Book Review: “A Taste of Gold” by Deryn Pittar

Finally I’ve managed to find the time to review this book. I actually finished reading it on Monday but was swamped with things to do (namely meeting friends as well as Jacob-related business). Enjoy!


Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Suspense

Note to self: Read the blurb before reading the book. The initial page shocked me with talk of guns and drugs, but I was soon reassured that this was not a fanfiction of Breaking Bad. And the cover did remind me a bit of Twilight, which sent a shudder down my spine. But no, I actually really enjoyed this novella…

Jason and Levi remind me of Fred and George Weasley, in the sense that they’re totally in sync with each other and love a good adventure. Their gifts for gold and gems could have made them the richest men in the world, yet they have an innocence about them where they just want to do the right thing. I love the way the writer evokes the senses, bringing the gold and gems to life through the twins who can physically smell and hear them – makes it easier to relate to something that doesn’t usually bring much appeal to me (no, I’m not into jewels and stuff).

The story takes the Australian twins on a road trip through The Coromandel Valley in New Zealand, through some towns that I’m sure I’ve been through when I was there. I once stayed on a family friend’s farm up in that area and had fun feeding sheep, watching chicks hatch and going off to pick pippies… okay, I digress. They’re on a prospecting holiday but they stumble upon some gang thieves and find their loot twice. Being the good boys that they are, they return it to the police, only to attract media (and possibly physical) attention from a local reporter Abby. Unfortunately, this media attention helped the thieves track them down and Jason is captured to be their ‘gold-digger’. No, please get your mind out of the gutter – not that kind of ‘gold-digger’.

However, I’ve failed to mention another interesting part of the book, which is where it brings in ancient folklore to life. Taniwhas are part of Maori mythology – the twins meet one who seems to have that same affinity towards gems and gold as they do. The Taniwha gives them humming stones as a symbol of their promise not to reveal his lair, and these stones also offer a means to call a Taniwha should they need help. And help was indeed what Jason needed at the time of his capture.

I think I’ll say no more about the synopsis so as to not spoil too much for the reader. I found this book enthralling and I was glad to be able to finish it in one sitting as it would have annoyed me not to know what happened next. I love the way the author made the characters grow on you to a point that you can connect to them, despite not being a twin or having psychic powers. However, it was slightly anti-climatic to me, where I was hoping for a bit more action towards the end – however, I guess there’s only so much that can happen on one road trip (believe me, I know about road trips and strange happenings). And it allows space for a sequel if intended by the author. 🙂 Kudos on the story, Deryn.

Rating: 7.5/10


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