

as a character, she wasn't particularly infuriating, but at the same time, she wasn't entirely likable. if i'm being completely honest, she was just sort of there and felt more like the mode through which the story was told rather than someone who was actively influencing the events of the story. and while that isn't something i necessarily liked, i can definitely see that as something that will potentially be changing in the next book, just going off of the way that this one ended.

of course, that being said, the beginning was pretty slow to get into (read: it took me a whole month to finish reading this), and that's pretty much only because there was a fair amount of backstory to establish before the whole 'rumpelstiltskin' aspect of the novel could come into play.

once the real plot of the story started, however, i really loved the way that things built off of one another. without going too deep into potential spoilers, my favorite thing was how serilda's stories also built off one another and became relevant from the very beginning.

the dark-ish nature of the book also made it an enjoyable read, more than just a simple "retelling", so to say. meyer's writing style just really worked with the way that this novel was going and i loved the atmospheric language and the description of the towns and castles, especially all the scenes with the various spirits and ghosts and creatures that were included.

the way i enjoyed this novel's atmosphere may just be the extent to which i enjoyed this novel as a whole. that is to say, other than all of that there wasn't much else that this book had going for it (and the weirdness decides to show up here).

the characters themselves were a bit,, lackluster, i won't lie. serilda herself felt more like someone who was just a passive viewer of the events that were taking place than someone who you would consider a 'main character' so to say, and remained largely complacent in spite of the various events that took place during the course of the book, allowing others to make decisions and going along with them rather than choosing to do something herself.

which, i mean, i can't even blame her for that entirely, because realistically speaking, she's really only just a teenager who's way in over her head. but at the same time, considering her skills and abilities, i really was looking to see how she would be able to talk her way out of situations rather than just talk her way into them—the latter of which happened quite often, and the former only once at the end.

there were plenty of other side characters that held some sway over the events of the story, but largely, these characters too were only relevant for certain portions of the book before fading back into the background and remaining forgotten, which was disappointing to an extent, but at the same time somewhat expected.

in particular, i honestly think that more could be done with the character of the erlking, although i'm not entirely sure if more will be done with him and his character arc with the next book. currently, he's just a static villain, here for the sake of ruining serilda's life and other evils, but if perhaps more of his backstory or motivations became present, well, as a proponent of morally grey characters, you certainly wouldn't find me complaining.

then there's the whole matter of gild and the romance, and, well, things kind of get weird here.

before that, however, there's the matter of the romance arc itself, which i am disappointed to say, felt sorely underdeveloped. i remember when serilda first met gild and we were immediately hit with lines like "our hands brushed and i could fEeL tHe SpArKs BeTwEeN uS"* and "mY hEaRt StArTeD tO rAcE"*, and i was incredibly Disappointed™.

for starters, where is the chemistry??? like i get that these two are stuck in a stressful, basically life-or-death situation and are united in their hate against the erlking, not to mention some of the other rather tragic events that take place between their meetings, which could cause them to become closer.

?? but ?? that ?? still ?? doesn't ?? explain ?? why ?? they're ?? suddenly ?? in ?? love ??

like idk if that's just me or what. i get that it's fantasy and whatnot but still, i doubt that four or five meetings in about as many weeks are enough for you to fall head over heels in love with someone who you barely know (and who barely knows themselves!), because at that point it's just starting to smell like the ever-dreaded insta-love.

and, well, this is where things get kind of goofy. or at least, i for one am left with a lot more questions than answers.

to begin with, there were so many reveals that just randomly were revealed for nothing more than either a) shock value or b) my theory that the beginning of the book was too long-winded and the book as a whole was getting too long, so the important reveals of the book were all just shoved in at the end.

of this, i wasn't too much of a fan of, because it felt like had the pacing been better, we would have better been able to 'track' these reveals. even if we weren't able to guess them for ourselves, it personally would have been better to be able to think back and have hints and see where those reveals were coming from rather than just having everything coincidentally working out at the end.

honestly, the more i think about this book, the more questions i have, and the more i need to read 'cursed' before my mind goes down some irrecoverable rabbit hole.

overall, however, i really wanted to like this book, but ultimately, it came up a bit lacking for me. i was expecting more from the characters and the romance was a let-down, but at the same time, with the next book, although there are a lot of areas for potential improvement, there are also a lot of opportunities for improvement as well. i'm excited to see the potential arcs that could take place in the next book, but at the same time, i'm nervous, because this duology feels like it will end really well or really poorly.

*not exact quotes but they may as well be


the cover is... interesting, to say the least.





Profile Image for Sophie.
225 reviews559 followers
May 6, 2022
I already knew I was going to like this no matter what, since The Lunar Chronicles was basically the epitome of my childhood, but wowzer, Merissa Meyer really knows how to tell a story! ❤️✨

Gilded is a retelling of Rumplestilskin, with a couple of fun twists, like the fact that our heroine, Sirilda (the miller's daughter), has been blessed by the god of lies and storytelling, and our mysterious magical gold spinner (Gild/Our "Rumplestilskin" type character) is also the main love interest. Not to mention that the famed king for whom Sirilda is made to spin gold is also a ghost who inhabits a haunted castle and rules a seriously creepy and cursed court of the undead.

