There are no spoilers in this review.
I previously only read one book by the author, yet somehow I knew I had to read more and when The Gilded Wolves started shaking the entire book blogging community, I knew I had to check it out. A heist set in 1890-Paris with an incredibly diverse cast of characters? French-me is very happy about historical Paris, bookish-me is very happy about the promise of incredible characters, National Treasure-fan-me is incredibly excited about everything else. Ultimately, The Gilded Wolves delivered its promises.
HISTORICAL FANTASY, HEIST, MAGIC…A BEAUTIFUL MIX
If there is something I already praised in The Star Touched Queen, the author’s previous work I’ve read and can praise again in The Gilded Wolves, it’s the way she builds entire universes and make them live and unfold in front of you in beautiful, beautiful ways. Through the writing, through the interesting world-building mixing historical Paris in the Exposition Universelle time (that’s when the Eiffel Tower was presented and done building, friends. I mean, French-me was so happy about that historical context, very very cool!) and a little bit of fantasy and magical elements. I have to admit that, if I appreciated the setting and the world-building overall, it took me a little bit of time to grasp the mechanisms of it all and to understand the fantasy elements to it, something that slowed down my reading a little bit at first.
Once I really got into it, though, wow. The way the author manages to mix up historical elements, magical elements, artifacts… that was quite impressive. The entire plot reminded me of National Treasure, which is one of my favorite movies of all times and I was completely hooked on the quest, the heist, these characters taking me with them in their adventures and unhooking mysteries of the past to protect the future. I loved it.
AN INCREDIBLY DIVERSE CAST OF CHARACTERS
You know me, though: I am a character person and if the characters can’t win me over, no matter what the plot is or how good it all is, well it will be a big, massive, no. Here in The Gilded Wolves, however, it is the cast of characters that won me over, even more that the heist, the thrilling plot and everything else and, thankfully, over the confusion I felt at times.
Roshani Chokshi built an incredible cast of diverse characters I really loved and rooted for, each with their own quirks, personality, goals. Told in multiple POVs, the story stood out thanks to the author’s work at making each of the characters jump off the page with their uniqueness. There’s Séverin, half-French and half-Algerian, “head” of the crew and a bit of a reminder of a softer Kaz Brekker, Laila, the girl with a tragic past, Indian, absolutely gorgeous and A BAKER, Tristan, the adorable one with his pet spider and soft character needing protection, Zofia, Polish, Jewish, and most likely on the Autism spectrum having a hard time with social interactions but a brilliant, mathematician brain, Enrique, the historical-nerd, Spanish and Filipino, soft, charming, queer and definitely the cutest, Hypnos, sassy, endearing, queer and a bit of a mess at times, with the best lines and also he’s a POC and yay for a very diverse cast!
THE ROMANCE, I’M IN LOVE
WHAT. A. CAST. I really loved them all and their interactions were absolutely golden, too.
I loved Tristan and Séverin, the little-brother/big-brother relationship that warmed my heart. I had such a fun time with every interaction Hypnos had with everyone.
I loved the romance and tension between Séverin and Laila from the start and all until the very end, I’m completely head over heels for their relationship and I ship them A WHOLE LOT OKAY. Their romance is slow, complicated, impossible, their friendship is messed-up, they are both very messed up and I adored the tension woven flawlessly through the story, part of it yet not overshadowing the main plot, still and always focused on the adventure and mystery and heist of it all. That was such a good romance and I’m all here for what happens next.
Fans of historical fantasies will certainly fall head over heels for The Gilded Wolves, fans of great characters should love this incredibly diverse, golden cast. With tension, adventure, action, amazing dialogues, this is a book I’d certainly recommend and one I will absolutely read the sequel of. I can’t wait.
Final rating: 4 drops!
A million thanks to MacMillan International & Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thougths and rating.
Trigger Warnings: on-page death, mention of parents’ death, racism (challenged), cultural erasure, colonialism, depictions of grief.
Diversity: Bi-racial main characters: Séverin (French and Algerian), Spanish and Filipino (Enrique), French and Black (Hypnos). Indian main character (Laila). Polish, Jewish and Autistic main character (Zofia). Queer main characters (Enrique, Hypnos).
Roshani Chokshi, The Gilded Wolves, Published by Wenesday Books, January 15th, 2019.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
Did you read The Gilded Wolves? Do you want to?
Did you read any of Roshani Chokshi’s books? Do you want to? Let me know in comments!