cover image Gilded


Marissa Meyer. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $19.99 (512p) ISBN 978-1-250-61884-9

Meyer (Instant Karma) explores the power of fiction in this inventive “Rumpelstiltskin” reimagining. Every full moon, the sadistic Erlking and his undead coterie enter the mortal realm to steal wandering children and hunt magical creatures. Pale-skinned Serilda Moller, 18, knows to remain indoors on such nights, but when she hears hellhounds chasing two moss maidens near her family’s cabin in Marchenfeld, she feels compelled to intervene. Serilda successfully secrets the duo into the root cellar but is then confronted by the Erlking. Rather than betray the maidens, Serilda—a spellbinding storyteller with gold wheels for irises—falsely asserts that she is harvesting straw to spin into gold. The Erlking departs, but on the next full moon, abducts Serilda to his castle, where he locks her in a cell piled with hay and threatens murder if her claims prove false. Serilda is despondent until a pale, redheaded teen called Gild appears and offers to complete her impossible task—for a price. Intricate worldbuilding and star-crossed romance help temper the Erlking’s brutality, and though the book is overlong, well-drawn characters will leave readers craving a sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Nov.)