Review: A Touch of Gold and Madness by K.L. DeVore


Magical Realism



Princess Assassin Gray Monroe is ordered by her father to kill the villainous prince responsible for starting a war that threw the world into a post-apocalyptic society. In a decrepit landscape where two magical species war with one another, while a human militia hunts them all, Gray has only one thing on her mind: vengeance.

With a single focus on killing the man who murdered her first love, she believes nothing will stop her. That is until she hesitates when she comes face-to-face with her nemesis at long last.

Unable to complete the task, Gray must return to the King’s Palace empty-handed for her annual birthday celebration to a court of vipers who lie in wait for her to slip in her icy façade. When a sinister plot is revealed to assassinate the princess, she must flee into a world where she’s now the hunted and fight to survive to get the revenge she’s owed.


Reviewed by Dakota Watson

Despite the glowing reviews on Goodreads, A Touch of Gold and Madness by K.L. DeVore is one of those books I had to wonder whether I am reading the same book those other reviewers read because this book let me down in so many levels. I am not saying the book was extremely bad. Of course not! It had some good things. I could clearly see how much thought the author had put into developing the magical system. The concept of the story was good and the action scenes were beautifully written too. The mystery of an entity’s presence in Griffin’s head was a good addition to the story as well. However, there was a lot of bad in the book that outshone the good by miles.

Mainly it was the poor story building and character development in the first portion of the book that made me lose faith in the book. The book was very long yet so slow. Pacing was all over the place. It was rushed where more context was needed and stagnant when unnecessary. For two powerful forces at war, the battle strategies and political maneuvers was next to nothing. From what I could gather it was just King Forest and Amethyst who pulled all the strings on Kinetics’ side. No prominent military figures were introduced, who would have been essential to when winning a war. It was very obvious the author was a skilled writer when she put her mind to it. It’s just that she wanted to focus on certain things within the story, she inadvertently decided to ignore laying out a strong foundation for the story to be built on.

Spoilers ahead:

First of all, who, in this day and time, sends their very public and recognizable heir to assassination the opposition leadership? Yes, it has been five years since the EMP attacks but before that cameras and phones were working fine. The opposition must be really dumb not to do any recon on it’s enemy, especially given this conflict has been going on for ages. One can argue this was a set up for failure for Grey but it still wasn’t credible in my eyes because author wanted us to believe Grey to be this battle hardened experienced assassin who exceled in stealth.

The abusive father daughter relationship between the princess and the king was poorly executed. The author didn’t give it time for it to naturally come to fruition as she hurriedly tried telling the reader about it in a few sentences rather than showing. This prevented the chance a reader could form an emotional connection with Gray about her parental abuse and trauma that followed. Also the vague background story of why the king adopted Gray sounded improbable. Even if the King wanted to create a hybrid, why adopt her and name her the heir? That didn’t make any sense in my books. Also why try to kill the two hybrids he created going into such brutal lengths when they were the key to opening the portal? Made no sense whatsoever. He could have simply explained to both of them what his plan was and they would have opened the portal willingly, given they both were two young naïve brainwashed children who he personally oversaw being raised. Talk about botched opportunities! And you mean to tell me for all that time Elementals and Kinetics coexisted not a single adventurous being from either side thought “I wonder what the other side would feel like?” and took a partner from the opposite faction and conceived a child?

Also Grey had a boyfriend (Slate) and a good friend, Hazel (the said boyfriend’s sister) who didn’t reveal to Grey that there was an assassination attempt on her life until she was actually poisoned. It made me question whether they genuinely cared about Grey after all. The other two friends Scarlett and Cotton  felt very two dimensional that had no depth.

And those childhood memory flashbacks…. They felt so unreal because they read like adult povs, especially their thought processes and conversations. There wasn’t any difference between when they were children and adults. Also that physical abuse of Gray by fellow students was highly improbable. Especially given they were in a well reputed private school.  Trust me, I know. No private school allow recess time without ample adult supervision and this is talking from my experience some twenty years ago and current ones I am aware from my nieces and nephews. By no means I am saying bullying doesn’t happen at all in private schools. It’s just that elementary school recess is not where it happens.

Furthermore, nobody from Kinetic faction knew what the opposition leader’s son’s name? The entire Chrome, the legendary elusive warrior thing was ridiculous from the start and I didn’t even blink an eye when Griffin revealed he was indeed Chrome.

Also the story about King Forest lying and changing history wasn’t credible. From what I understood neither Kinetics nor Elementals were immortals or had the gift of long life. So how in the world did King Forest manage to rewrite Kinetic history without anyone noticing? I mean there should have been plenty of old people who actually remembered the true history. For argument’s sake let say he did brainwashed all the Kinetics to loathe the Elementals. I mean, there wasn’t even one rebellious being who managed to say “This is some bullshit!”?

I would have kept reading but things weren’t moving fast enough to hold my interest in the story. Therefore I put the book down once Gray arrived in Elemental Hollow. I wasn’t really interested to know where the story was going or what is going to happen between Gray and Chrome. Very disappointed!


Book Cover:

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