What: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Who: Wednesday Books
When: January 8th 2019
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Pan Macmillan Australia for review.
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.
Roshani Chokshi is one of my favourite authors. I absolutely loved both The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. Ever since the announcement for The Gilded Wolves I’d been waiting excitedly for the day to come when I could finally start reading it. I certainly thought I would love it as much as her two previous YA novels, but the fact of it is… I didn’t. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried to persuade myself to love a book before, but I really tried to persuade myself to fall in love with The Gilded Wolves the entire time I was reading it. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it or that I was actively disliking it. I just wasn’t falling in love like I thought I would, like I had with The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.
I think the main reason why I didn’t fall in love with The Gilded Wolves was because I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters or the story. I certainly liked all of the characters – Séverin, our Algerian-French boy who is all about stealing back what’s his and denying his feelings for a certain beautiful girl; Laila, our Indian girl who takes care of everyone and bakes and is denying her feelings for a certain boy; Enrique, our fave bisexual Spanish-Filipino historian who loves desserts; and Zofia, our Jewish autistic genius who hates feelings but also feels a lot. And the two main side characters – Tristan, who is sixteen and just a tiny boy, and Hypnos, who is our disaster bi and definitely needed to be a POV character in my opinion.
There was so much to love about all of these characters and I did love aspects of them, but I just also wanted a bit more. Hardly any of their backgrounds were revealed, and that resulted in a loss of connection with me. I wanted to know more about who they were, where they came from, and how they ended up being this found family that would do anything for each other. I love me a found family but I actually need the finding part for it to really hit home.
As for the story… if I’m being frank it was confusing. I had no idea that The Gilded Wolves was historical fantasy. I honestly thought it was plain historical, and so when there was loads of magic and futuristic technology my brain was like the hell??? And I never quite got over that. Also, the whole premise of the novel with these magical religious artefacts but also rings and Houses and God… I was Confused. I kind of just went along with it, hoping for it to be revealed in a way that made whole and complete sense to me but that never quite happened. All I could really grasp was that the Tower of Babel (which I know literally nothing about) was real, and bits broke off all around the world. To protect these bits (from what, not quite sure) Houses were created (by who??) and all these Houses have rings. If you put the rings together then the fragment “wakes up”. Why have rings in the first place then?? Also, there’s this magic called Forging, which I didn’t really understand except that people who can Forge can make things to do weird shit that they don’t/can’t normally do.
If the plot/premise/magic system of The Gilded Wolves had been explained a little more, I think I would have been more on board with everything. But the fact that there were video recorders in 1889 just messed with my head too much, especially since there was no explanation for how there was a video recorder in 1889.
Even though I wanted more from The Gilded Wolves both in terms of world building and character development, I still did end up enjoying it. And I definitely want to read the next book in the trilogy, especially after that shock reveal at the end of the book. Even though I went in with high hopes that were not quite met, I still love Chokshi as an author and writer, and she remains an auto-read and auto-buy for me.
© 2019, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning reference to slavery, racism, colourism, child abuse, use of ableist language, murder of friend, depictions of blood and gore, reference to death of parents, colonisation themes, cultural appropriation, use of n-slur
reference to slavery, racism, colourism, child abuse, use of ableist language, murder of friend, depictions of blood and gore, reference to death of parents, colonisation themes, cultural appropriation, use of n-slur