Book Reviews of A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold
A Curse Dark as Gold
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
ISBN-13: 9780439895767
ISBN-10: 0439895766
Publication Date: 3/1/2008
Pages: 395
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 11

3.9 stars, based on 11 ratings
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

Since her father's death, the fate of the Miller family woolen mill and that of the Shearing village rests on Charlotte's shoulders. An unexpected and seemingly insurmountable debt leads to a difficult choice for the normally practical and levelheaded miller's daughter.

Must she take the offer of the strange little man who can weave straw into gold, or can she make her own way through the maze of ill luck and deceit that seems her family legacy?

Elizabeth C. Bunce's A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is worth its own weight in gold and then some. A folkloric re-telling beyond Rumpelstiltskin proportions, this tale weaves the best storytelling techniques into a fine tapestry of intrigue, drama, and romance.

The tight writing never wavers. Gorgeous, consistent language abounds, like, "I sank to my knees in a sea of crumpled flannel and pressed my hands into the sharp shale of the yard, as if bites from the stones could remind me of who I was."

And just who is Charlotte Miller? Certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across of late. If not self-confident at the beginning of our story, she is at least confident in what she knows: the mill cannot go under and the families of Shearing cannot be allowed to starve or scatter to the winds. As she is the only one around to prevent these happenings, Charlotte will do what she must to prevent them. And so she does.

As time goes on, and with Pinchfields Mill of Harrowgate nipping at her heels, Charlotte's choices become ever more difficult and the stakes are raised as she struggles through crisis after crisis. Charlotte's resolve to dismiss the very idea of the Miller Curse crumbles into a pile of wasted wishes as the harsh reality of the unreal comes to be. She is forced to play the hand that's dealt, facing sinister forces she once easily dismissed.

A strong protagonist indeed.

Every word counts in this amazing book. The language, while assuredly stunning and appealing, is never frivolous. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I eagerly await whatever Ms. Bunce wishes to put in front of me next, as it's sure to be delightful and satisfying if it's near the quality of A CURSE DARK AS GOLD.

It's only fitting that this novel be recommended for the Gold Star Award for Excellence and admittance to the TeensReadToo Hall of Fame.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I always look forward to fairy tale retellings, and with this one winning the Morris Award for Best Debut YA, I eagerly picked up A CURSE DARK AS GOLD after two years of having this in my TBR pile. Unfortunately, it was pretty much an all-around disappointment, and in rather unexpected ways: for some reason, the way the story was written, and the way it unfolded, really frustrated and repelled me.

A CURSE DARK AS GOLD theoretically had all the elements I like in a story: a unique spin on a fairy tale, a strong female protagonist, and a compelling plot with only the subtly appreciated undertones of romance. However, I wasnt far into the book before the way the story was playing out began to irk me. Charlottes vehement insistence that there was no such thing as a curse soon characterized her as blindly stubborn to me: I like my fair share of headstrong and independent females, but not when they are stubborn in a maddeningly close-minded way. Hints about the malignance of the curse were dropped in the book from here to kingdom come, but it was not until the last fifth of the book that things began to be explained, and I cant help but think that all stories that are carried forward by the mysterious and pervasive influence of a shocking secret are kind of gimmicky. The absolute lack of forward progression in the plot regarding the understanding of Stirwaters, the Miller history, and the curse made me so frustrated that I was tempted to put the book down forever and not bother to find out how it ended.

As Charlotte insisted on pulling away from her loved ones in a misguided effort to protect everyone and shoulder the burden herself, I just couldnt bring myself to empathize with her decisions. Theres a difference between being admirably independent and dumbly mule-headed, and Im afraid that Charlotte fell on the wrong side of that line.

All in all, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD was actually too light on the Rumpelstiltskin retellings, rendering itself more just a supposedly spooky and tense story of desperation and redemption that turned out not to be my thing, mainly because of my dislike of the main character for her mule-headedness and the way the plot unfolded. These criticisms I have, of course, are far more subjective than my usual ones, and so if you think that these two points wont bother you as much as they did me, then I encourage you to give this award-winning book a try. Many important people obviously thought it was a great work, so there is the likelihood that I am in the minority on this one.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I always look forward to fairy tale retellings, and with this one winning the Morris Award for Best Debut YA, I eagerly picked up A CURSE DARK AS GOLD after two years of having this in my TBR pile. Unfortunately, it was pretty much an all-around disappointment, and in rather unexpected ways: for some reason, the way the story was written, and the way it unfolded, really frustrated and repelled me.

