- my rating: 5 stars
- published by: Wednesday Books
- genres: historical fiction, historical fantasy, young adult
- content warnings: colonialism, racism, blood/gore, torture scene, abandonment, child abuse, anxiety, mentions of a stillbirth and suicide.
- Read this if you liked: Six of Crows, The Diviners, Timekeeper
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.
“Wolves were everywhere. In politics, on thrones, in beds. They cut their teeth on history and grew fat on war.”
Friends, I can easily say this book is going to be one of my favourite of 2019 already. It is one of my favourite books of all time already. I honestly cannot accurately describe how much I loved this book! But also I just want to scream about it for ten thousand years!
The Gilded Wolves is a high energy romp through a intricately wrought Parisian historical-fantasy setting. The magic system and world is so fresh, and I haven’t read anything much like it. The world has this perfect blend of history, magic and technology which I loved. Think something like the world in Timekeeper or maybe The Diviners. Historical fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and this book absolutely reminded me why – it is SO fun to have something magical set in a historic time period – and 1889 Paris is one I’ve never read from before.
The major highlight of The Gilded Wolves was, for me, the characters. We follow a six person cast, who immediately won me over with their charm, hilarity, and well developed backstories. To me, every voice here felt unique, and every perspective added something new and meaningful to the story. This is heavy on the found family trope, one I love, and features many established relationships which I am also a big fan of. I also ADORED the romances in this, especially the Laila and Severin romance. It was PERFECT, with so much angst without being melodramatic. I adored their interactions and their dynamic so much.
The diversity of the main cast is also excellent. There is an Indian main character (Laila), a Spanish-Filipino character who is mlm (Enrique), a Jewish-Polish character who is coded as autistic (Zofia), and a Haitian mlm character (Hypnos). All these characters have a major role and POV (minus Hypnos, who has a large presence but only one POV chapter)
The exploration of thematic issues was also excellent here. Chokshi explores the effects of colonialism, especially in regards to personal and cultural identity. I appreciated how Chokshi blended history and fiction here in regards to the themes, and the nuance that these issues brought to the book overall.
He thought of the stories he'd heard growing up about the underworld. The tale of Orpheus, who looked behind him and lost everything. He wouldn't be that. He would descend and ascend, and lose nothing but a handful of time.
There were definitely some elements I don’t think were nailed as perfectly – for me the worldbuilding was a little muddled at time, and the magic system didn’t always make sense to me. But overall I loved this book and loved reading it so much I don’t care. I mostly rate books based on enjoyment and sometimes you enjoy a book so much you can ignore it’s little faults. That is how I felt about The Gilded Wolves. It made me fall so in love with the characters, and I had such a fun fun time reading it I just honestly don’t care. What I also love about this book is I KNOW I could reread it (and soon!), and books I know I can enjoy more than once always are the ones I love most.
The Gilded Wolves is such a fun book! The cast is adorable, and the ending has set up book two in such a huge way, I can barely wait. This book is solid throughout, action packed, and doesn’t have a single dull moment. The character relationships, angsty ship and dramatic last 100 pages really elevated this book for me and I cannot tell you how much I TRULY adored it. I think there is something for everyone here, and I really think if you enjoy books with angsty romance, found families, heist elements, or mythology based/historical fantasy elements and setting YOU NEED TO READ THIS.
until next time!