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
Apparently, this is the first in a TRILOGY! YAY!
Well...I’m pretty disappointed with that ending. Surely Chokshi could’ve chosen a better cliffhanger to make us anticipate the next book??? Eh, oh well. I still really loved this!
This book was pretty confusing at times, in regards to the world building, but the character development, and their relationships with one another, were where the book truly shined. My absolute favourite characters were Zofia, Hypnos, and Tristan...which definitely attributed to me not enjoying the ending (and you know what I’m referring to, if you’ve read it).
Honestly, for all the Six of Crows-esque marketing, this book had very little in common with it. If anything, it was more Indiana Jones meets the DaVinci Code. The heists were more intricate here and there was nonstop action, enthralling me as I turned page after page. Also, there were puzzles and maths! While Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows builds up to the heist as the story progresses, this was a series of different ones, which definitely made for a more interesting read, in my opinion. It kept bringing me back for more, even though I took a lifetime to read it!
I felt like some of the diverse representation was even...gratuitous, at times. While I appreciated it’s inclusion, it came across more as a variety of character tropes, rather than giving us important context as to their backgrounds. Laila is the only who seemed to be truly defined by her Indian background. The one I was most excited for, Zofia, a Jew, was ultimately disappointing because I would never have known she was Jewish if it had not been explicitly stated multiple times. Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver provides much better representation in that aspect because being Jewish was actually a big part of who she was as a person. Here, it seemed to be more of an additional character trait, simply included to develop her backstory. Zofia never once referenced her actual faith, just the prejudice she was subjected to from her former classmates. I was hoping for a bit more than this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
On a more positive note, I adored this smorgasbord of mythologies: Abrahamic, Greek, Egyptian...I loved it all! In addition, the Forged sphinxes reminded me a lot of Rachel Caine’s Great Library series, which was definitely a bonus. The lyrical writing style was also lovely, but never overwhelming.
I really did enjoy this book and shall definitely be picking up the sequel next year...but my excitement for it has lessened a bit, unfortunately, due to the ending of this instalment. Hopefully, the sequel shall provide the closure that I desire. I’m definitely looking forward to giving the Star-Touched Queen duology a go, as well! :)
It's here!!! It's been almost 3 years since this trilogy first sold, and I still can't quite believe it's finally on shelves. So many people have touched this book and helped forge (ha ha) it into the story that it is today. This book demanded so much of my heart and taught me some much-needed lessons in story and craft. If there's other writers reading this, know that I 100% understand that sometimes the hardest thing about finishing a story is knowing when to let it go. The beauty of story is that it goes on to live different lives with different readers, and I hope this book finds a home in your heart. I fell in love with this nerdy crew and their world back in 2015, and I wrote the best book I could at the time. It may not be the easiest read to sink into, but I hope the readers who give it a chance find themselves wrapped up in dazzling adventures. I can't wait to share their journeys with you in books 2 and 3! And for those of you who have been with me since The Star-Touched Queen or found my work because of Aru Shah and The End of Time...thank you thank you thank you.
12/18 All of our characters have now been revealed! Follow the link below to meet Enrique, Tristan, Hypnos, Zofia, Laila, and Séverin!
12/12 Ready for a look at our third character reveal? Meet Hypnos, Patriarch of House Nyx. Not sure what to say about this ultraglam goof. I love him? But he's terrible? Don't let him near your boyfriend. (Artwork by the brilliant @NicoleDealArt)
12/11 The second character reveal from The Gilded Wolves is now LIVE! Meet Tristan, a gardener extraordinaire & also that little brother who says "LOOK WHAT I FOUND" and thrusts a bunch of writhing insects in your face while cooing at them. *shudders*. (Artwork by @NicoleDealArt <3)
Gotta love the fuzzy tarantula, Goliath, just chilling by his feet.
The first of The Gilded Wolves character reveals is now LIVE! Meet Enrigue, resident historian and linguist who makes most decisions based on what he gets to eat. I totally relate. Artwork by Nicole Deal. All week we'll be revealing character art so if you don't follow already, make sure to head over to my Instagram stories! https://twitter.com/Roshani_Chokshi/s...
So excited to reveal THE GILDED WOLVES cover on EW! Along with an excerpttttt. Woohoo! I hope you guys love it <3 http://ew.com/books/2018/05/07/the-gi...
THE GILDED WOLVES COVER REVEAL GOES LIVE NEXT MONDAY (May 7th)!!! Keep a close eye on social media.
I am RIDICULOUSLY excited to share THE GILDED WOLVES with you guys in Winter 2019!!! I'll be updating this space fairly regularly to share news :)
THE GILDED WOLVES grew out of my love for treasure hunt stories like DAVINCI CODE and TOMB RAIDER, and my fierce love of the dynamics between ensemble casts and found family. Recently, I saw something ridiculously gorgeous that I can't wait to share with you guys, but in the meantime you can peruse the Pinterest and feast your eyes on the prettyyyy!
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!
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 over and all I’m left with is a fucked-up sleep schedule and 100 more crushes on fictional characters that I don’t have time for.
Everything I knew about The Gilded Wolves’ fascinating premise led me to believe that it’s going to dig in the talons of sentimentality and vibrate in the chambers of my heart and awaken my soul from a slumber that was far, far too long. I’m a sucker for tightly knit bands of outcasts and a good heist book, and I'm completely confident in stating, without an ounce of hyperbole, that this is one of the most fun books I've ever read!
So, what's this book about?
Trouble often comes to those who make it and Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, a French-Algerian wealthy hotelier and part-time treasure hunter, has carved for himself twice as many paths to trouble.
