Jae Hwa Lee, the main character, is in incredible danger. After moving to South Korea from the United States, Jae Hwa is threatened by a demi-god. He wants to steal her soul and make sure she will never leave him (getting creepy vibes?). Unfortunately, he hasn't been doing this to just Jae Hwa but also to her female ancestors before her. (Now that is gross and vile.) Jae Hwa is a strong, fiery, aggressive, amazing character (who I am in love with, so buzz off, Haemosu). Despite being tested and tempted over and over again, she never breaks down.
The world building is amazing. Not only does Christina Farley takes the readers to South Korea, she also brings us to a spirit world of... well, deceased souls, gods, and demigods.
The plot starts off quickly. A mysterious man (Haemosu) appearing from seemingly nowhere. A possible love interest. A family secret. As Jae Hwa dodges the attempts on her soul and unfolds her family's secrets (which is annoyingly kept in secret from her), the closer her enemy gets. Haemosu is an excellent and cunning villain, who hits Jae Hwa in the least expected moments. But he is also a delusional creep.
The conflict between Haemosu and Jae Hwa is of a cat and mouse game. Haemosu is too powerful in the spirit world, but Jae Hwa always manages to slip away. One little mistake, and Jae Hwa is bound to him forever. Intriguing and suspenseful, isn't it?
The ending brings so much potential for a sequel. I would love to see Jae Hwa continue hunting for... Oh, sorry. I forget myself. Spoilers. I can't reveal spoilers.
In conclusion, GILDED is an amazing start to a fascinating series. With a strong character, a soft and slow romance, and a dangerous, supernatural enemy, this book is definitely one of my favorites for this year. Points for diversity.
Rating: Four out of Five