Gild is a riveting and twisty retelling of King Midas’ tale, told from the perspective of his favorite concubine, Auren. And our heroine is not just any concubine, she’s Midas’ favorite— so much so that he’s gilded her from head to toe.
In this novel, author Raven Kennedy, a veteran of immersive and absorbing Fantasy novels, brings to life the world of Orea and the magic and intrigue it holds. In a departure from the story we all know, Gild’s Midas can imbue with gold— as he’s ostensibly done with Auren. This is in addition to his more familiar and singular ability to turn things and people into solid (and very dead) gold.
Immediately apparent to the reader is that Auren is a glorified slave— in love with her master, treated better than most, but a slave, nonetheless. She’s a caged bird at Highbell, the grotesquely opulent palace where’s she’s held in thrall by King Midas; persistently held captive by her love for her king despite the unmistakable and maddening power imbalance.
A theme throughout the book was the brutal commoditization of femininity, pitting women against one another. And as the king’s favored, Auren is often scapegoated by others as much as she was lusted after and objectified by men who saw her as nothing more than a thing. This is something we see tug mercilessly at Auren until she can finally take no more, and she rises to embrace her inner strength. And boy, is this transformation, urged forward by sheer desperation, a sight to behold!
Auren’s narration and character growth played out in my head like a sweeping, cinematic experience, and I found myself increasingly immersed in this page-turner of a fantasy. As the plot advances, the author treats us with a breathtaking narrative full of redolent storytelling and settings you can damn near see, smell, and taste.
Gild is book #1 in Raven Kennedy’s Plated Prisoner series, and after devouring this novel inside of 24 hours, I’m excited to read the next installment in this Fantasy series!
Content Warning: a decent amount of fairly graphic sex scenes, sexual assault, non-consensual sex (rape), murder, violence; Basically, think Game of Thrones level trigger warnings.
Where to find Gild
Publication Date: October 16, 2020