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?
Content warnings: Dysfunctional parents/families, mild violence, blood mentions
I have such mixed emotions about this books. I was so excited for it because I haven’t read fiction inspired by Greek mythology in quite a while, so the genre itself was a bit of a nostalgia trip. Besides that and the gorgeous cover, there wasn’t much for me to keep interested and honestly, this is a book that probably would have taken me at least a month to read if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook of it.
So I’ll start with the world building. To an extent, there wasn’t much that Sullivan had to build since the book is an extension of a Greek myth, but with that, there are also opportunities to add. I liked the concept of Princess Kora having a mental (spiritual?) connection to the other objects King Midas had turned to gold, and I like how the friendship between Kora and Hettie was written.
A huge part of the story that I have issue with are the characters and their relationships with each other. To start, there are only two important female characters in the whole story: 1) the main character, Kora, and 2) her best friend Hettie. So if you’re looking for a story with even a touch of feminism in it, this ain’t it. Kora might be kinda okay sometimes as a female MC, but the rest of the story doesn’t back up any belief of gender equality.
Not to mention, Kora is the type of main character that falls in love so easily. I get it, some people are like that, and they should be allowed to romanticize life if they want. But considering Kora’s been locked up in the castle, hidden from people for roughly 10 years, I just don’t understand how she could be to trusting or open to people. I’m not a psychology major, but that doesn’t add up to me. The romance isn’t even that cute, and I found myself not caring at all.
Speaking of locking Kora away for a decade never to be seen or see others, let’s talk about that bitch, King Midas. He just? Felt ashamed? Of his daughter? his child?? and locked her away for a whole? 10? years??? Yeah, I know, that’s part of the Greek myth, and I wouldn’t have changed it for the story either, but jeezus, can we think about that for a minute? And even now that she’s allowed to be out and about because of princess duties, he still ignores her in public. And YET at the end of the book, the final words from Kora are her explaining to the reader that she’s now realized that she should have been there for her father during these trying times and that she promises to do better and become the princess she should have always been.
I… don’t know what to say.
There’s probably more I could say about this book, but for the last two hours or so of this 9-hour book, I zoned out a lot. I just never felt an attachment to the world, the characters, or the plot.
Final thought: In the middle of writing this review, I got mad about it all over again and knocked my rating down from 3 stars to 2 stars and am still considering 1 star as I hit “publish”, so if that doesn’t say, “I do not recommend,” then I don’t know what does.