Series Review: Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Gilded (from Goodreads):

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.


Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Gilded
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2021 – November 2022
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite loving the Lunar Chronicles, I actually had this retelling by Marissa Meyer marked as a “pass” on my TBR shelf. The reviews seemed to be so-so and the sheer length scared me. But when I was browsing audiobooks at my library, I could not escape that cover! So I thought I would give it a shot as an audiobook and see how I felt.

The Concept / The World:

I’ve never read the original tale of Rumpelstiltskin—immediately my mind goes to the Muppets version I used to watch as a kid–but it has always seemed as one of the shorter, more basic fairy tales. It’s kind of a weird one though right? A lie is told, a girl is imprisoned, a con man takes advantage of her imprisonment but in the end, he gets swindled and everyone lives happily ever after. However, I do enjoy the trickster iterations of Rumpelstiltskin in modern culture (Once Upon a Time anyone?).

Once Upon A Time Rumplestiltskin GIF - Once Upon A Time Rumplestiltskin  Hello There - Discover & Share GIFs

So I think Marissa Meyer does a good job of teasing out the finer details of the shorter fairy tale and making it into something grander. I’ve read that there is a lot of other German folklore in this story but, again, the nuances are little lost on me as I’m not familiar with them at all. It’s a very layered world — she has always been very good at creating entire worlds.

The Plot:

I personally don’t like overly detailed books. I like building things up, don’t get me wrong. But I need to be constantly engaged and believing that things actually are building. I didn’t really feel that here. I wholeheartedly believe this series could have been condensed into one book and it would have been excellent. It just felt drawn out and some things just felt unnecessary.

The Characters:

I enjoyed Gild’s first scene (I was actually going to DNF Gilded it until he appeared around the 20% mark). I liked his banter and attitude. But I felt like he plays a smaller role than I anticipated as the story progressed. That changes a bit in the sequel but I missed his charm when I realized he didn’t play as big of a role as I had hoped.

Serilda is alright. I wasn’t wowed by her by any means. She actually reminded me a lot of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

The Romance:

This wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be. It’s an important element but not the driving one. I think I would have liked a different direction actually but I don’t want to say to much and give away spoilers.

My Audiobook Experience:

Holy smokes. I had to up the speed to 2x (from 1.5x) to keep my attention from waning. It clocks in at over 16 hours which is long. The production itself is good, I think it’s just the sheer length of each book that is overwhelming.

Series Rating: 3/5

Gilded 2.5/5 | Cursed 3/5


Everything just gets lost in the copious length of this series: the romance, the characters, the twists. It just didn’t work for me.

Read if You Like: long books, fairy tale retellings
Avoid if You: dislike long books, want more romance


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