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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
At Serilda’s birth, the god of storytelling gave her a gift, or so her father claims. She certainly has a reputation for telling the most marvelous stories–a reputation that causes all the villagers to distrust her and label her a liar. Unfortunately, she can’t stop herself from telling these lies, and on a fateful night of the full moon when the dark hunters pass through the veil to the land of the living, she tells a tale to the Erlking himself–a tale in which she can spin straw into gold.
Instead of slitting her throat as he might have done to an ordinary mortal, the Erlking whisks her away to his dungeon and gives her one chance to prove her ability. Serilda believes her life is over–until a boy appears in her cell. Neither dead nor living, the boy without a name feels strangely drawn to Serilda, and he happens to have the ability to spin straw into gold. But the Erlking will not be satisfied with a single demonstration of her professed powers, and as his demands increase, Serilda’s stories start to bring her closer to a dark secret about the Erlking and his court and the cursed boy that she is rapidly falling in love with.
No praise I can write here will do this book justice. Masterfully told and spun from many threads of rich German folklore, this novel is far more than a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. The world-building is immersive, luxurious, and chilling; the characters nuanced; the heroine delightful and surprising; and the dialogue modern without feeling out-of-place. Not only is this one of my favorite books of the year, but it is one of my favorite fantasies I’ve read in a long time. I cannot recommend it highly enough!