Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: A Curse as Dark as Gold

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Greetings, my dear readers!  

Those of you who regularly follow my movie and book reviews know that I rarely write a negative review.  As a matter of fact, I find it difficult to write negative reviews, as I tend to look on the bright side of things, and find the good in everything.  However, I will not compromise my conscience, or the standards I try to live by as a follower of Christ.  As such, the review that follows is one of my first (and few) negative reviews.

The gold thread promises Charlotte Miller a chance to save her family's beloved woolen mill. It promises a future for her sister, jobs for her townsfolk, security against her grasping uncle -- maybe even true love.
To get the thread, Charlotte must strike a bargain with its maker, the mysterious Jack Spinner. But the gleam of gold conjures a shadowy past -- secrets ensnaring generations of Millers. And Charlotte's mill, her family, her love -- what do those matter to a stranger who can spin straw into gold?

This story is an interesting re-telling of the Rumpelstiltskin story, set in early to mid eighteen-hundreds.  The characters were compelling, as was the world in which the story was set.
The story was mysterious, and kept me guessing until about midway through, when the clues started falling into place, and things began to make sense.  However, certain aspects remained a mystery until the climax, when all came together in a most exciting manner.

Unfortunately, for all of its interesting points, this story had one major fault;  the magical elements in it bordered too close to reality.
Most stories that I read involve simple fairy tale magic, so far removed from our world that it has nothing to do with reality.  
However, in this book, the plot centers largely around a curse that was cast years ago, and the elements mentioned in its casting, as well as its warding off, reminded me too much of what I have read of real-life witchcraft.  

The dangers of reading such literature is that it makes magic, real magic, seem like a romantic and desirable thing.  It makes it seem less dangerous, and even attractive.  
In the Bible, God has instructed us to abstain from all such arcane works.  Witchcraft is strictly forbidden, and we are told that it is sinful even to speak of what the wicked do in secret.

While I did finish the book, the closer I got to the end, the more uncomfortable I became with it.  I would not read it again, now that I know how it progresses.  And, despite its many good qualities, I would not recommend it to any of my readers.

As a piece of literature to an unbiased person, I would rate this piece at four stars.
But as a Christian, and looking at the morality issues of the book, the final rating sits at one, or even less.

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-Rayne Speryll


  1. I won't read it. I haven't heard of it, either.

    -Jason L.

  2. I've never heard of that book before now, and after reading your review, I definitely will not be reading it. Those kind of books I try to actively avoid.