Book Title: Gilded
Series: The Gilded Series
Author: Christina Farley
Amazon Link: Click here
Disclaimer: I received this free book from NetGalley in exchange for an un-biased review.
An enjoyable foray into ancient Korean culture and mythology. I loved being introduced to such intriguing cultural themes and characters. It was great fun to look up these fantastical creatures and find artwork so I could more accurately imagine what the author is describing. Curious readers will find this irresistible. This book has one foot firmly planted in the present day and one magically in Ancient Korea. I like the juxtaposition and the connection this allows the reader to make with the main character. Because I am not familiar with Korean culture and history this made the story very easy to read. In this novel, a young high school girl, Jae Hwa Lee, is brought to her parents homeland of Korea following her mother’s death and her father’s promotion at work. She comes to find she has a personal connection to the old Korean folktales she has heard from her family as a little girl. It’s an exciting read. I was a little worried when I read that the author was in fact not of Korean heritage but instead had been a teacher in the country for a number of years. How could she write legitimately about a lifestyle not her own? She did well in my opinion. Jae, although of Korean heritage, has been raised in America. She is familiar with aspects of the Korean culture but not like a native. Her voice seemed authentic to me.
I enjoyed the main character. She is a little formulaic in that she checks off all the boxes required for a good YA girl these days. Proficient with a bow and arrow? Check. Good at martial arts? Check. Exceptionally intelligent? Check. Fiercely independent? Check. Don’t get me wrong, I love these girls. Give me more Katniss anyday! What helped this character to develop beyond the formula were her faults. She’s far from perfect. Even she can’t pull off straight A’s as well as fighting evil, and did she get kicked out of Tai Kwon Do? Oops! Does she fly off the handle sometimes? Yep. Loved it! If you like YA with a strong girl in the forefront then this will be satisfying, with enough exotic flavoring to feel different.
Overall, I liked this book a great deal. I would definitely read more from this author, in fact I just found out that there are sequels to this first novel. I’m gladly adding them to my TBR list.
Bonus link: Visit the author’s blog here.
Song for this book: Mr. Moon by Eisley