Midas’ daughter, Kora, was turned to gold when she was young. Now she only has golden skin, but she is shunned and scorned by those around her. In order to save her father from dying, Kora must be brave and journey to the far reaches of the world, sailing where she has never gone before.
Title: A Touch of Gold
Author: Annie Sullivan
Genres: YA Fantasy
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?
Princess Kora has been locked up her whole life. Ever since King Midas’ curse, her skin has been golden, a constant reminder to her father of his mistakes. He won’t speak to her, though he constantly sends her suitors in hopes that someone else will look at her without wincing (or trying to find out if her blood runs gold too). Kora, in the beginning, is unsure, wary, and timid. She worries very much about what others think of her–it’s how she’s been raised to think. Kora’s circumstances push her out of her little bubble, and she does become much more sure of herself. I really love how her character arc was written–it was very subtle, but there was a clear change in Kora by the end.
The secondary characters were also written really well–I didn’t think they were left at the wayside and none of them felt unnecessary. Duke Wystlinos and Royce had particularly interesting back stories. Hettie, Kora’s cousin, annoyed me a little bit in the beginning, but she grew on me in the end.
I was not a huge fan of the villain, but I felt he worked well in the story. Big Bads are just not my personal preference.
I was not expecting this to be a sailing book. I was expecting some court politics, romance… other things I can’t remember thanks to that vague blurb. I was not expecting pirates and sirens and sword fights…I don’t feel duped or anything, just did not see that coming. At all.
Annie Sullivan is really good at being unpredictable, however. Kora’s story is fast paced as in the first few chapters she is setting foot on a ship for the first time, determined to retrieve the stolen gold her father needs to survive. There are some crazy plot twists, lots of fun sword fights, and some romance. I really couldn’t stop reading (finished it in less than 24 hours).
The world that Annie Sullivan lands us in is really interesting. There are, obviously, some Greek vibes, but it is a brand new world. Actually, I was getting some Dreamworks Sinbad vibes from it all (actually from this whole book! One of my favorite movies, too, so kudos!) The way the politics were presented in the novel were complicated, but not confusing.
This came out of nowhere for me, but there is some graphic descriptions in this. I didn’t think they were too much to handle, but there is one scene when a head is being skinned (yeah…) and it really grosses me out whenever I dwell on it. Just a heads up.
I really enjoyed this book—more so because of the excellent plot twists that went on. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a high seas tale. I’ll definitely check out more of Annie Sullivan’s books.