Author: Brandie June
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 59 minutes
If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies.
When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire.
Gold Spun is the first novel in a new duology that is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Eleanora (Nor) Molnar is an orphaned con artist and thief and her only remaining family is her three brothers. Before the main story begins through the eyes of Nor, the novel opens with a prologue from the POV of Prince Casper, who is being held hostage by the King of Faradisia. It was a nice set-up for the existing war, which is a continuing presence in the main section of the novel and gives a great introduction into the two kingdoms. In the main story, he is returning home to be crowned king, when he discovers a girl who can turn straw into gold. This girl turns out to be Nor.
In this story, Nor’s ability to change straw into gold comes from the assistance of a fae named Pel. He agrees to help Nor after she saves him from capture. Prince Casper does not believe in Nor’s ability but agrees to marry her after she has proven her ability, which will provide funds for the kingdom. Nor agrees to this arrangement as she sees it as an opportunity to help her family. While Prince Casper is navigating his new role in becoming king, he also has his kingdom’s hatred of the fae for their past with his family. Not only does Nor have to hide her original lie with the straw, but she also has to hide that she has allied with a fae.
There is an interesting love triangle in this story with the prince and the fae. Nor is torn between the two characters that are unaware of her relationship with the other. While I am not a fan of love triangles, this one was tolerable. The reader follows along Nor’s journey as she is torn between her bond with Pel and her growing feelings for Casper. As Pel believes that Nor is captive with Casper, he wishes to rescue her yet he is not always forthcoming with his motives. On the other hand, Casper hates liars and the fae, so Nor is afraid to reveal the truth even though there are moments where she wants to. As Nor is from an underprivileged part of the kingdom, there is a lot of good that she can do by opening up the eyes of those in power. Through her insight, she is able to show the realities of others and try to work for change. Together, there is a lot of politics, intrigue, potential romance, and loyalty that are explored in this story.
Overall, this was an interesting take on the tale as it becomes more complex with the introduction of the fae. Nor goes through some character development in this story, but Casper, and potentially Pel, are about the same throughout. I hope that their characters are further explored in the sequel and they can go through their own journeys of growth. As this is the first installment in a series, my feelings on this novel might change depending on how the second wraps everything up; however, my hope is that it comes together for a satisfying conclusion.