My rating: Vacation by the beach (3/5)
The Golden Apple is an adult retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale, The Princess on the Glass Hill. I’ve wanted to try Diener’s work for a while , so I was quite pleased to get a taste of her writing style. I loved the writing style but the “teen” feel of The Golden Apple disappointed me.
Kayla is the princess to Gaynor and her father has essentially put her up for auction for reasons she does not understand. At the open, Kayla is sitting at the top of a glass mountain that mysteriously (and magically) appeared. The knights competing in the task have to somehow get up the mountain and retrieve the golden apple that sits in Kayla’s lap. If they succeed, they will win Kayla’s hand in marriage – and become heir to the kingdom.
Rane is one of the knights competing in the contest, and also happens to be the man that Kayla lost her virginity to, in an attempt to beat her father at this ridiculous game. Kayla helps Rane win, but it soon becomes clear that he has his own purposes for entering the contest and none of them have to do with rescuing her. Before Rane can put his own plans into motion, he learns that both he and Kayla have been enchanted and if they don’t set forth and retrieve a powerful jewel they will both go mad. And into the dark magical forest they go!
I have mixed feelings about The Golden Apple. On one hand, I love fairy tale retellings and I was quite excited about an adult one. I’m also a fan of the fantasy romance genre and this one seemed to fit the bill, at least for the first half of the book
The first half of the book was fantastic. I loved the writing and I felt that I was reading a fairy tale. I also really liked the concept and the romantic set up. Kayla understandably feels betrayed by Rane when she learns that he has ulterior motives for rescuing her. I was looking forward to seeing how these two would eventually get back to trusting and eventually loving each other. Combine this with a quest into a magical forest, and I was sold.
Unfortunately, the second half of the book proved to be a bit of disappointment for me. The descriptions of the forest and the bizarre things there was fantastic and reminded me of the fairy tales that I would read as a kid, but what really disappointed me was the romance. There was so much emphasis on the journey and the dangers of the forest, I felt that the romance element was kind of left unfinished. Yes, we get the requisite happily ever after for the couple, but I was left scratching my head as to how this exactly happened. It seemed that suddenly Kayla forgave Rane and everything was “good” between them. I would have liked more detail about Kayla and Rane’s relationship; it progressed a little too quickly for my taste.
The Golden Apple was a fun read. I liked going back to the fairy tale genre and this Norwegian tale was not one that I had heard of before and I thought it was a good set up for a series (everything was not resolved at the end). Ultimately, I liked the writing style and I will be giving Diener’s work another shot as I am especially curious about her historical novels.
*Review copy provided via NetGalley.
No similar reads this time around, but make sure you tune in for my fairy tale post tomorrow for suggestions!