A curse. A hidden identity. A dangerous love. Ten-year-old Persinette Basile was forced to flee the palace of Gaule for her life. Now at eighteen, she must find a way to return in order to obey a curse on her family line. The prince won’t know who she is. Not anymore. But she knows him and what he will do if he discovers her true name. Made to fight for her life to earn her place, she vows to find a way to break the curse no matter the cost. To. The. Death. The words describing the tournament turn Prince Alexandre Durand’s blood to ice. The last warrior standing will win a spot at his side. As he's thrust onto the throne, forbidden magic, dangerous betrayals, and a complicated love could tear his reign apart. When the secrets begin to unravel, will Alex stay true to the laws and traditions of Gaule or will he give it all up for a woman who deceived him? Inspired by the Rapunzel story, this is the golden-haired princess as you’ve never seen her before.
Golden Curse (The True Story of Rapunzel)Featured
A Reluctant King and the Girl Cursed to Protect Him
It’s no secret that I enjoy a good fairytale retelling and Golden Curse by M. Lynn is that. This book exceeded all my expectations. I fell in love with the characters and the world, their plights, and the romance. Y’all I have a book hangover here and it is the best feeling. Golden Curse is about a land where magic is outlawed, a reluctant prince turned king, and the girl cursed to protect him.
Persinette Basile is the daughter of the former king’s protector. Her and her father are in hiding and have been since the king outlawed magic and hunted her people in what is now known as the purge. Persinette has spent years training for one thing: to become the protector of the king’s son Alexandre Durand. It isn’t by choice though. No, she’s cursed, just like her family before her to serve the Durand family. They are tied together in life and death. When the king calls a tournament for his son’s protector, Persinette enters and so starts the story of Etta.
I love Etta/Persinette. She is fierce, fighting for herself and her people. I ached for her as she struggles with her conflicting feelings for the prince. She should hate him, but she doesn’t. She’s drawn to him, and the only explanation for it is the curse….or at least that’s what she believes.
Alexandre, or Alex for short, is just as conflicted. He never agreed with his father’s purge, but now as king he is to uphold the no-magic laws. But how can he sentence someone to die based on how they were born? It’s complex, more than he realized. He was raised to hate all magic, to think it evil. Alex isn’t cruel like his father, which is why Etta struggles. He’s kind to a fault, vulnerable in his new position as king, and head over heels for his new protector.
The plot of Golden Curse focuses on Etta and Alex, their tenuous relationship, and the effects of the curse. M. Lynn uses the first book to set up the world of Gaule. I am fascinated with the history and world-building. I found myself wanting to learn more about Bela’s fall, La Dame and the Dracons, and why Gaule ultimately outlawed magic. Y’all I’d read a history book on this if there was one. It is that fascinating! Then there is the romance. It’s a star-crossed lovers trope which is almost always tragic. Etta and Alex do not escape that. I ached for them. For the lies that Etta is forced to tell and the choices Alex makes, their relationship is waiting to implode.
Overall I loved Golden Curse. I couldn’t sit it down and read it in just over 24 hours. Etta and Alex captivated me, and I found myself holding my breath hoping Etta’s magic wouldn’t be revealed. M. Lynn‘s new series is one I plan to binge this summer. I need to know more about Etta, Alex, and their friends. If you enjoy star-crossed lovers, magic and adventure, I highly recommend you grab a copy ASAP.
***A note for YA readers: This book does contain two closed-door/implied scenes. The romance is a little steamy for younger YA readers. My personal recommendation is 16+.***
*This review first appeared on Mom with a Reading Problem: https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com/2019/05/review-golden-curse-by-m-lynn
- Magical world with a fully fleshed out backstory
Golden Curse Review
If there's anything you should know about me it's that I love fairy tale retellings. They're my absolute favorite, and I loved this book! It’s a Rapunzel retelling, and if you follow me anywhere online, you know I’m obsessed with "Tangled." The connection is subtle, though. Etta has golden hair and magic, but until the end, that’s about the only likeness to the story I recognized. I will admit I don’t know the full Rapunzel story outside of Disney, so there might be more that I just didn’t catch onto. Regardless, it was a fantastic book. It felt like I was reading a brand new fairy tale that will one day be a classic. There’s also a reference to Sleeping Beauty when explaining the curse’s history, which made me happy.
