Book Review: Gilded by Marissa Meyer

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Gilded by Marissa Meyer—Serilda, a youthful woman marked by the god of lies, finds herself entangled in a complex web of legends and at the mercy of the Alder King in this Rumpelstiltskin retelling tale. When one of Serilda’s fantastical tales attracts the evil Erlking and his zombie hunters, she thrusts into a gloomy world where ghosts and phantoms walk the earth, and hollow-eyed ravens follow her wherever she goes.

I had never explored Marissa Meyer’s books before, so yeah, this was the author’s first impression on me, and she did a great job! It got me thinking, why haven’t I read her books before? This book was oddly satisfying, even more, as I love Rumpelstiltskin. This book can be considered a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, but it isn’t a shadow of it.

In this novel, the characters are so vividly brought to life by true human feelings and ideas. Although the plot of the original fairy tale is recognizable, the author has given it a fresh spin by inventing a cast of people and settings that you grow to adore. This narrative is jam-packed with vivid imagery, shocking plot turns, and characters with well-developed personalities.

Now that I’ve given you a brief overview, I’m sure you can’t wait to have more. Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you with just that. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy!

Gilded by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Here’s everything you need to know before you read the book. This is the first book of the Gilded series, so you don’t need any previous references. It sure is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, but you don’t need to know what happens in there. Just move further and have fun!

The Author

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer was born in 1984 on February 19 in Tacoma, Washington. She writes novels and is American. Cinder, her first book, was published on January 3, 2012. The Lunar Chronicles is her first book in the series.

Meyer attended Pacific Lutheran University and graduated with a degree in creative writing and children’s literature. Later, she enrolled at Pace University, where she graduated with a Master’s in Publishing.

Growing up, Meyer acknowledges that she had a deep affinity for fairy tales and that Sailor Moon was one of her favorite television programs, all of which influenced the writing of Cinder. Meyer also claims that Renegades was inspired by her enthusiasm for superheroes.

Meyer and Jesse Taylor are wed. Sloane and Delaney, her and her husband’s twin children, were adopted in 2015.

Book Overview | Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Full Title: Gilded

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Date: 2 November 2021

Page Count: 505

Series: Gilded

Followed by: Cursed (expected: 3 November 2022)

Main Characters: Serilda, Erlking, Gertrud, Miller,

Themes:  Magic, Fantasy, Adventures

Setting: A poor miller’s daughter who, the god of lies once cursed, has become skilled at creating fascinating, captivating, and completely false tales.


Serilda is drawn into a dark world where ghosts and phantoms haunt the earth, and hollow-eyed ravens follow her every move when one of her bizarre tales attracts the notice of the evil Erlking and his undead hunters. She is given the impossible duty of turning straw into gold by the king, or she will be executed for lying.

Serilda unintentionally conjures a fascinating boy to help her out of desperation. For a fee, he agrees to assist her. Serilda soon discovers that the castle walls conceal several secrets, including an old curse that must be broken if she wants to stop the king’s oppression and his frantic search.

Book Summary | Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Serilda, a miller’s daughter in GILDED, is shunned by her rural town due to her peculiar golden-spoked irises. Serilda is skilled at falsehoods and storytelling, as her father believes, and she has been blessed by the goddess Wyrdith. She is so professional that she uses her tongue alone to save the lives of two moss maidens from the magical wood when the terrible undead Erlking pays a visit to one full moon with his Wild Hunt. After hiding the Erlking’s moss maiden quarry in her cellar, Serilda is discovered by him and his fellow undead.

The king has several inquiries. She has seen the moss maidens, right? And why is she awake in the dead of night? Despite her fear, Serilda dares to tell him one of her stories. She explains to him that she is out gathering straw because only under the light of a full moon can she turn straw into gold. Serilda exhales with relief as the satisfied but slightly perplexed Erlking departs. However, a ghost in a carriage shows up at her door during the next full moon.

She must travel by horseback to the Erlking’s castle, which is on the opposite side of the veil dividing the living from the dead and the magical wood. And if she doesn’t turn a roomful of straw into gold in one night, she will perish. Serilda, who has reached the point of no return, cries out for assistance, and the poltergeist of the castle, a mystery redheaded kid with no memory of his previous existence, comes to the rescue.

My Takeaway from the Book | Gilded by Marissa Meyer

The main thing I noticed, and I’m guessing so did many of you, is that Serilda wasn’t mainly a ‘good’ or ‘great’ person, but that didn’t make her any less likable or heroic. She is the novel’s protagonist, even though she isn’t the most likable character in the book. You grow to love her unconditionally as you read the book.

The same can happen in real life as well. We don’t have to be good all the time to be liked. We have to be ourselves, and the people will slowly like us regardless; those are the people who would matter. As the saying goes, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

What Do I Think of the Book? Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Gilded by Marissa Meyer book Cover

The protagonist and the most compelling character is Serilda. She is undoubtedly not a “nice” person; she lies and is frequently overly imaginative to harm herself and others, but she isn’t an anti-hero either.

While reading it, I completely forgot that it was a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. This story feels more like a full storybook than simply one recounting because it incorporates folklore and fairytales. And it puts this story’s world and culture to life.

Since this book may have been 50–100 pages shorter, it is over 500 pages long. Several occurrences reoccur throughout the book’s chronology. The fact that they had to repeat it to get there bothered me. That entire section, in my opinion, might have been cut because it didn’t add much to the story.


I think this book deserves a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion | Gilded by Marissa Meyer

This is a book that will keep you turning the pages. I admired how the author’s individuality was maintained intact throughout the novel. I most certainly would advise young adults to read this book. It fulfilled all my requirements for a fairytale retelling. I found it difficult to put this book down since I was interested in what would come next.

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