The story of Rapunzel but told in in a new and different way, Golden Curse takes the common myth and adds a bit of magic back into it.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Golden Curse by M. Lynn
Synopsis From The Book
A curse. A hidden identity. A dangerous love.
Ten-year-old Persinette Basile was forced to flee the palace of Gaule for her life.
Now at eighteen , she mist find a way to return in order to obey a curse on her family line.
The prince won’t know who she is. Not anymore. But she knows him and what he will do if he discovers her true name.
Made to fight for her life to earn her place, she vows to find a way to break the curse no matter the cost.
To. The. Death.
The words describing the tournament turn prince Alexandre Durand’s blood to ice.
The last warrior standing will win a spot at his side.
As he’s thrust onto the throne, forbidden magic, dangerous betrayals, and a complicated love could tear his reign apart.
When the secrets begin to unravel, will Alex stay true to the laws and traditions of Gaule or will he give it all up for a woman who deceived him?
Short Synopsis By Me
The country of Gaule is surrounded by a Ward, to keep the people of Gaule safe from magic. A magic user may not cross the border of the ward, while made to keep their enemies out has kept the magic users inside as well. Eight years prior to the start of the book, the King massacred many citizens with magic in an attempt to protect his people. In Gaule magic is illegal, as are many things, punishable by death.
It has come the time for Prince Alexandre to receive his protector, an ancient tradition of their family — with a meaning long forgotten. The decision will be made through a tournament, where fighters will fight to the death. Persinette, under the guise Etta, has trained her entire life to stand by his side. Her curse commands her to do so, and thus she must enter and win her spot as his protector.
When Alexandre is forced to become king, Persinette becomes his protector and the two must navigate the new world as the Wards protecting the country come down. One by one those around Alexandre are revealed to have magic and he must make the decision to trust Persinette, his greatest enemy, or the laws and traditions of his people.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Story time? When I saw this book, it was as a card on a table at Penned Con, for a discount on the book. I thought it looked interesting enough to hear about it. M. Lynn talking about it sold it for me, but I was unable to bring all the books back with me in my suitcase. The other two in the trilogy are coming soon, and I can not wait for them.
Meanwhile, I decided to read the first book. I was apprehensive about reading the novel because in the original tale Rapunzel is not a princess. She is saved by a prince, but she is not a princess, and I do like my myths at least a bit true with spins. I read the first line however, “Magic was evil” and I was sold.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well that was a book that went a completely different direction for the Rapunzel story and I am on board for it. In truth by biggest question is whether the “evil” country and queen La Dame, are evil or not. Often times in the Rapunzel fairy tale the witch is evil, but for some reason I’m getting different vibes from the way this queen is explained. I could be wrong. She could be truly evil, and I would be happy with it anyway. Most importantly, I’m interested to see if Alex accepts magic or not. What kind of king will he be?
The book begins with Alex learning from his father, the King, that there is to be a tournament to choose his “protector.” The protector is an age old custom of the Royal family and to protect the heirs. It was started, in truth, due to the Rapunzel flower and curse that La Dame, evil queen, place upon another family. The current royal family has no clue about the magic behind the position, and they have to keep to tradition. The tournament will be a fight to the death and last man standing is Alex’s protector.
Persinette, called Etta, was once friends with the prince before her mother was killed and she was forced to flee from the King hunting down magic users. For the last eight years she trained with her father in order to stand by Alex’s side as his protector — for she must, due to the curse. She ends up joining the tournament.
Etta wins. The king dies. Alex becomes King, and from there the remainder of the plot for the series can be seen. Will Gaule accept magic? What happens when the Wards come down? Is the love between Etta and Alex real or is it just the curse wanting them to be together? We shall see.
What I Liked:
Etta. I like her for who she is. She is haunted by the death of her mother, strong and fierce. The wild was trained out of her but she is still powerful. She does kill and hates it, wants to never do it again. She wants the curse to be broken. She wants magic to be accepted. She is strong enough to make sure it happens.
Alex. I’m interested to see how he grows. When contrasted with his sister, it is clear that he is kind and not cruel. He can be a better man than his father and kings before him but he must make the decision to be. He was essentially betrayed by all that he knows, since magic is evil and he was raised on that belief. I want to know the king he will be.
Other characters. I liked the other characters for what we saw of them. The one we got the most information on were Alex’s younger brother Tyson, and Alex’s best friend, who is in love with him, Edmund. Tyson and Edmund have magic. Edmund’s love for Alex is punishable by death. Alex is left without them too.
Political building of Gaule, politics: hatred of Magic, homophobia. This is essentially pretty well said in a single sentence, but these aspects help to establish Gaule as cruel, evil, and in need of changing. These beliefs and concepts Alex tries to believe, but in truth it is clear that he doesn’t completely believe any of them. We learn a lot about Gaule, and how a tournament for killing was so clearly accepted. These people are not kind. They are not good, and we will see how their grey clashes with the grey of the countries around them.
Rapunzel myth. The Rapunzel story in this book goes along similar lines of the original tale. A plant is taken from a witch to heal a dying wife. Only in this version the children are cursed to protect their greatest enemy. This curse ties the lives of the protected and protector together, in a life bond. When near each other there is great joy. When apart their is great pain. I’m interested to see how this plays out with Etta and Alex.
La Dame. For the little that we know about her, I’m interested. The biggest moment of memory of her is from Alex. Alex was a child and La Dame said she would see him again. Something about how the memory was told, is what told me that La Dame is not a bad person. I’m not sure, perhaps I’m being far too hopeful.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I’m not much of a soft magic fan. There is something about the whimsy of soft magic that throws me off. I like rules. I also like science fiction. I’m pretty sure I’m simply biased. However this magic system in this book is very whimsical, and I feel like I should know more about it than I do.
Insta love. Now this is also partially due to the curse, which I do know. I’m a fan of developed feelings of a period of time but if I attribute this to lust and the curse I’m okay with it.
Why You Should Read:
It’s an interesting take of the myth, as well as action packed and sort of dramatic. The characters are the biggest reason to read
Time Taken To Read
1 hour 10 min
“In shadows or in the light, they were serve day and night.” Persinette to her horse about the oath of being a protector.
“None of it could last though and she’d never been more thankful for the darkness that hid her tears.” – Description of Persinette in regards to her feelings towards Prince/King Alex