[A quick note: A huge thank you to Bookish First for this book! I won this in a raffle in exchange for a review. While it took me a little while to get to it, and the book was actually quite late in reaching me, I finally finished it. The cover is gorgeous, am I right??]
“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. 𝐀 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐠𝐨𝐝.”—Marissa Meyer
What starts off feeling like a fairytale quickly turns dark and twisted. Serilda is born with an ability to weave fantastical stories. While the town’s school children love her for it, most of the town regards her with distaste. She’s bad luck—blamed for every misfortune that comes their way. So…she mostly keeps to herself. When the Erlking’s full moon hunt threatens to claim a couple of forest nymphs, Serilda weaves a story to save their lives, capturing His Grim’s attention. He soon returns to claim her for an impossible demand, a demand that she must fulfill or forfeit her life.
I adored the twist to Rumpelstiltskin! There’s a dark fairytale feel to this story, complete with romance and a witty MC. When she’s summoned by the Erlking, Serilda must spin straw into gold not once, not twice, but three times before she finally stands up to him. Every time he demands it of her, she must sacrifice something dear to accomplish the task. The truth is, Serilda has no idea how to turn straw to gold, but Gild does. What she can do, is weave stories, which she soon discovers are more than just simple tales.
The Erlking’s hunt is well known, even if most of what’s known about him is myth. Every full moon, his retinue rides out with their hounds to hunt creatures all across the land. Those who hear the call and follow it, perish to their deaths. Some are claimed to the court of the undead, but most just wander too far from home and die gruesomely. A few return as zombies. It’s well known that the hunt claims lives, and every full moon, those who don’t wish to be claimed stuff their ears with wax to avoid its call.
The Erlking is an undead being who lives beyond the veil. One night a month, the night of the full moon, the veil between his undead world and the human world vanishes. His castle comes alive with living dead, and each dawn following the full moon, the veil closes and the castle turns to crumbling ruins. It is here Serilda must attend to the Erlking to complete each of his demands. And no matter how she tries to run and hide, he always finds her.
She must uncover the secrets about the castle, the Erlking, and a charming young man named Gild, if she is to free herself. What she discovers is a harrowing tale that she herself has woven. She’s caught in it like a fly in a web. When the children of her town are threatened, she will stop at nothing to save them, even if it means betrothing herself to the monster she’s determined to defeat.
This story took such an unexpected turn. I didn’t realize it was the start of a series, so I was hoping for closure at the end. Instead, there were twists and turns and lots of darkness. I’m a little bummed that it didn’t conclude in one novel. But I am looking forward to the next installment. It was a fun and refreshing read. The world building was unique and felt very fairytale like. I enjoyed the romance between Serilda and Gild, especially. And as far as retellings go, a definite slam dunk!
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒.𝟓/𝟓⭐️