Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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 in to 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.
Gilded is the first installment in the Gilded trilogy by new to me author Christina Farley. Farley's main character is 16-year old Jae Hwa Lee, a Korean-American who left LA for South Korea after her mother died and her father's company transferred him. Jae Hwa is a girl who has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is extremely proficient with a bow and arrow. After Jae shoots her arrow into a fake sun, a strange man appears, and then disappears after calling her "Princess" and leaving with her arrow.
Jae soon discovers that she is a descendant of Princess Yuhwa who found a way to flee from the god known as Haemosu. All of Jae's previous descendants have been captured and enslaved into an unwanted wedding with Haemosu. Jae Hwa comes to understand that her biggest challenge is not fitting into her new International school with other kids from around the world or her attempt at finding new friends. Her biggest challenges will be in discovering a way to keep one step ahead of Haemosu before she becomes the next Lee captured and enslaved by the Korean God.
Jae Hwa is a character that is perhaps a bit too head strong and maybe a bit arrogant in thinking she has the means to do what others haven't done. Defeat Haemosu. She lives in a country that she doesn't understand. Her Grandfather tries to push her into moving back to the States. Her new romance with Marc Grayson, defies reasoning especially since he's not Asian, which I really don't have a problem with. Jae Hwa is warned time after time to avoid Haemosu like the plague by her grandfather and aunt. She's wanted that if he touches her, she will slowly lose part of her soul under she is his forever. Jae Hwa disregards everything, every time.
I have not personally been to Korea. My father served in the Korean War, but that was way before I was born. I like stories that take various Asian mythologies and run with them. I like the fact that Jae isn't the most perfect character you will find, but does enough to send you to the next installment. She makes enough mistakes to fill up weeks of conversations. I will not, however, curse up a storm, or call the author names because she uses a white boy as Jae's lover.
I think as a society, we have a whole lot more things to worry about than who the character is with or whether they share the same race, sex, or religion. This reminds me of the 60's with White Women married Black Men, and vice versa. It doesn't matter who a person loves whether they are black, white, brown, gay, straight, or bi-sexual. A heart wants what a heart wants, and damn those who are race purist.
**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**