Gold Spun spins a new take on the classic take of Rumpelstiltskin as it follows Nor and her cons to keep her family alive.
What worked well for Gold Spun is the fact that the main protagonist is a con artist. I love a good story about a morally grey character. She is a con artist because her family is poor after the war between the kingdoms. Her parents died in the war, her older sister died of illness, leaving Nor and her older brother to care for their younger brothers.
Nor does what she needs to survive, to keep her family alive. That makes her relatable.
However, when the prince catches her in her lie, that she can spin straw into gold, the stakes are raised. Nor risks losing her family and sentencing them to live in exile if she does not complete this task.
Nor is an interesting character, and her internal narrative, drive, and commentary are both humorous and relatable. She puts the royal court in their place, highlighting how blind they have been to the plight of the people. They have no idea what goes on in the world, how people are suffering, and how promises to repair the damages done by the war have yet to be filled. The reader can understand and connect her anger and resentment to her frustration at the court’s ignorance.
I love that Nor calls out the nobles for their ignorance, how she stands up to them. She is clever and intelligent, just like the original miller’s daughter by the Brothers’ Grimm.
As for the other characters, we get to know them well, and the character dynamics and chemistry between them are well done. There is a hint of a love triangle, but it is not established enough to distract from the plotline. June leaves the door open for exploring it, but the story is about Nor and Prince Casper.
Thankfully, the romance takes a back seat to the rest of the story without neglecting their chemistry and development. There is no “insta-love” trope being thrown around here, but instead, an excellent character-focused development towards the romance and plot.
We all know the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. The miller lies and tells everyone his daughter can spin straw into gold, and so hearing her cries, Rumple comes and rescues her. However, as one famous Rumple always says, “magic always comes with a price, dearie.”
Nor stumbles upon a faerie and rescues him. In return, he gifts her with a magical golden thread to summon him should she need a favor or help. When the prince catches her in her lie and challenges her to turn a room full of straw into gold, well, she calls in her favor. However, of course, there is a prince.
The price here is not what the reader might typically think. Instead, it caught me by surprise and added to the story’s uniqueness because fae-based literature has been on the rose in recent years, so seeing something different is refreshing.
Gold Spun is also more than just a retelling. While it may open with the miller’s daughter spinning lies of straw to gold, it is about much more than that. There are so many underlying plots that layer upon one another to keep the momentum going. The pacing rises and rises, giving the reader bits and pieces of a larger mystery that needs to be solved. Why is the fae kingdom suddenly attacking? What is the connection it has to a fairy tale? June gives the reader bits and pieces here and there to keep the reader engaged and the plot evolving.
Gold Spun is a great retelling. It takes a con artist and makes her relatable, spinning this engaging new take on a classic fairy tale that will leave the reader’s jaw open by the end.
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|Pub Date: June 8, 2021||Page Count: 368pp||Age Range: 13 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-7443-0166-3||Publisher: CamCat Books||List Price: $24.99|