A CURSE DARK AS GOLD theoretically had all the elements I like in a story: a unique spin on a fairy tale, a strong female protagonist, and a compelling plot with only the subtly appreciated undertones of romance. However, I wasnt far into the book before the way the story was playing out began to irk me. Charlottes vehement insistence that there was no such thing as a curse soon characterized her as blindly stubborn to me: I like my fair share of headstrong and independent females, but not when they are stubborn in a maddeningly close-minded way. Hints about the malignance of the curse were dropped in the book from here to kingdom come, but it was not until the last fifth of the book that things began to be explained, and I cant help but think that all stories that are carried forward by the mysterious and pervasive influence of a shocking secret are kind of gimmicky. The absolute lack of forward progression in the plot regarding the understanding of Stirwaters, the Miller history, and the curse made me so frustrated that I was tempted to put the book down forever and not bother to find out how it ended.

As Charlotte insisted on pulling away from her loved ones in a misguided effort to protect everyone and shoulder the burden herself, I just couldnt bring myself to empathize with her decisions. Theres a difference between being admirably independent and dumbly mule-headed, and Im afraid that Charlotte fell on the wrong side of that line.

All in all, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD was actually too light on the Rumpelstiltskin retellings, rendering itself more just a supposedly spooky and tense story of desperation and redemption that turned out not to be my thing, mainly because of my dislike of the main character for her mule-headedness and the way the plot unfolded. These criticisms I have, of course, are far more subjective than my usual ones, and so if you think that these two points wont bother you as much as they did me, then I encourage you to give this award-winning book a try. Many important people obviously thought it was a great work, so there is the likelihood that I am in the minority on this one.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

Since her father's death, the fate of the Miller family woolen mill and that of the Shearing village rests on Charlotte's shoulders. An unexpected and seemingly insurmountable debt leads to a difficult choice for the normally practical and levelheaded miller's daughter.

Must she take the offer of the strange little man who can weave straw into gold, or can she make her own way through the maze of ill luck and deceit that seems her family legacy?

Elizabeth C. Bunce's A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is worth its own weight in gold and then some. A folkloric re-telling beyond Rumpelstiltskin proportions, this tale weaves the best storytelling techniques into a fine tapestry of intrigue, drama, and romance.

The tight writing never wavers. Gorgeous, consistent language abounds, like, "I sank to my knees in a sea of crumpled flannel and pressed my hands into the sharp shale of the yard, as if bites from the stones could remind me of who I was."

And just who is Charlotte Miller? Certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across of late. If not self-confident at the beginning of our story, she is at least confident in what she knows: the mill cannot go under and the families of Shearing cannot be allowed to starve or scatter to the winds. As she is the only one around to prevent these happenings, Charlotte will do what she must to prevent them. And so she does.

As time goes on, and with Pinchfields Mill of Harrowgate nipping at her heels, Charlotte's choices become ever more difficult and the stakes are raised as she struggles through crisis after crisis. Charlotte's resolve to dismiss the very idea of the Miller Curse crumbles into a pile of wasted wishes as the harsh reality of the unreal comes to be. She is forced to play the hand that's dealt, facing sinister forces she once easily dismissed.

A strong protagonist indeed.

Every word counts in this amazing book. The language, while assuredly stunning and appealing, is never frivolous. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I eagerly await whatever Ms. Bunce wishes to put in front of me next, as it's sure to be delightful and satisfying if it's near the quality of A CURSE DARK AS GOLD.

It's only fitting that this novel be recommended for the Gold Star Award for Excellence and admittance to the TeensReadToo Hall of Fame.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 12 more book reviews
If you are at all interested in the spinning or weaving arts and the old tale of Rumpelstiltskin you will find this an entertaining read.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 2333 more book reviews
I have had this to read for awhile. I always love fairy tale retellings and this was a very well done retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The story moves a bit slow at points, but it is beautifully written and full of excellent imagery. I ended up enjoying it. The story pulls you forward with a tense foreboding as things end up poised on the brink of disaster.

This story follows two sisters who end up taking over a cloth mill after their father's death. The mill seems to be cursed, as one tragedy after another befalls it. The older sister Charlotte finds herself struggling to keep the mill open so that the town built around it can continue to thrive. Just as she is at her wit's end, a strange man appears and offers what seems to be too easy of a way out of her problems.

I loved learning about cloth milling and enjoyed the small town that Charlotte lives in. This is one of those stories where the heroine has the best intentions but ends up getting herself in worse and worse situations as she struggles to do right for those around her.

I enjoyed how this story was blended in with the classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin. It is well done and subtle.

The writing style is beautiful and flows wonderfully. There is a lot of description in here and the scenes really come alive. At times this makes the story move slowly. However this slower pace fits well with the pace of small town life and with the gradually build to disaster that overhangs this story.

Overall this is a very well done retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and I would recommend to those who enjoy fairy tale retellings. Although the story is a bit slow at times, it is beautifully written. I also enjoyed learning some about how cloth milling used to be done.
reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold on + 2 more book reviews
A fairytale spin on the classic Rumpelstiltskin. It was not the classic "maiden in a castle needing to spin straw into gold for the king". A whole different kind of girl who deals with Rumpel. It will keep you intrigued till for the very end.