M. Lynn is a new author to me, but after this book, I’m hooked. The story is quick-paced, but it doesn’t feel rushed. It is well written and easy to follow through the histories and changing POVs. It has everything you’d want from a YA fairy tale, but it is told in a more modern way while still taking place in a historical setting.
For the most part, I love the characters. Alex is very wishy-washy, especially in the end, but with everything going on, it was to be expected. Even if I didn’t like his actions. Etta is pretty awesome. I love a good, strong heroine who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Those are the two main characters, but it is actually Edmund and Prince Tyson who are my favorites. Edmund is Alex’s best friend and head of his personal guard. We also find out early on that he’s in love with Alex. It is rare to see LGBT representation in a fairy tale like this and I really love it. It wasn’t a main plot point, he never acts on it, but it is there. Tyson is the youngest royal sibling, who has secrets of his own, and throughout the story we see this warm, caring character who you just can’t help but love.
I fully intend on jumping into the next book ASAP. I’m so glad all three books are out already and I don’t have to wait for more of the story. There are two books after that as well, which are based on Cinderella and take place in the same world. The covers are absolutely beautiful, and I should probably mention my weakness for Cinderella retellings... I love them.
If you like fairy tales, check out this series! I will definitely be continuing and looking for more of Lynn’s books.
*Original review was posted on Functionally Fictional: https://functionallyfictional.com/2019/03/21/cait-golden-curse/
- The world building was beautiful and the character were well rounded.
- The book was fast-paced and full of action, but didn't feel rushed.
Golden Curse Review
This went above and beyond all my expectations. I am the first to admit that I love retellings, but oh my goodness. I would not even consider this as a simple retelling because there is just so much more to the story. What a rich and complex world Lynn built. This is considered a Rapunzel retelling but I liked how she took parts of Sleeping Beauty as well. They worked so well together to give us a tale of curses and magic. The curse that has plagues Etta’s family now lies with her and she is determined to end it. Magic was purged from Gaule and anyone possessing magic was executed. After a barrier was erect to keep people with magic in their blood from leaving the city - anyone with magic had to keep it a secret. There was just so many amazing parts in this story that I just kept wanting more. The pace was fantastic and, honestly, so much happened but it never felt overwhelming. Events occurred that I was not expecting which kept the story interesting. And then that ending… I flew through it because I just had to know.
Along with a great story, we were blessed with amazing characters. Etta was a fantastic protagonist and I loved her attitude. She was funny, smart, brave, vulnerable, and just an amazing character. I really enjoyed watching her develop and seeing her walls break down. While she puts up a tough exterior it was nice to see how easily she let the right people in as well. Then we have Alex. I don’t think I’ve read about a prince that I like more than him. He was so complex and it worked for him. Usually, royals have a certain personality to them but not Alex. He was kind but had a temper. He was not a warrior but could still own his own. He never let people forget that he was a prince but he made light of his title as well. Alex just had this mesh of a personality that kept him interesting. Then the chemistry between Etta and Alex, are they meant to be (YES, I HOPE SO) or is it just the curse (NO, IT CAN’T BE JUST THAT)? I am excited to see how their story unfolds.
Overall, Golden Curse by M. Lynn is such a fantastic book. I loved everything about this with the setting that was so magically described. This was full of magic, curses, action, and love. A book like this reminds me why I love the fantasy world so much. Etta and Alex were such great characters with complex personalities that it truly made them easy to connect with. It was fantastic to see the range of emotions that they went through just in this story. I highly recommend this book if you love fantasy retellings, curses, magic, and action.
High-Action Rapunzel Retelling
In this Rapunzel retelling, Ms. Lynn takes the childhood damsel in distress you know and love and turns her into a strong protagonist you’ll be rooting for from the start. In this version, Etta has a magical ability she’s unable to use since magic is illegal. On top of that, her life is bound to the life of another—the handsome prince Alex who just happens to be the son of the man who destroyed her family. To protect her own life she must defend his as well. In Lynn’s masterful hands, the relationship between the two grows and evolves, and you will find yourself turning page after page to find out whether Etta will ultimately succeed in her mission. The only bad news is, you’ll need to wait until book two (and three!) to find out, so you should probably queue them up on your Kindle in advance.
Highly recommend to anyone who loves a fast-paced, tightly-plotted action story with a kick-ass heroine.