Book Review: Gilded

Book Review: GildedGilded (Gilded, #1) by Christina Farley
Published by Skyscape on March 1st 2014
Pages: 352
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Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.
But that’s not Jae’s only problem.
There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.

I was very disappointed by Gilded. I was excited to read a book that took place in Seoul, being a huge fan of all things Korean. Though Farley does a good job of immersing the reader in Korean culture through main character Jae Hwa, who has just moved there from L.A., her writing is often immature and nonsensical. Plus, Jae Hwa, who is supposed to be a kickass heroine, complete with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and mastery of archery, often makes mind boggling decisions that are frustrating and just plain unbelievable.

Would a girl who is being stalked by an insidious god named Hameousu—who has successfully kidnapped female members of her family for generations—be so trusting? I think not. At one point, Jae Hwa is running from said god and decides spur of the moment to seek safety with someone named Kim. She has only heard about this person from her grandpa—whom coincidentally, she thinks is crazy for the entire beginning of the book—but somehow putting all of her trust in this stranger seems like a good idea. Farley ends this chapter with Jae Hwa thinking something along the lines of, “It never occurred to me whether or not I could trust her.” Instances like these happen way more often than they should and make me want to bang my head against the next solid object I came across. I find it completely unbelievable that a girl who finds sneaking out of the house for a concert with friends more important than hiding from an ancient god and his pet dragons, is able to not only fend him off, but also break the curse that has enslaved her family and their ancestors for centuries.

Ultimately, if you can suspend your disbelief at Jae Hwa’s constant naiveté and poor decision making skills and enjoy Farley’s book as a simple light-hearted romp with interesting mythology, you’re in for a fast paced read. However, if you’re looking for a book that gives anything more than a shallow look at Korean culture and mythology and young love, look elsewhere.

Book Reviews- - GILDED

Posted July 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Young Adult

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