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A Curse Dark as Gold Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Lexile Measure : 840L
- Grade Level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 1.22 pounds
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0439895767
- ISBN-10 : 0439895766
- Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 1.25 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Arthur A. Levine Books; First Edition (March 1, 2008)
- Reading level : 12 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,266,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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VIOLENCE: Few mild instances
PROFANITY: Few mild instances
SEXUAL CONTENT: NONE
MATURE THEMES: Moderate
RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 16+
As the story is all about a curse, I would definitely consider it to have a moderately mature theme. There is a lot of talk about curses, voodoo, magic, hexes, etc. Sometimes, the magical aspects become quite dark and disturbing, but not overly so. There is death, murder and `accidents', but none of them are graphically described. There was no sexual content, of which I was happily surprised. Even though the two characters are married, the author doesn't take that as a license to intimately describe their honeymoon or beyond, and their courtship was short and sweet. As far as profanity, there were only about 4-5 words that I came across. "A Curse Dark as Gold" is a clean read for ages 16+
This review was written by Emily
A Squeaky Clean Reads Book Reviewer
To see more fantastic books reviewed with content in mind, visit us at squeakycleanreads!!
As soon as I saw it was available on Amazon, I placed an order, and as soon as the order came, I picked up A Curse Dark as Gold. Since first learning about it, I wanted to read it.
This is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" set during the early days of the Industrial Revolution in a fictitious part of England. After the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte Miller takes charge of the family's mill. But nothing ever seems to go right. There's debt and vandalism, the mill seems to have a mind of its own, and the superstitious villagers whisper of a curse. And when a stranger appears with the power to spin straw into gold, Charlotte must decide how much his help is worth because everything she holds dear might depend upon her decision.
Okay. So basically, I loved everything about this book. I'm not kidding. I loved the way Bunce weaved in the fairy tale (I've never read a "Rumpelstiltskin" retelling before) and I loved the setting. I loved the characters. Even while I wanted to smack Charlotte, make her see sense, I understood her feelings and actions perfectly. The uncle was another character that even while I wanted to hate him and did, I still loved him as a character. The writing and imagery were beautiful; the other characters wonderful. And this book was dark. Seriously. As I was reading, it was dark, and my room was lit only by reading light. Outside, the wind howled and the rain pounded down, and it wasn't ideal for reading a book that was making my heart race. I wanted nothing more than to pick up something lighter, but I couldn't stop reading A Curse Dark as Gold. I had to learn what happened and I had to finish it. I didn't even read ahead because I didn't want to stop reading.
So yes...you'll probably guess at the ending, but still, to me it doesn't matter. It is based on a fairy tale, right? And there were still plenty of twists to make readers who like surprises still enjoy this book. I know that I didn't guess at some of the stuff until reaching a moment of foreshadowing.
I loved this book. It's one of my new favorites. And to be honest, I wasn't going to review this one until later because I had finished some other books that still need to be reviewed. But I just loved this one so much that I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is a retelling of the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin. The main character, Charlotte Miller is a young girl whose fatehr has died, leaving her responsible for the wool mill which has been in her family for generations.
Yet Sirwaters Mill is not your average mill - although it is falling into disrepair, any attempts to fix walls or looms usually meet with unsatisfying results. Its almost as though the mill does not want to be fixed.
As Charlotte struggles to keep the mill going and finances coming in, more and more obstacles are put up in front of her, threatening not only her wellbeing but also that of her other family members and those who work for her.
When things seem to really descend into helplessness, Charlotte is visited by Jack Spinner, a man who can spin gold thread from shabby cloth. All he wants as payment for this service is Charlotte's late mother's ring - something that has little monetary value. Charlotte agrees so as to help others, not just herself, and this is where her fate is changed forever.
That is a basic plot. And, in essence, A CURSE AS DARK AS GOLD works well. The idea of value and people diving to depths that you would not usually contemplate in order to save themselves is a good one. If there was someone able to get you out of all the troubles that life throws at you, how much would you be willing to give up? But despite this promising idea, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD failed to keep me enthralled. Jack Spinner takes a while to make an appearance in the story and by the time that the climax is approaching I had lost nearly all interest in what the conclusion would be.
Don't get me wrong - although I would not say that this book is particularly bad, I just think that there are better offerings our there. If you are interested in retellings of Rumplestiltskin, Elizabeth Cunningham's HOW TO SPIN GOLD: A WOMAN'S TALE is far superior to Bunce's offering.
I did find it too long, and my attention drifted toward the end, entirely due to my taste for a quicker pace, but so much of it was excellent - the writing, the characters and story. There is definitely something for every reader to enjoy in this tale, with its masterful use of romance, mystery and fantasy.