'"...Not every story has a happy ending. Life isn’t like that, you know.”
“Which is why we listen to stories!”'
You probably know the tale of Rumpelstiltskin; "Gilded" lengthens and embellishes it, adding folklore and creatures and characters from other Grimm tales. It's both darker and lighter than the original story, and focuses quite a lot more on romance. The most important characters are Serilda, the miller's daughter who loves nothing more than telling stories, the Erlking, a king who, in this story, rules over "dark ones" and ghosts, and of course, the imp who saves Serilda's life by spinning straw into gold for her; he's just a boy in this story and he goes by "Gild."
I liked "Gilded" but didn't love it. The world is interesting and well constructed and I was really drawn into that aspect. I especially love the story of Serilda's birth, and the background lore of the old gods. Adalheid Castle was also really cool, with the way the Erlking tethers souls to it. As for Serilda herself... she was alright, but I often couldn't understand why she behaved the way she did in certain situations. A lot of these moments were meant to be humorous, employed as a way of keeping the tone light, but they usually didn't work for me. It's been a while since I read the Lunar Chronicles, and while I remember enjoying those books I might've grown out of Meyer's writing style. There's also the book's length, which in my opinion really didn't need to be over 500 pages, especially considering it's the first part of a duology. 2.5/5.