Author: Annie Sullivan
Overview from Goodreads:
Gold is wealth. Wealth is power. Power is a curse.
After King Midas’s gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, he relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.
Kora spends her days concealed behind gloves and veils. It isn’t until a charming duke arrives that Kora believes she could indeed be loved. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals treasures her father needs to survive. Thanks to Kora’s unique ability to sense gold, only she can find the missing items. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not her companions, or the thieves, or Kora herself.
Featuring a strong female lead and plenty of enchanting twists and turns, A Touch of Gold is a captivating fantasy adventure—the untold story of the daughter King Midas turned to gold.
I chose this book due to its connection to the well-known story of King Midas. Just through the description alone, you can tell that this book will have it all – a curse, romance, pirates, betrayal, adventure, and most importantly family. The novel manages to balance it all without making the story drag on. There are just enough named characters to ensure that each gets some story time and the novel doesn’t become too cluttered as the author struggles to keep track of them. I’ve read many stories where this was the case, so it was refreshing that the author knew her limits of where to stop when it came to the characters we are supposed to care about. I definitely wish there were more detail in some places, especially the world building, but that wasn’t a deal breaker and that’s what made me know that I was enjoying what I was reading as I kept wanting to learn more and more.
The story starts off with Kora at her castle with her father King Midas. She has gold skin due to her father accidentally turning her into a solid gold statue. Due to her curse, Kora hides herself from others for fear of not being accepted. Although Kora is cursed, she cannot simply turn objects/people to gold by touching them like her father can. She meets Duke Aris who doesn’t seem bothered by her curse and they form a connection. Shortly after meeting, her father’s cursed gold is stolen and must be recovered to save her father. Aris helps set her up with a ship to go off on the adventure to find the gold. On-board the ship, you meet the other characters: Royce (the mysterious captain), Rhatt (one of the ship’s crew members), and Hettie (Kora’s cousin who stowed away on the ship). Together with the other crew members, the ship is off in search of the gold and that’s where the bulk of the story takes place.
As protagonists go, Kora fits the standard misunderstood character that wants to prove herself. She is fiesty yet meek which made her an interesting character. She has her moments where you get annoyed by what she says/does, but when you keep in mind her age and background, it’s a lot easier to understand. Hettie is classic sheltered female that can’t wait to get out and learn everything there is on her own terms. Both Royce and Aris are well-written to fit each other their characters for the sake of the story. (It’s hard not writing more about them as I could ramble on and input spoilers for any of the story-lines/characters.) More details for each would have bettered the overall story, but even as-is, they were both understandable for why they do certain actions.
The novel is just long enough to flow nicely as the characters collect the cursed gold. You encounter sirens, pirates, and thieves along the way and read as the characters navigate learning about each other in the face of danger. My one negative was I wish there was more world-building. You arrive in one location and before there’s a chance to fully imagine it in your mind, the characters are already moving through it and are off to the next place. I would have loved more details about each place they visited to fully understand the atmosphere, architecture, etc. Aside from this one negative, the book was overall fantastic and I found the ending to be satisfying enough to be considered a standalone book. Luckily, I learned that there is a sequel to this book and I honestly cannot wait to figure out what will happen next!