Retellings and books inspired by classic tales are nothing new in YA, but they are always popular — I know I’m certainly a fan of them — but one I don’t think I’ve ever seen done before is the story of King Midas. Until now, that is, with the publication of A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan.
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?
I loved the premise of this story, and it was cool to see how Sullivan incorporated the story of King Midas into a YA saga about his daughter.
The book was also surprisingly pirate-y! That is, Kora finds herself on a ship with somewhat pirate-esque sailors and encounters even more roguish pirate-y villains as her journey continues. As a fan of all-things pirate-y, I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the story. MORE PIRATES IN YA!
That said, Kora spends way too much of this book in damsel mode, and I really just wanted her to step up and have a little agency. There’s also a lot of swooning and waiting for her dude to do things for her. And I just. Could. Not. I know that a lot of this is part of her character flaws, based on the way she was raised — but as a reader, it was insanely frustrating to see this sort of behavior for pretty much the entire book.
The story leaves off quite open-ended, with a sequel clearly in the works — and I’m hopeful that Kora will come into her own quite a bit more in the next book, but it did make it frustrating to get through A Touch of Gold sometimes. I still enjoyed the story, and the unique twist on a story that isn’t often retold.
Look for A Touch of Gold in stores on August 14th.