So I found this book on #booktok, Gild by Raven Kennedy. OH SNAP. It started with a bang, got a little slow, then ended with a BANG. I bought book 2 immediately after finishing book 1, Glint, and I devoured it in about three days. I could have devoured it within a day, but it was the middle of the week, so I had to work. And I bought book three – Gleam – immediately after finishing Glint.
This series at first felt a bit too “rape as a plot,” and “sexual harassment as tension,” and I noticed people pointing that out in the reviews on Goodreads. Yes, that exists really hard in Gild. The whole plot revolves around Auren being sexually harrassed and threatened with rape.
But this book shows Auren and the world that she has been living in – the one where she needs to worry about rape because society says that’s all she is, a whore. She firmly believes that. Book 1 ends with her finally standing up for herself. Then book 2, Glint, leads into her being “captured” by the vicious and villainous army led by Commander Rip, and as it turns out, they’re not so bad. They treat her with respect, and she doesn’t know how to handle it. She thinks it’s all a trick.
The last fourth of Glint had some serious commentary on toxic relationships, and it blew my mind. Auren is in a terrible, toxic relationship with Midas, and she doesn’t see it. She firmly believes that he loves her and he is doing all that he’s doing and all that he’s done in her best interest, because he’s told her so. She believes him, because she loves him. Blindly so. Until she doesn’t.
I loved it because Auren doesn’t see the toxicity of her relationship yet literally everyone else does, questioning why she would go back to him. She has every lie in the book to excuse his behavior, and then the chapter from his POV at the end reveals that he also thinks he is acting in her best interest. I LOVE this commentary on toxic relationships, because so often the men are described as these almost cartoon-villain bad guys.
This is a book to gift to the girls in your life with toxic relationships and who don’t see that toxic relationship for what it really is. Midas has coaxed Auren into this illusion of what is right and wrong for her, and she blindly believes.
Gild and Glint get 5/5 golden touches from me. So far, Gleam is looking like a 5/5 too.
Now, I have to return to #booktok to find my next series to devour.