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Gild is a reimaging of the King Midas myth, the individual who can turn anything to gold with the touch of his hand. The Plated Prisoner series is told from the perspective of Auren, who has been turned into gold from her hair, skin, eyes, etc. Everything about her is gold even down to the two dozen ribbons that come out of her back. She is the prized possession of King Midas and locked away in a gilded cage where no one, so no one but him can touch her. The story takes place ten years after she was locked away in the cage, where she finds herself on the other side of the cage where there’s no protection for the first time.
The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.
Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.
King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.
Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.
Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged, and I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.
Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage.
But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.
- Published: October 16, 2020
- Page Count: 305 pages
- Genre: Fantasy
- Warnings: 18+, Mature Language, Violence, and Non-Consensual Sex
Thoughts on Gild (Spoilers)
The book starts out with an orgy between King Midas and his saddles, which starts the tone for the book. Women are treated like objects to be used and discarded by men. The scene itself comes off more like stage directions than any real spice. This scene is told from the perspective of Auren, who is locked away from what’s going on. She has to watch the entire thing, but not join in on the action. So, the scene is disinterested to reflect the character’s inner thoughts. She’s not going to be into what’s going on as she doesn’t want to be there. She’s bored. And desperately wishes Midas would solely pay attention to her instead. As we learn, the two have a romantic history before he turned her to gold and locked her away in a cage.
However, Auren doesn’t get that attention from Midas. And her trust in him is destroyed the following day when he agrees to give her away for a night to the Fifth Kingdoms King. All in exchange for that King to attack a rival kingdom (the Fourth Kingdom that belongs to King Rot). He’s never let anyone get near or say anything negative about Auren before. So, him allowing this to occur is the destruction of that relationship the two have had for a decade. However, we don’t learn until after the ‘battle’ that it was a trick to take out the other King. Midas has the King of the Fifth Kingdom killed before he can ever truly touch Auren. But the damage is already done. She might still have feelings for Midas, but she no longer trusts him. Especially if he’s going to use her like a coin instead of treating her like a friend as he once did.
Weeks later Auren is taken out of the cage to travel to the kingdom Midas has taken over only to be taken prisoner by pirates. Her guards are killed in front of her, and the saddles that were traveling with her don’t want anything to do with her. Since they blame her for the guards always protecting her instead of them, her getting special treatment, and if she hadn’t been riding on a horse instead of her solo carriage the pirates may not have come for them. Granted, there’s no proof that’s how the pirates knew of their progression. They are a large group in gold armor and carriages through an area with nothing else around. Pirates would’ve attacked it regardless of the gold. They didn’t even realize Auren was with the group until later. Though they did have a tip.
Before the pirate captain can assault Auren, they are informed that King Rot’s soldiers and Commander Rip are coming on board. So, the saddles and Auren are sent below deck to prepare their meal. It isn’t until the dishes and silverware are set out that Auren learns who the dinner guests are for. Auren is the first to realize the commander doesn’t have spikes (along his spine, forearms, and forehead) due to rot created by King Ravinger, but he’s Fae. A race who existed in their own realm that was once tied to Orea, and the source of where the powers individuals like King Ravinger (King Rot) and Midas got their abilities. But the connection was broken centuries ago, so no one thought the fae existed anymore in Orea. When that connection broke the seventh kingdom was destroyed leaving only six behind that all could only be ruled by someone with magic. My guess is that Auren is at least part fae due to the two dozen ribbons on her back that she can control with her mind. They can move on their own at times, and she can sharpen them to act like daggers.
Commander Rip wants to buy Midas’s entire party off the pirates after intercepting all twelve messages the captain sent an hour before. On behalf of King Ravinger as revenge for Midas sending the Fifth Army to the Fourth kingdom as an act of revenge against its king who wanted Auren and was trafficking people. However, the captain keeps Auren out of the room where they go over the agreement so Rip might not realize who Auren is since he plans on keeping her to himself. All the while, Auren works on freeing her ribbons, so she can use them again after the captain bound them. Of course, Rip is aware Auren is on board and won’t leave without her. However, the captain won’t let the saddles off so easily. He might sell them but he’s going to rape Rissa and Auren. While he manages to rape Rissa, Auren stops him before he can choke her to death by turning him into solid gold. Something Auren apparently has known to do for years thanks to Midas. However, this leads to the issue of getting rid of the body since it’s heavy. And trying to come up with a story on where he disappeared to without his coat and hat.
The book ends with Auren being taken by Commander Rip with his parting words being along the lines of he knows what she is. Again, I think it’s Fae. Something I have a feeling will be explored further in the next book. And Midas’s reaction to learning that the Fourth Kingdom has taken Auren.
Overall, I would give Gild a 3.25 out of 5-star rating.
While the writing is good and calls for an interesting story. The women are written in such a degrading manner. Auren may act to help others but it always takes her a long time before she does something. And usually, when she does it’s impulsive, so she doesn’t think through the consequences. Making her more of a standby party to her story rather than an active player. Hopefully, that changes more with the rest of the series. She’s not locked up in a cage anymore, but she’s been passed off from one captor to the next multiple times. So, I’m curious when she’ll start doing something. Since she apparently can also turn things to gold and have ribbons that can glow, move, and cut through things like blades.
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