The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)by Published 15 Jan 2019
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change—one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires...
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history—but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) Reviews
The setting is Paris, 1889, and the world is a strange and industrious place, run by Forgers and curators of fantastical items. Séverin is a treasure-hunter with a crew, and he’s looking to find the item he needs to be reinstated in his rightful place, to receive the inheritance taken unfairly from him—but the item will come at a cost, and he and his team will need to overcome many obstacles to retrieve it.
I’d been meaning to read Roshani Chokshi’s work for quite some time, and when I heard about The Gilded Wolves, I immediately knew I wanted it to be my introduction to her stories. I’m a big fan of historical fantasy, especially stories set in real places but crafted very differently from what those places actually were in that setting, and I’m a sucker for a good heist story with lovable characters, both of which were facets Gilded promised to deliver.
→ L I K E S :
“I don’t want to be their equals. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, like they’ve stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”
Luckily, Roshani is just as delightful of a storyteller as I anticipated she would be, because I was captivated from the beginning and found myself head-over-heels in love with this series by the end. The writing is so much fun, full of hilarious, laugh-out-loud banter and sweet, tender moments (I swear I highlighted half the book), and the heists and puzzles craft an air of endless suspense and intrigue.
They might owe him their service. But he was the one bound to them. He was the one who would always be left behind.
Even better, the characters in this story are some of the best I’ve ever met. They are all incredibly complex and real, and you’d be hard pressed to dislike any of them because they all have such lovable quirks and bits of their personalities. I never get tired of a good “squad” and this little gang of misfits has to be one of my new favorites! Oh, and there is a romance in this book that has some of the best romantic/sexual tension I have EVER read in YA (without ever being even remotely explicit).
And though they were not all his tales, he saw himself in them: pushed to the corners of the dark. He was just like them. As solid as smoke and just as powerless.
In fact, can we just stop right here and talk about these characters? Because, honestly, I tried writing this review without taking some time to gush over each of them individually, and I just couldn’t do it.
→ Séverin 💀 half-Algerian, clever, criminal mastermind, total grump-butt in the best way
→ Laila 🍰 Indian, #squadmom, baker extraordinaire, sweetest and most loving little ball of sunshine ever, has a beautiful story arc regarding the importance of dance in her culture/homeland
→ Zofia 🔬 Jewish, Polish, autistic (and so well-done, written with such obvious care and research), scientist/genius, wickedly funny, probably my actual favorite??
→ Enrique 📜 Filipino/Spanish, queer, adorable, pouty, historian, has endless internal monologues about feeling erased, suffering racism/microaggressions, etc., made me cry a million times
→ Tristan 🕸 precious soft little bean, has a pet tarantula he never shuts up about, needs to be protected and cared for at all costs
→ Hypnos 💎 black, queer, doesn’t always have the best motives but is generally the actual softest, killer taste in fashion
→ D I S L I K E S :
He whispered the words Pride spoke every time he went to repossess an object: “I’ve come to collect my dues.”
I have only one complaint about this book, and honestly, I loved the story overall so much that it pains me to even include this: I struggled with the world-building for quite a while. You’re kind of dropped right into the action from the get-go, and you’re forced to catch up on the run, which I normally love, but this world is just so intricate and has such a large-feeling magic system that I feel I would’ve benefited a bit from being given more of a primer before launching into the main plot.
“When you are who they expect you to be, they never look too closely. If you’re furious, let it be fuel.”
I actually have heard a few friends say it feels like this book needs a prequel novella in order for the world-building to fully function, and while I don’t agree that it’s entirely necessary , I do think it would be an AMAZING addition if Roshani ever chose to follow that route later on.
→ F I N A L THOUGHTS :
Minor complaints aside, though, The Gilded Wolves still feels like an easy 5-star read for me because I adored the characters so much and had such a tremendous amount of fun with the adventure and obstacles that really come into play in the second half. I cherish these characters so much, and in the two weeks it’s now been since I finished reading, this story has only grown more and more dear in my heart. I am beyond excited for the sequel and can’t wait to see what Roshani will do to indubitably wreck my life as the saga continues.
