Book Review: Gilded


Synopsis from

Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting into a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There’s also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for.

*I received a free digital copy of this book from Skyscape via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel is now on sell at*

According to Amazon, this book has been on my wish list since February 22, 2014. Therefore you can only imagine my excitement when I received a free copy of it. You can then fully understand my disappointment when I didn’t love it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this book. It had a great plot filled with mystery and a romance that I really enjoyed. But the spark wasn’t there. I was excited to keep reading. I was never on the edge of my seat to find out what would happen next. The protagonist, Jae Hwa, didn’t draw me in. I wanted to feel bad for her and everything she was struggling with but I just didn’t. I couldn’t get invested in her character.

My biggest issue with Jae Hwa was how often she discovered she was wrong about something. “I was wrong. Again,” was one of her most popular lines. At first it was fine because of course she wouldn’t fully understand how to fight against an ancient demi-god that’s been kidnapping the ladies in her family for centuries. Who would? But after a while it just got annoying. At some point you’d think she’d get the hang of things. Or, at least not be so surprised when she was, once again, wrong.

Moreover, her father infuriated me. I could understand why he wouldn’t believe that a demi-god was after his daughter. What I couldn’t understand was him not being around a lot but towards the end of the novel suddenly being really stressed about losing his daughter, especially since he lost his wife to cancer. He was so adamant about how he’d be devastated if something happened to Jae Hwa but dismissed her concerns about living in Korea over and over again. I understand plot wise why he couldn’t very well say, “Yes, Jae Hwa. Let’s leave Korea.” But if that’s the case don’t make it seem like his greatest desire in life is to keep her safe or at least don’t wait until the end of the book to make those feelings evident.

My favorite characters of the whole novel were, Marc, the love interest, and Michelle, the best friend who in my opinion did not get enough scenes in this novel. I really liked Marc. The romance between him and Jae Hwa is mostly what made me push through this novel. And I loved Michelle. She was honest and a little sassy; my favorite combination.

Overall, this book had it’s downfalls but I think the idea behind it was good and maybe it just wasn’t for me. Either way, I’d say if you’re going to read it, borrow it.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


2 stars

Favorite Line:

“Disbelief is the root of the impossible.”

Other Reviews

The YA Kitten

Hazel West’s Character Purgatory

Victoria Van Vlear

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