Ten years ago, the Order of Babel—the all-too-powerful secret society of Paris—denied Séverin’s claim as heir of House Vanth and declared their line legally dead. But the Order’s decision is holding every hallmark of a lie, and for years, they luxuriated in seeing Séverin’s dream shatter, and him hobbled and lamed, foundering in the shards of his broken hopes.
When Hypnos—young heir of House Nyx—offers Séverin the chance to restore his lost inheritance in exchange for turning his “acquisitions” skills to a mythical and possibly dangerous object belonging to the Order, Séverin’s mind flashes before him an alternate history of his own life, in which he settles in for a lifetime of saying “fuck you” to the Order. His future now seems to have thinned to a point of destiny, and it had a name: revenge. But one can only get so far on thoughts of vengeance alone…
✨ Enrique , a brilliant Spanish-Filipino historian who was more like a textbook that occasionally remembered how to be an active member of society and who, like me, is one of those people who are so sarcastic with you which could only mean that they’re unapologetically flirting with you or you really annoy them and they can’t stand you.
✨ Zofia , a Jewish Polish mathematician with a rare magical affinity who was arrested for arson and expelled from the University and who, also like me, has a massive fear that no one actually likes her, rather everyone is just politely tolerating her hoping she’d leave them alone. (me? projecting? more likely than you’d think!)
✨ Laila , an Indian made-up girl with an ability to read people’s history while holding an object of their possession, baker extraordinaire and the epitome of what a mom friend is.
✨ Tristan , kind of a botanical specialist and who is a very recluse sort of person, and just wants to be left alone with his gigantic pet spider.
✨ And even Hypnos himself, the young heir of a French aristocrat whom people were quick to underestimate because they only ever see the dark of his skin and consider him less than they are. But as it is often the case, underestimation only happens to one’s greatest peril.
Six huge nerds. One impossible heist slash treasure hunt. The outcome could either be a dream or a death sentence. Paris drags out its secrets, and Séverin soon learns the things that could be taken away in a heartbeat, all in the pursuit of power.
“When you are who they expect you to be, they never look too closely. If you’re furious, let it be fuel,” Séverin said, looking each of them in the eye. “Just don’t forget that enough power and influence makes anyone impossible to look away from. And then they can’t help but see you.”
The Gilded Wolves reminds me of Six of Crows...if a root of this book had tapped down into a hidden pool of poison and drunk, then fed on bitter smoke and vengeance and a williness to do violence that had never been known before. In other words, The Gilded Wolves is definitely less lethal—but it’s spectacular in its own cruel cleverness and beauteous, dark, and enthralling in its own unique way.
The Gilded Wolves is a magical take on an ever-compelling theme, with just enough riddles and conundrums to entertain the history and science geeks but not so much to turn off the fantasy naysayers. And best of all, it’s inclusive, diverse, feminist, and wonderfully queer. I found myself filled to the brim with gratitude coiling into every moment of admiration for Chokshi’s craft: gratitude for agency, nuance, complexity, inclusiveness, representation, mingled with awe at the way she draws on a wealth of meticulously detailed research to flesh out the characters’ surroundings, and never falters in the balance between the necessity of telling a story, and the indulgence of making it a pretty story by imbuing it with the lush, descriptive language for which Chokshi has become known.
I could also write gushing praise about the deep undercurrents that make this book transcends a mere story about cool magic and perilous quests into something so much more—about the straightforward discussions of slavery, exploitation, colonialism and colorism, about how fascinating is the book's twining of religion, capital and enchantment, about the depth, loneliness and longing of the characters: their longing to be called what they want to be called instead of simply falling into what they were given at birth, about how Séverin’s, Enrique’s and Hypnos’ biraciality is the book's warm, glowing heart, about their weariness of grasping at smoke and trying to connect glimpses of their history together, of wanting to belong to both sides of their heritage and being denied one (or both) of them. About how effortlessly interlaced all of the aforementioned is with the presence of magic.
“What no one tells you is that even when you decide which world you will live in, the world may not always see you as you would wish. Sometimes it demands that you be so outrageous as to transcend your very skin. You can change your name. Your eye color. Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”
Everything in this book delighted me, from the characters’ endearing wit and multidimensionality to the plot that manages to be twisty and thorny without being unduly complex or overpowering—yes, sometimes the tension of the story gets inevitably lost, but I love how Chokshi cleverly replaces it with the slow unfurling of all the weasley half-truths and lies that are propping up the shambles of the characters’ lives—to the supporting interlopers, and antagonists who are textured enough to feel real in the moment, and especially to the way this book hews to all my favorite romantic tropes: the slow burn enemies-to-they’re-actually-not-that-bad-to-friends-to-are-we-lovers-now romance (sprinkled with intense polyamorous vibes), and while we’ve all heard of one-sided unrequited love, this book raises you “two-sided unwanted love” where both sides are deeply in love with the other but both sides are disappointed in themselves and are like, “really?? them?? really?” I loved it.
“Am I pretty?” asked Enrique, plucking at his fake beard and patting his hands over his jowls, wrinkles and age spots. “Be honest.”
“‘Pretty’ is a stretch. Let’s call you ‘striking.’ Or ‘impossible to look away from’.”
“Oooh. Like the sun?”
“I was thinking more along the lines of a train wreck.”
The ending abruptly throws the veracity of most of the earlier narration into doubt, which was kind of dislocating but in a thrilling sort of way. I finished this book with the feeling of having raced through a labyrinth and found only dead ends—a labyrinth with no solution. The Gilded Wolves is definitely setting up interesting hooks for future installments and I'm genuinely excited to see where and how the story unfolds!
If you've never yet read a book by Roshani Chokshi, this would be a great place to start.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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