Stories are only half told until they’ve found a listener.
SERIES: Gilded Duology (Book #2)
LENGTH: 485 pages
GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends
RELEASE DATE: 8 November 2022
New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer concludes her young adult retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in this sequel!
Serilda and Gild attempt to break the curses that tether their spirits to Adalheid’s haunted castle before the Endless Moon, when the Erlking means to capture one of the seven gods and make a wish to return his lover, Perchta, from the underworld. But as the story progresses, it becomes clear he doesn’t want just one god – he wants to capture all seven, and force them to bring down the veil that keeps the Dark Ones separate from the land of the mortals. Serilda and Gild must try to thwart his plans, all while solving the mystery of Gild’s forgotten name, freeing his younger sister who is trapped inside Gravenstone Castle, and trying to protect their unborn child.
Romance, adventure, and Serilda’s journey to finding her power as a woman, a mother, and a partner make this a retelling that Meyer fans – old and new – will treasure.
“This is the stuff of fairy tales. You are the stuff of fairy tales. Handsome princes who kill wicked huntresses and get themselves cursed inside haunted castles are the stuff of fairy tales.”
Ugh, this book. This. Book. I was really looking forward to it. I really enjoyed Gilded for all of its flaws, and I love The Lunar Chronicles. But I really didn’t like Cursed. Marissa Meyer really dropped the ball here for me.
Honestly though, I think I hated it as much as I did not only because I didn’t like it, but also because I didn’t really like any of the other books that I read in September. If I had read other books that I ended up liking, I might not have rated this reading experience so lowly. But I did read a bunch of books I didn’t like, so I did give it a low rating. Oh well.
(Also, sorry that this review took as long as it did. I just couldn’t find the motivation to write it after the amount of disappointment this book made me feel.)
- The first book ▼
As much as I didn’t like Cursed, my experience reading it made me appreciate its predecessor more. This definitely could have (and probably should have) been all one standalone novel.
- The prose ▼
This book was competently written. It’s the biggest reason why I didn’t end up rating it any lower.
“Are you reading fairy tales, miller’s daughter? Or are you living one?”
- The characters ▼
I have a slight confession to make: I wasn’t quite as fond of our protagonist, Serilda, as much as I might’ve said. She was a very reactive MC and she made so many stupid decisions throughout the first book. And that didn’t change with this one. In fact, Serilda was even more reactive and made even more stupid decisions. She also didn’t do anything for the first half of the book (at least), which made it quite the slog to get through. It was extremely annoying.
Gild was a character that I really liked in the first novel, though. And I was anticipating Cursed somewhat in part because I expected that we’d be seeing more of him, as well as more of his interactions with Serilda, because of how Gilded ended. Nope. He doesn’t appear any more often than he does in book one. In fact, sometimes it felt like I saw less of him sometimes.
The other characters didn’t feel like they mattered. The kids were sweet, like they were in the first one, but they kind of started to irritate me after a while because they prevented the plot from moving forward. It was very annoying. And the villains – the Erlking and Perchta were also really annoying characters. Perchta was just a bee-atch and I could never quite tell what the Erlking wanted. He had weird interactions with Serilda that implied he might’ve been having character development in a certain way, but it was all for nothing.
- The plot ▼
This book lost the plot. Nothing at all happens until after the 50% mark, and nothing major happens until like two thirds of the way through.
The pacing was also terrible here. Every part taking place over a couple days over one month worked in the first novel, but it doesn’t really work here. Even though Serilda has always been a reactive protagonist, but in Gilded it at least felt like she was doing stuff some of the time. Here, she doesn’t really do anything for much of the early parts, and the plot doesn’t move along. As a result, the last quarter of the book has to tumble over backwards to wrap up all of the loose ends, and even then, it’s not even close to a satisfying end to the story.
- The romance ▼
Guys, it really sucks. I was looking forward to watching Serilda and Gild’s bond go stronger, and relationship unfold further here, but we don’t get that. Much of their bonding happens off-page and in descriptions. Ew. I kinda would have liked to read about their bond happening Meyer! There’s also just so much insta-love aspects happening with it too.
“Human, god, monster – we are all the victims of fate and fortune.”
Cursed by Marissa Meyer was majorly disappointing. Because of this I, unfortunately, can’t really recommend it. It just didn’t live up to my expectations.
Not that everyone who reads it will hate it like I did. I think other fans of Gilded and Marissa Meyer’s other works have a decent chance of enjoying it. So don’t just take my word for it.
What books have you read by Marissa Meyer? Which books are your favorite? What are your favorite fairytale retellings?
As always, thank you so much for reading, and have a great day/night!
See ya ~Mar