→ RECOMMENDING TO… :
Ultimately, I’d recommend this to any fans of historical fantasy, “squad” groups, and lovable, diverse characters, as well as readers who don’t require a tremendous amount of back-story or a slow pacing in fantasy. I also wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who enjoys fun, flirty or otherwise humorous banter in their books.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Buddy read with Kaleena & Scrill! ♥
this book is serving some major ‘six of crows’ meets ‘the da vinci code' realness and i had no idea that was something i needed in my life until now.
gosh, with a story this good, where do i even begin? the massive cast of diverse and interesting characters who have each made their way into my small heart? the intricate and highly thought-out plot that constantly delivers twists and turns at every corner? the effortless and gorgeous writing which paints a historically stunning world filled with delicious food, breathtaking sights, and cunning individuals? this story is the ultimate treasure hunt and X marks everything i love about it.
and sure, no matter how much i rave about this, it isnt without its problems. there are some massive info dumps that take some effort to sort through, the acute focus on details can make the writing seem dense (and even confusing) at times, and there are some inaccuracies with the french translations. but once you get past those minor hiccups, this story has sooo much to offer.
i honestly feel that, with this book, roshani chokshi has finally come into her own and made the transition from queen to goddess. i am so glad this was signed on as a trilogy because i cant wait to see where this story goes and how its built upon. and i have a strong feeling i am not going to be disappointed.
↠ 4.5 stars
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Sometimes the only way to take down what had destroyed you was to disguise yourself as part of it.”
Most of you know that Roshani Chokshi is one of my favorite authors. I loved both The Star-Touched Queen & A Crown of Wishes with my whole heart and soul! So, I knew when she was writing a brand-new series, about a found family completing heists and solving puzzles, that I wouldn’t be able to resist once I got my hands on an ARC. And friends, this was such a treat to read.
This is a historical fantasy set in alternate 1889 Paris, France, and in this alternate world, children will manifest magical powers by the age of thirteen. And there are two different kinds of magic; the magic of mind and the magic of matter. There is also a very powerful secret society, that goes by the name of the Order of Babel, and it used to be made up of four houses, but two houses took over ten years ago. And by doing so, they made a very big mistake claiming the heir of one of those fallen houses as dead.
“Turning into ghosts is not what the dead deserve.”
➽ Séverin - Biracial (Algerian & French). For sure the leader of the group, who wants nothing more than to keep his crew safe and out of harm’s way. But he is on a mission to reclaim his true inheritance that was stolen from him with lies ten years ago, because he gets an offer than he couldn’t possibly refuse.
➽ Laila - Indian (ownvoices), dancer, who is dealing with a lot of grief and a lot of anxiety over her past. She has the magical (matter) forging ability to touch any object and read it to know everything about it. And she desperately needs Séverin’s plan to work.
➽ Tristan - White, and Séverin considers him his little brother, because they moved around a lot together in foster care. Also, Tristan loves his pet tarantula, Goliath, more than anything, but he’s still my favorite little gardener/botanist.
➽ Zofia - On the Autism spectrum, Jewish, Polish, has anxiety, and a lot of her actions (in my opinion, as someone who has OCD) feels like she may also fall on the OCD spectrum. She finds comfort in numbers, needs to have things in their rightful place, and is willing to do any and everything for her little sister that she was forced to leave behind. Zofia also has magical forging abilities of the mind.
➽ Hypnos - Black, queer (probably pan, maybe bi, and maybe even non-binary), heir of a French aristocrat but know he is also a descendant of slavery. His story line is a little rough at first, but you soon realize that he considers Séverin a brother to him, and honestly? Hypnos ended up being my second favorite character. Also, he made me giggle so much that my tummy hurt.
➽ Enrique - Biracial (Filipino (ownvoices) & Spanish), queer (he is either bisexual or pansexual, but I’m not sure my heart can take reading about a half Filipino, pan character because it is all I’ve ever wanted in literature!) But, this character meant a lot to me. I am not sure I’ve ever read specifically about a biracial Filipino dealing with cultural erasure on both sides of their heritage before. I mean, this book is literally people trying to erase cultures from history, and Enrique is literally a historian, but seeing people make comments about his looks and biraciality just really hit home for me on a really personal level. I completely realize that there comes an immense privilege with being white passing but reading this book and feeling how real and hurtful it is when people disregard you and erase you because you don’t fit in their stereotypical mold of what a half Asian person should look like, but they also never let you forget that you’re not fully white. Yet, also not feeling like you truly fit in because of your lighter or more westernized features, even if they comment about it in a way that they believe is positive and a compliment. And Enrique also has to deal with people thinking that Asian people are interchangeable and thinking that their cruel and ignorant words are acceptable to say. I loved all the characters in this book, but Enrique just felt like the character I’ve been searching for for a very long while and he just really encompassed so many things that I hold inside myself every day. His character just meant a lot to me, and I will cherish him forever and always in my heart.
(Breathtaking art(s) by Nicole Deal!)
And this ragtag group of misfits come together and create something so beautiful that I hardly have words to describe it. This book heavily talks about colonization. And even though the heart of this novel is about a found family who unconditionally loves one another, the soul of this novel is about cultural erasure and how important it is to keep the traditions and history from your culture, no matter who tries to make you believe that theirs is superior. And this book really puts an emphasis of the terrible acts people will commit while saying that it’s for or because of a higher power.
