The Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins was good, but I can’t quite give it great. It grabbed me pretty quickly, I didn’t hit 100 pages before I was carrying it around so I could read anywhere I found myself with a few moments.
The characters were interesting. I wouldn’t give them all kudos on being well-rounded but they were definitely interesting and I really liked that the main male in the novel was in a lot of ways very anti-trope. He was nervous and uncertain and very kind. And yet I never would call him “whiny” (ok, not without really good cause– ’cause he had one!) and I would never think he wasn’t a man.
Ok, so let me get straight to my biggest beef. The ending. It was abrupt. There was all this lead up and build and then in like 20 pages tried to tie everything into a bow that ended up being very messy instead of amazing. The story kind of desperately needed a denouement. It felt like the author knew she hit her 50k in NaNoWriMo and just tried to wrap it up ASAP instead of giving it the same depth and attention she had given the first 50,000 words.
It wasn’t a “bad” ending per say, just very, very abrupt and jarring in that abruptness. So much of the rest of the novel had been more of a slow burn to have that sudden explosion and then nothing beyond it…. was jarring. It’s the best description I have.
The plot was fabulous through 95% of the book. REALLY compelling and awesome use of Russian folklore and history. I loved the intertwining of the magical and real worlds. The way the characters wove worked wonders. Pun might be intended because of the wondrous nature of the plot….
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairy tales but not to just anyone. I would definitely say it’s more of 15+ age as there is some graphic language, descriptions of violence (Russian fairy tales are NOT generally nice), and sex – although it isn’t erotic or “sexy” but the topic comes up in enough ways I’d bring the age up a little more than I might otherwise. If not for the sex & language, I’d probably put this at 13+ and then only because of the complexity of the journey itself. But anyone who’s read Lord of the Rings (read it, not watched the movie) could definitely get through this book – except for the age-potentially-inappropriate content.
I think overall, I’d give this 3.5 out of 5. Good, recommended to people who I think would enjoy it – but not a “if you don’t read this you are denying yourself pleasure in this life you should regret” level.