Release Date: September 23, 2014
***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via the author and Elana Johnson
Praise for GILDED, the first book in the series:
“An amazing contemporary fantasy that explores the vast legends of Korea, this richly detailed novel kept me turning the pages well into the night. Jae Hwa starts off as a strong character and ends as a noble one, using both her brains and her brawn to win the day–she’s exactly the kind of girl YA literature needs.”
~from Beth Revis, NY Times Bestselling author of Across the Universe series
“Farley brings South Korea’s fascinating culture and mythology into vivid detail in this shining debut, and Jae is a compelling heroine. An exotic, thrilling read, GILDED had me utterly entranced!”
~from Jessica Khoury, author of ORIGIN and VITRO
Jae Hwa Lee has destroyed Haemosu, the dangerous demi-god that held her ancestors captive, and now she’s ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Then the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it.
But Kud is stronger and more devious than Haemosu ever was. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.
“‘Not so fast, Fighter Girl. As enticing as this food is, it gains no entrance here.’ He cups my chin with his hand. ‘It’ll have to be something more lasting than that.’ Then his lips are on mine, and the bag of food slips to the floor, forgotten. I drink in his kiss, long and soft. He pulls me closer and kisses my forehead, as if he doesn’t want to ever let me go. ‘I missed you,’ he whispers in my ear.”
- Having read Gilded only yesterday, the story is fresh and alive in my mind, and I can without a doubt say that out of the two, the suspense and violence in this book was greater. There’s a spooky, almost carnivalesque quality to all the mythical creatures that’s reminiscent of Spirited Away. They’re sinister, foul beings with the desire to kill and corrupt. The descriptions are graphic and some of these monsters are downright horrifying.
- The battle scenes were epic. Christina Farley knows how to write sword play and movement as if you were in the room watching it in live action. It’s brilliant and breathtaking how she paints the straining muscles, the agony, and the swift lines of the weapons as they collide with their target.
- Jae is one seriously BA warrior princess. She’s limber, packs a crazy punch, and will attack without warning. The way she tackles these grotesque creatures, dodging fangs and throwing off injury is astounding. Jae is strong and courageous, she will never accept defeat and makes huge sacrifices to save and protect her loved ones. Jae’s life is never as important as her family and friends and she will take down anybody be it an immortal or bloodthirsty dragon to keep them safe. Jae is also fairly complex. She’s torn between the worlds of a simple mortal girl who yearns for normalcy and the power that comes with being chosen to combat an evil in the form of an entity. Jae is drawn to and tempted by the Spirit World and that magnetism is hard to resist.
- I loved the uncertainty of the outcome. It was terrifying, nail-biting, and gruesome as Jae and her friends fought Kud and his lackeys. The suspense will near kill you as thing begin to look more and more grim. The final battle was leave you in a flurry of emotional chaos. The urge to punch something, to cry, to hate is so strong that you’re unsure which emotion to embrace.
- Marc. Marc is just perfect. He’s protective and sweet, and a whole lot hotter in this book. He’s been working out and his sword-fighting skills are enough to make any red-blooded girl swoon. The way he is with Jae, so gentle and playful yet encouraging and appreciative of how strong she is. It’s like he’s in awe of her.
- The Spirit World continues to enchant and scare. It fluctuates between dazzling beauty and nightmarish decay.
- The juxtaposition between North and South Korea makes the reader think and question, it brings awareness to humanitarian efforts needed in war-torn countries that many of us (it’s sad to say) tend to glance over.
- A plot twist that will leave you reeling. There’s just enough doubt to question everything.
- Kang-dae is sexy. He’s flirty with a hint of mystery and that motorcycle, he sure knows how to make an entrance.
- I’ve never been to South Korea but the constant description of smell as kimchi was redundant and got a little annoying.
- The folklore, specifically the story of Bari and the 9 dragons that guard the waterfall wasn’t as flushed out as it could have been. The connection to Bari and how her fate aligns with Jae’s was loose and it felt as though something was missing. This story arch wasn’t solid as a foundation and sort of collapsed or was forgotten at some points in the book. There were many questions left unanswered.
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CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details, check out her website at www.christinafarley.com. Christina holds a master’s degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.
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