“But the greatest thief of all was the Order of Babel, for they stole more than just objects . . . they stole histories”
But all these characters feel like a tier above the rest of what YA has to offer. They feel so real, their pain feels so raw, and you just want to protect them all at all costs. Roshani really is a master word weaver and I can’t help falling in love with every story she puts into the world. She is also the master of romance, and I was swooning extra hard for two people in this. (Also, the set up to book two will probably be the death of me!) As for the other romantic relationship, Roshani is either going to completely slay me with the love triangle or give me everything I’ve ever wanted with a polyamorous relationship. Lord, hear my prayers.
Also, because I don’t think I mentioned this above, a good portion of this book is set at a hotel called L’Eden where the crew lives and develops new advancements to help them with their missions. I know I’ve already gushed pretty hard over this book, but I love books that are set in hotels and inns so much, and it was just such an unexpected treat. Then again, Roshani always writes the best settings and my heart fell completely in love with a poisonous greenhouse in this story, too.
Overall, I just really loved this one. I am sure many people will compare The gilded Wolves to a mix of Six of Crows & The Da Vinci Code upon release, and I think that’s valid, bu I think it has its own unique spin, too. The cast is diverse and lovable, the writing is lush and beautiful, the themes are important and heartfelt, and the story is captivating and unputdownable. If you like a story with secrets and mystery, filled artifacts and puzzle solving, with a little romance and funny banter, then I completely recommend picking up The Gilded Wolves upon release.
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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Content and trigger warnings for colonialism, cultural erasure, and racism (always challenged and in a negative light), blood depiction, mention of past suicide, loss of a loved one, bullying in the past, abandonment, anxiety attacks, mention of a stillbirth, and depictions of grief.
Buddy read with Kristi, Mel, Amy, Caidyn, Lily, & Alex! ❤
DNF @ pg. 37
UPDATE: I decided I'm just going to straight up DNF this. I didn't get very far but I just don't think this is a book for me. I think the concept is so cool but unfortunately the writing style didn't mesh with me.
I got about 40 pages into this and just felt very confused, especially since I've heard such rave reviews. I'm not DNFing, I'm just going to try again next month because I don't think this will help me to get out of my reading slump right now!
"If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell."-Virgil
Hello friends, and let me welcome you to my review of my favorite fantasy novel of the year.... err of 2019? Whichever way you look at it, The Gilded Wolves is the type of read where after turning the final page your jaw hits the floor, and then days later, when you've semi-recovered, it's all you want to talk about with anyone you come in contact with. My husband is sick and tired of me bringing it up over and over, constantly trying to work through what I think will happen in the sequel and why Roshani thought she could earn my trust, make me fall in love with this gang of cool kids, and then rip my heart out like it was nothing.
"His father had not allowed him to call her mother, and in public she referred to him as "Monsieur Severin." But at night... when she snuck into his room to sing his lullabies, she always whispered one thing before she left: I am your Ummi. And I love you."
The amount of research that went into making this book feel believable, coupled with own voices storytelling, made this one of my favorite fantasy novels of the year... even though this one doesn’t come out until next month! I loved it so much that I’ve pre-ordered the hardcover for my personal collection, and I don't do that frequently. Many people have been comparing this to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and I can see why considering this is another teenage fantasy heist novel and there is a bunch of kids who have been through some tragic stuff brought together, but in my opinion the similarities end there. This is a story that stands on its own two legs, with its own magic system, atmosphere, and unique qualities that make it compulsively readable.
"I don't want to be their equals. I don't want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, like they've stared at the sun itself. I don't want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling."
The plot here is so complex; it begins with a bit of world building that segues nicely into some of the characters' history without giving away too much. Each of the characters have suffered some sort of ill fated prejudice, some of which are discriminations that are felt in the real world, and some which are "made up" but can also be attributed to real issues in a metaphorical sense. I won't go into detail due to spoilers, but one particular character's back story was both heart-wrenching and disturbing; it was a grotesquely beautiful and unique combination of emotions that invoke a wide array of feels. The author touches on some difficult, yet timely issues, and manages to portray them in a historical fantasy setting while keeping a very believable beat to the well paced plot.
"Lust is safer than love, but both can ruin you."
One of my favorite aspects of The Gilded Wolves was the fact that the romance was subtle, but deep. Sometimes I need a good lusty YA novel, but this was so much more. The portrayal here is sensual, poetic, and luxurious, and by the end I wanted to slap someone and was left with a deep craving to find out what would happen next. After having the pleasure of meeting Roshani at the Goodreads Power User Summit last year, I knew I wanted to pick up one of her books, and I'm so privileged to have led off with this one. If you enjoy YA fantasy that is rich in culture and well-researched history/mythology, you don't want to miss out on The Gilded Wolves.
"I think the greatest power is belief, for what is a god without it?"
*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.