Thursday, December 24, 2015

Book 4: Gilded

“We are given moments, and we must choose what to do with them. This is your moment.”

Dates read: October 18-20, 2015

Rating: 2/10

I'm a sucker for young adult lit, and young adult fantasy in particular has a soft spot in my heart (Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic books, for example, are such favorites of mine that I recently replaced my long-lost childhood copies). So when I was shopping through the Kindle sale section and saw Gilded, I thought it seemed like a great fit for my tastes.

And it promised to be based in mythology! I'm a big mythology nerd and have been since I was a kid (my mom got me this book called Greek Myths for Young Children and it was my favorite thing and I still remember it fondly to this day), but I've never been exposed to the Korean mythology background indicated as a basis for the story, so I thought it would be a good chance to learn about that too.

As the rating shows, though, it was a huge disappointment. The book follows the story of teenage Jae Hwa, a Korean girl raised for most of her life in the United States and recently returned to Korea after the death of her mother. Her grandfather is very unhappy to see her, which she assumes to be because he doesn't like his Americanized granddaughter, but turns out to be because as a female born into her father's family, she will be ruthlessly pursued by a demigod until he can pull her into his dimension and imprison her for all eternity.

There's good stuff to work with her: grief for her mother, being torn between cultures, an exciting adventure in another world...and that's on top of the usual high-school plotlines (first love, friendships, coming of age, etc ) that have driven plenty of YA novels for ages. But nothing really works. The loss of her mother and her dual cultural identities are referenced often, but without any real exploration of them...she just notes that she's sad, or that she's confused, and it completely vanishes until she sees fit to mention it again. Her love interest has two identifying traits: he's cute, and he's really smart/education/good at everything. Of course he likes her too, so their only stumbling block is that she's constantly shoving him away because she wants to protect him from getting caught up in her destiny. Which is noble enough the first time, but gets tiresome long before the end of the book. As do her constant interactions with her divine pursuer, who keeps pulling her into his world to remind her he's going to do so permanently...and then she escapes. Again. And again. I was relieved when I got to the end. The book feels like a first draft of something better.

Tell me, blog friends...what did you read recently that was disappointing?

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