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Review: Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins

>>Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Title: Veil of Gold
Author: Kim Wilkins`
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 512
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: April 27, 2010, originally July 22nd 2008
Publisher: Tor
Rating: A

When an ancient gold bear is found entombed in a dilapidated St. Petersburg bathhouse owned by her uncle, Rosa Kovalenka knows in her heart that this is no random twist of fate. Her former lover, researcher Daniel St. Clair, reluctantly agrees to go to the university in Arkhangelsk to identify the relic.

Along the way he is mysteriously set adrift. Maps are suddenly useless. Automobiles break down and cell phones inexplicably stop working. Lost and exhausted, Daniel stumbles even deeper into the secrets and terrors of the Russian landscape.

Rosa fears the worst when Daniel goes missing and, full of shame and sudden longing, resolves to find him. But to do so means confronting her past and secrets that she has fought to suppress.

In the unknowable, impenetrable Russian forest, Rosa meets an enigmatic wanderer who is full of tales and riddles of times past. He knows tales of a very old bear and the fate of lovers old and new. And he might hold the key to Rosa and Daniel’s future—or the destruction of their world.

My Review

Why did I read this book? This is June's Dare for Calico Reaction's Alphabet Soup book club! That and the fact I couldn't obtain the main selection, so instead of sitting June out I participated in the Dare instead.

What I liked: Well, I never heard of this author or book before in my life until Calico's book club (she's well known in her home country of Australia) and so going into this I wasn't sure what to expect. Boy, was I given a gem! I really enjoyed this story! I can easily say it's a Squee! type of book. You know, one that by the end of it, you're *squee*ing because it was so awesome?

Anyways, I better go into some detail here. There are some very specific reasons why I enjoyed Veil of Gold. First, the characters. There's three main protagonists: Em, cold and unfeeling but very smart, Daniel, kind but insecure and fearful and Rosa, strong and independent and the love interest of Daniel. I thought it was so refreshing that the male character was portrayed as the 'weak' one: insecure and anxious, while the women were tough and confident. Who agonized over lost love? Daniel. Rosa sometimes, but for her it was different. It didn't come from a place of dependance or insecurity. Secondly, I loved the darkness of the story. These characters go through some tough stuff, especially Em and Daniel after they cross the veil. Wilkins isn't afraid to damage her characters and it kept the story unpredictable for me. Also, the use of Russian folklore was fun and added another layer. The way Wilkins blended magic and myth into our world was intriguing and energizing. Finally, I enjoyed the ending. I really didn't see it coming and I was thinking "what just happened?" but in a good way!

What I didn't like: There isn't much I didn't like about this novel, but since I have the section here I'll write some stuff down. The story lagged in some areas but I felt this was minor and not enough to make me not want to read on. My biggest disappointment was Rosa's big secret. I thought it wasn't signficant enough for her to make such drastic decisions (I don't want to spoil it so I'm being vague) and when we find out what's motivating her, I felt like it was a bit of a let down. However, this was just one part of the overall story and I quickly overlooked it.

Thoughts on the cover: Love the cover for it's font and unique color.

Overall Thoughts
Definitely recommended. If you like urban fantasy, Russian folklore/culture or are just interested in something a little different, and a little dark, then this is for you. I hope Wilkins other books are reprinted in North America because I will definitely be reading them.


  1. This is a new one to me. And so glad you liked it. I don't think I've really read anything with much russian folklore. Sounds like a great start here. :) Thank you!

  2. I've read this too (also for calico_reaction's dare) and loved it as well. It was so nice to see a fantasy with russian folklore as opposed to the typical european/medieval inspirations -- not that I don't like those, but it was a breath of fresh air, you know?

  3. I've had this one on the ol TBR for ages.. along with a couple other Kim Wilkins books. I don't know why I haven't read them yet.



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