cover image Gold Spun

Gold Spun

Brandie June. CamCat, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-74430-166-3

Familiar fantasy film and bestseller clichés jumble together as this whirlwind YA reimagining of “Rumpelstiltskin” sticks with surface-level treatments of class and romance. War orphan–turned–con artist Elenora Molnár, 17, supports her three brothers via theft and petty scams. When she rescues stunningly beautiful faerie Pel from bounty hunters and learns that his blood magic can transmute wool into gold, Nor launches her next con: “mystical straw” that spins into gold. She’s quickly caught by 19-year-old heir to the throne, Prince Casper, who makes a bargain: if she can spin gold to fund his fay war, he will marry her; if not, exile. When she and Pel unexpectedly deliver, Nor is swept into petty court politics and the chance to be a “queen of the people” while war brews with the fay. But Pel, Casper, and Nor’s unwitting love triangle and her own lies threaten to undo everything. June’s debut strings together quantities of tropes—some with misogynist overtones—that never quite cohere into a focused narrative, resulting in material that seasoned YA readers will find outmoded. Ages 13–up. Agent: Steve Hutson, WordWise Media. (May)

Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the story on which the novel is based.