Title: A Touch of Gold (Possibly a series)
Author: Annie Sullivan (Debut)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 14th 2018 from Blink
Pages: 308 (US Physical ARC)
Format: Physical ARC
* I requested this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and no quotations will be used.*
Goodreads Synopsis: King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas 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 locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.
Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?
When I heard that this book as a re-imagining of the King Midas legend, I was beyond excited. If you’re old enough to remember this movie, or have seen Aladdin and the King of Thieves, this book gave me some of those feels! I have also been fascinated with this story since I was young when I heard it and it’s not one that’s used a lot in books. I liked that this book however follows Midas’s daughter Kora. I read this in 3 1/2 sittings over a few days, which is rare for me (yay for being an adult?) But what did I ultimately think about this book? Let’s break it down:
- World Building: This book takes place in a fictional fantasy world but has the Greek Gods in this world, so it can reflect our world in that sense. Since a sea adventure is the main plot of the story, we do see a few different places and also hear about more of the world through dialogue and characters telling stories. With the world building you do get, it is kind of sparse. Some of the places sound too similar and they aren’t expanded upon very well. For most of the book, you are at sea which is fine. But when the characters do visit a few places, it wasn’t that exciting. While this is possibly a series, there could be more potential there. But for a first book, there could’ve been some expansion on the world and a few things added in to make certain places stand out a bit more.
- Overall Plot/Pacing: The reason I read this book so quickly is that the pacing is solid throughout. The author gets the main plot going very quickly while not doing info dumps. I liked that you get an introductory chapter that shows what King Midas did and the rest of the story is the effect from his choices as well as Kora going on her journey. The book never felt boring as far as the pacing, so it was easy to keep turning the pages. Parts of it felt like the first Pirates of the Caribbean which I will always be up for! The ending was a good, unexpected one that opens up the plot line for a second book.
- Characters: This is another debut novel that captures a main character very well. Like the previous book I read Girl at the Grave, both these novels show a realistic girl trying to adjust to her circumstances. Kora was basically shut away after her father’s curse and is pretty much ignored and feared for a decade. So when she has to go on this journey, she really doesn’t have a clue at what she’s doing. She has a few amazing moments where she uses her resources to escape or defeat an enemy, but it never felt unrealistic. This story shows how she slowly gains her confidence and believing in herself. Could there have been more expansion on that loneliness and neglect? Yes but I got what I needed in this first book to understand her. I also liked the side characters Hettie (her cousin), Royce (a sea captain), the bad guy Captain Skulls (don’t like the name) and her father. The book does a good job at showing a couple more dimensions to the side characters. There was some fun turns with a few side characters and I’m interested to see how the sequel uses these changes.
- Writing: This was my biggest struggle with this book. The writing felt a bit young for YA and at times, the scenes where there were tougher emotions felt silly to me. Plus, the writing was too simple with describing the world, which was also a bit of a disappointment. While there weren’t accursed sentences or anything, I think the writing could’ve been improved on.
- Romance: The final thing I want to talk about is the romance. I like the way it went and that’s all I will say. You think it will go one way, but read it and find out. This is a book that does NOT have instalove in it (I kinda hate that term now lol), but it was nice to see how things changed over the course of the book and leaves it open for the next one.
Overall: This was a really fun read. While some of it felt cheesy, limited world building and a writing style that can improve, I enjoyed it. I was so happy to finally get a YA novel that takes the Midas legend and expands it, as well as giving it a fun sea adventure. I’ve heard people kind of compare it to Daughter of the Pirate King and the only similarity they have is the sea adventure. But I really enjoyed Kora’s journey and the positive messages in this book. I hope to find out soon how many books will be in this series. Go check out this book when it comes out next month!
Have you read this book? Are you excited for it? Do you know of any King Midas books that you would recommend to me? If you read this, let me know your thoughts below!