Cursed (Gilded Duology, #2)

Cursed (Gilded Duology, #2)
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Release Date
November 08, 2022
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In Cursed, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer brings the haunting fairytale-inspired Gilded duology to a thrilling conclusion that will have fans―old and new―spinning.

Be still now, and I will tell you a tale.

Adalheid Castle is in chaos.

Following a shocking turn of events, Serilda finds herself ensnared in a deadly game of make-believe with the Erlking, who is determined to propel her deeper into the castle’s lies. Meanwhile, Serilda is determined to work with Gild to help him solve the mystery of his forgotten name and past.

But soon it becomes clear that the Erlking doesn’t only want to use Serilda to bring back his one true love. He also seeks vengeance against the seven gods who have long trapped the Dark Ones behind the veil. If the Erlking succeeds, it could change the mortal realm forever.

Can Serilda find a way to use her storytelling gifts for good―once and for all? And can Serilda and Gild break the spells that tether their spirits to the castle before the Endless Moon finds them truly cursed?

Romance and adventure collide in this stunning finale to the Rumpelstilskin-inspired fairy tale.

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1 review
enthralling YA fantasy duology conclusion
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CURSED is an enthralling and riveting YA fantasy sequel. Picking up after the first book left off, Serilda, blessed the god of storytelling and fortune, is now trapped in the castle at the whims of the Erlking while she searches for her and Gild's bodies to try to break the curses. She is unwilling to risk his wrath too much as he holds the spirits of the children for whom she feels responsible. Beyond the Erlking's plots for Serilda and the child she carries, he has a bigger game afoot with the animals he is capturing using the gold that was spun in the first book.

Soon, it becomes clear that he is intent on capturing all the gods for the possibility of the wish they will grant. However, the wish that he wants to make is one that would destroy the world and remake it with horrible consequences for humanity. With time running out on the clock, Gild and Serilda are all that potentially stands between the Erlking and his plots - if only they can write their own story.

What I loved: This is an enthralling conclusion to a clever retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The stakes are certainly different as are the roles of the major players, and this second book departs quite a bit from the fairytale as the stakes are changed by the plotting of the Erlking, though there is certainly a nod back to the story by the end of the book that was quite clever. Themes around the questionable delineation of good and evil, the truth hidden within the stories, love and obsession, grief and loss, the power of a wish/dream, and the importance of memory are all thought-provoking elements of the story.

The Erlking is a bit more of a complex character with his own set of ethics. Although he is the villain to Serilda, his story is fleshed out more to becomes slightly more understandable to the reader, in terms of the fate he has faced and fought against - even though his results are certainly terrible for humanity. Serilda and Gild are certainly intriguing characters, though Serilda makes a few decisions at which most readers will dismay. She is really driven by her feeling of responsibility for the children that the Erlking has destroyed, which remains her foremost goal, even over herself, her own child, and Gild. This leads to some questionable decisions which further work against saving humanity. She is doing her best to live by her own principles.

Though the beginning of the book moves a bit more slowly, the pace really picks up through to the end, as they make new discoveries and find new characters. The later parts of the story felt really action-packed, though still reasonably paced such that the end felt quite satisfying. This wraps up the duology really perfectly and feels quite complete - always nice for the end of a series.

Final verdict: With fairytale twists and deadly intrigue, CURSED is the explosive and satisfying conclusion to an enthralling YA fantasy duology. Highly recommend for fans of THE WHITE STAG, VIOLET MADE OF THORNS, and DREAMS LIE BENEATH.
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