Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 609
enthralling YA historical fantasy
(Updated: October 18, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
THE GILDED WOLVES is a fantastic YA fantasy. Although given a year in the 1800s and a historical setting, the world is completely different and did not feel like a historical fiction to me (I'm not always a historical fiction fan so this was preferred). I would definitely label this as a fantasy vs. historical in terms of genre. Anyway, I absolutely loved it. We follow a group of young people who are led by Severin, the heir of House Vanth. Although he is the financial heir, he has been unable to claim his birthright (embodied by the House ring)- he believes that the results were falsified because of the color of his skin. This birthright would have placed him as one of the leading houses of the Order of Babel.

"Half of winning, my dear wallet, is simply looking victorious."

The Order of Babel safeguards the location of the Babel Fragments, which were scattered throughout the world after the failure of the Tower of Babel. These led to certain individuals developing powers in a certain skill, which is called Forging. Severin has assembled such a group of individuals with these gifts who are bound by their contracts/promises (in a magical type of way) and by the fact that they have become a family. They work together to steal specific artifacts which they believe will further their causes- to seek hidden treasures.

"Is it our shame that we're hiding or our delusions that we can hide at all?"

We follow the book from various points-of-view. Although Severin is probably the main figure, we also follow Laila quite a bit. She is known as L'Enigme, who performs for crowds and is rumored to have slept with many wealthy and influential people. She came from India in search of a specific book and has a long scar down her back which represents her biggest secrets. There are also Enrique and Zofia, who work on Forging specific items with a host of skills. Enrique is personable and has a big personality, while Zofia must decode human interactions and act according to what she has learned (I suspect she is on the autistic spectrum). Zofia is mathematical and loves to use explosives/fire. The last of the group is Tristan who adores his spiders and spends a lot of time in his greenhouses, forging. He grew up with Severin and they are essentially brothers (though not through blood). We get glimpses of the horrors of their upbringing with their foster fathers labeled according to which of the 7 deadly sins they most embodied.

"I think the greatest power is belief, for what is a god without it?"

The group is soon joined by Hypnos, the young heir of House Nyx and also a POC, who strikes a bargain to restore Severin's birthright/ring in exchange for his group's help to locate and obtain an artifact. Hypnos was delightful with many jokes and much hopefulness (for instance when he asks Zofia if they are/can be friends, she asks what it would entail and he replies "Well, on Wednesdays, we sacrifice a cat to Satan."). I absolutely loved his addition to this lovely group of people. As they begin this quest, they find they have stumbled upon something bigger and more dangerous than they could have imagined. And what a journey it is- magic, villains, and traps at every turn!

"Lust is safer than love, but both can ruin you."

This book absolutely captured me from the beginning, and I loved every second of it. The characters were amazing and so diverse, with different ethnicities and sexual orientations. They are all completely endeared to my heart, as Chokshi made us care about all of them (which seems hard to do with so many but I adore them all). There was also a touch of romance between a few of the characters, and it just felt like icing on the cake. I was completely enamored of this world, the writing, and the cast, and I absolutely need the next book in this series stat! While it wasn't a complete cliffhanger (the main part of this book was wrapped up), the overall story continues into the next book, so you will be left wanting the next. Lovers of YA fantasy will not be disappointed- this is an amazing new series, and I am absolutely gushing over how much I loved it!
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