Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: January 19, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository
Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
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.
Disclaimer: I received an E-ARC of this book from Macmillan through the PH Blog Tour hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads and Wanderer in Neverland in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to them!
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how much I love Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves. I read it a few weeks back and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even now, a few weeks after I’ve read the book, the details remain vivid and fresh in my mind. This book is my new obsession and I don’t think I would be able to stop thinking and talking about it as the series continues.
Roshani Chokshi’s prose flows incredibly well and is as smooth as melted chocolate with all its lush decadence. As I read the book, I had to keep texting my sister to gush. I had to- I adored nearly everything in this book. The plot, the characters, the world-building, the representation…I genuinely don’t have a bad thing to say about this book. All of the characters, I adored with my whole heart.
The story is set in Paris during La Belle Époque (or “The Beautiful Era”) in 1889 with the Exposition Universelle about to come up. It is just as decadent as one would imagine it being. Magic and secret societies blend well together and combined with Roshani Chokshi’s flowery writing, it makes for a riveting and exquisite read. I love how magic- called Forging is described as well as magic being tied to creation. I also loved how Babel fragments were described to be scattered throughout the continents only for them, as well as other artifacts of power to be plundered by colonizers. Colonization and the effects thereof were discussed and I appreciate how it’s included.
The characters follow the found family trope and at the start of the story, they already have an established dynamic that just works incredibly well. I would fight for these characters. From Severin, the wronged heir of a ‘dead’ house, to Laila, the mom-friend with a dark secret, or Enrique the linguist nerd revolutionary, to Zofia, the engineer, to Tristan, the prodigy, and even Hypnos, the young Head of a House who just wanted some friends. They are all incredibly well-developed and fleshed out characters each with their own agendas and goals they’re actively pursuing outside of the group.
This book also has representation in spades. It isn’t afraid to portray a diverse Paris- which is historically accurate- along with all of ugly racism present. Three of the main characters are biracial- with Severin and Enrique being white-passing, while Hypnos isn’t. It touches upon the privilege held by white-passing biracial people and it’s also important in Enrique’s case as he is a member of a Filipino nationalist group fighting against colonialism. One character is a Polish Jew who may be on the spectrum, and one is Indian. This book is also pretty queer and is not afraid to show it. There is romance, but it’s rather minor all things considered. I’m also here for the intense slow-burn, not-quite-unrequited-love vibes I’m getting.
Personally, I really really appreciate the inclusion of Enrique’s character. Filipino characters in YA are hard to come by and here, Roshani Chokshi gives us one in the form of a lovable and geeky historian nerd who happens to be an Ilustrado and a reformist in an important time period in Philippine history. I cried when I read about it and my heart was incredibly full. This, I thought, was how it felt to read something wonderful when it represents you.
The plot is very fast-paced. It moves quickly and pulls no punches. I started on an early morning and finished before noon. It was that engrossing. The plot involves a heist which could possibly see Severin’s rightful inheritance restored. Of course, the plot isn’t quite as straightforward as that. The heist was satisfying and heart-pumping to read about but what happens after is what truly made my jaw drop. There were moments where I had to put my iPad down and pace around the room because of everything that’s happening.
I won’t be lying when I say that this is one of the best YA Fantasy books I’ve read. Roshani Chokshi wrote a story that had me engrossed from the first to the last page. I will definitely be impatiently looking forward to the sequel. Please pick this up- you won’t be disappointed.
January 14, 2019
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About the author:
Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and A CROWN OF WISHES. Her middle grade debut, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, released April 3, 2018 from Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. The sequel, ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH is slated to release April 30, 2019. Her next young adult novel, THE GILDED WOLVES, is slated for January 15, 2019. Chokshi’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She was a finalist in the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the Locus Top Ten for Best First Novel. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.