Publication Date: March 1st, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Age Group: Young adult
Genre: Fairy tale/adventure/fantasy
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Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family's woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father's death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother's ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she's always called homeThe debut novel of Elizabeth C Bunce, A Curse as Dark as Gold is Rumplestiltskin as you have never read it before. Set in the beginning of an industrial revolution, amidst family tragedy, and a world of mysterious magical creatures and events.
What I Liked: Rumplestiltskin tales enthral me. There is something more horrifying about him than any other fairy tale villain. He is cruel, capricious, and utterly unemotional. If any fairy tale creature was ever going to be described as sociopath, it would be good old uncle Rumple.
Charlotte was a brilliant heroine, she is practical, hard working and strictly no-nonsense. She wasn't the whimsical damsel in distress of most fairytale, and I appreciated her independence. Her relationships are stronger because she isn't a weak, indecisive heroine we're used to; she and her sister have a solid friendship and her romance is sweet without being corny or vomit inducing.
What I Didn't Like: I had really loved Bunce's Thief Errant series, and really wanted to give A Curse as Dark as Gold a try, but it started off really slow for me. It didn't have the same spark for me, and I had to try twice to get far enough into the story to be sucked it. Once I reached that point it was fantastic, so I really hope people try and make it through the slow beginning.
Cover Conversations: I love the outfit Charlotte is wearing on the cover, the blue of her shawl fades beautifully in the black background while contrasting sharply against the white of her shirt. Beast of all is the golden thread binding her hands. It makes an ordinary picture look quite mystical, and the golden thread is synonymous with the Rumplestilksin tale.