I was not ready for how f89kin creepy this book ended up being!! I've been taking to reading in my makeshift blanket fort with a flashlight lately (because I'm a rebellious nerd) and I just wrap the blankets a liiiittttle bit tighter around me than I used to after staying up all night long reading about all of these gruesome and murderous ghosts.

This was great, I am a sucker for all things fantasy, and Merissa Meyer's storytelling abilities really took hold in this retelling set in a very fairy-tale-esq-kingdom-far-far-away type place. Her books most of the time take place in dystopian/sci-fi/futuristic type places, so it was interesting to see her writing within the context of a more medieval setting.

I thought the plot was well developed even if it started out a little slow, and I loved all of the trippy twists and turns (which there were lots of). I also thought the world-building was exceptionally well done. My only complaint really is that in the beginning, I felt that the romance between Sirilda and Gild was a little in-your-face/cringy/forced/insta-lovey. It became less like this as the book progressed, but I wish their romance had been a little more subtle and better developed in the beginning.

The ENDING THO!!!! How can they just leave it like that??? I have to wait until November to read the next one??? ☹️☹️☹️

Sigh. I'll be here waiting in my blanket fort.
Profile Image for Han (semi-hiatus).
234 reviews238 followers
May 16, 2023
😔 RTC - possible rant ahead!


The mixed reviews concern me, but I'll push through! Audiobook 🎧🎶
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,330 reviews2,146 followers
August 19, 2023
A retelling a la Marissa Meyer of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. She does it well and I enjoyed the spookiness, the wicked Erlking, the poor villagers and the magic. The Hunt was well told and frequently very gory.

I was disappointed though that after five hundred pages we did not reach the conclusion. I wish an editor with a red pen would score out about 200 of those pages and make the author finish the story in the one book. Continuing a series is fine but in my opinion this one stopped at entirely the wrong place.

Not sure if I will want to pick up the sequel.
Profile Image for Sylvie .
686 reviews962 followers
Want to read
October 27, 2021
I saw this at a bookstore today and I got a little too excited, so I bought it, naturally.

Now I’m in between on whether should I drop all my current reads (which are library borrowed) and immediately start reading this or not.

AAAAHHHH We have a cover and a summary.
I didn't know the reveals were going to happen today, I was expecting for a cover reveal but not a summary. So, this was a nice surprise.

My thoughts on the cover:
It looks like a fantasy-esque/mystery movie poster from the 80's, Labyrinth for instance. Also, it's kind of interesting that it's going to be a Rumplestiltskin retelling, since there aren't many of those. (and I know Naomi Novik has written a Rumple retelling too, but I have no interest in that, at least not at the moment).
Alright Marissa, once again I have high hopes and expectations for your new book.

Wait, hold up. I need a minute.
*Breathes in deeply... breathes out*
Am I dreaming or is this real?
Marissa Meyer, THE MARISSA MEYER, QUEEN OF FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS is writing yet another book based on a fairytale? How dare of me for missing this?
If this is real and it's coming out this exact year, then we have nothing to worry about 2021.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,236 reviews146 followers
April 19, 2022
Fantastic start to a new fantasy (YA-ish) series.

I’ve been reading fairytales as long as I can remember— on vacation, I was the kid picking out books instead of beach balls, toys or squirt guns. Around 9-10 years old I fell in love with the series of fairytale anthologies including — Green, Yellow and Brown books of fairy tales.

Meyer’s tale— part fanciful, part dark and violent reminds me of those anthologies because she takes the reader to both miserable and magical places.

As I expected, this dark take on Rumplestilskin meets Sleeping Beauty gripped my attention at once. Although I lost the race to the finish line before Overdrive repo’d my copy, I devoured the last half in one sitting as soon as I got it back!

I’ll admit the last few chapters were darker than expected, but I’m totally hooked. Sure hope book 2 is around the corner— I want to know where this fairy tale will take us next!
Profile Image for ☾.
236 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2021
pre-read: its marissa meyer so i legally have to read it.

post-read: 3.6 stars. forgot i was reading a ms meyer book. not a bad book at all!!! but also not her best.

pros: meyer was NOT scared to go dark in some places, which made the story interesting. she also definitely sourced from multiple grimm/german tales. gilded is very fast paced while also taking the time to get some world-building done between the plot (though it was more of a show not tell situation, which i appreciate much more).

cons: insta-love…. sometimes she would go modern on accident, despite the story being in a very grimm’s setting, but it wasn’t that big of a thing that i really focused on it throughout the book. also very predictable (yes it’s a retelling i get it but that’s not what i mean), and some reveals were toooo drawn out, which i feel was because there’s a sequel coming out.

overall, i just know it would have hit so well as a stand alone. so. well. i will be reading the next book to hopefully disprove this theory, though! the way the story is being set up, im banking on the sequel not being bad in the way most sequels are.
Profile Image for a foray in fantasy.
280 reviews288 followers
December 15, 2021
How does Serilda and Gild’s ~intimate~ relationship work? He’s literally a ghost! 🤔

This got really dark at the end but I liked it! Very Grimm Brothers-esque.

Serilda was an interesting character, one that felt new and not like the same archetypical characters.

Gild and Serilda’s relationship is almost exactly like Lucie and Jesse’s in Chain of Gold. So, if you liked that book, you’ll almost certainly like this one!

4.5 stars
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