THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi
(This book was received for free in exchange for an honest review from St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books).
Roshani Chokshi’s THE GILDED WOLVES is a masterfully written historical fantasy set in pre-industry Paris. It follows the story of Severin and his brilliant accomplices as they search for an ancient artifact that holds the key to Severin’s true inheritance. THE GILDED WOLVES is a captivating, exciting, powerful, and thrilling adventure into a world rooted in real-life truths and stories, and this book is now on my “Best of 2019” list!
(Here’s a short summary from Amazon.com:
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.)
I need to stop gushing about this book long enough for me to write a decent review. Without giving away any spoilers, the plot of THE GILDED WOLVES was very unique. It’s based on the Tower of Babel (a story from the Bible), and Chokshi weaves her own backstories and mythology to go along with that starting point. The final result is an organization that has four different Houses that stemmed from when the Tower was destroyed by God. The world (ancient Paris) the story is set in is lavishly described, and the reader is never wanting for detail. There is the perfect amount of detail in TGW: not too much, not too little. TGW has one of the most intriguing plot lines and settings I’ve read about…it hasn’t been done before, and everything is fresh and exciting.
If you’re a fan of the camaraderie in Six of Crows and the heist action in Ocean’s Eleven, then THE GILDED WOLVES is for you. When I mention SoC, I do want to make it a point not to compare books to each other (or “book bash”), and I only mention other books/movies in my reviews if I think fans of another series or genre will enjoy the book I’m reviewing. If you did enjoy SoC, and want to read a story along those lines + frequent humor and banter, you’ll definitely enjoy TGW.
Now, *rubs hands,* let’s get to the incredible characters.
Folks, I’m here to introduce you to the new squad of 2019.
I instantly fell in love with the characters the most, and I love every one of them equally. Because the characters are so well-written with brilliant descriptions, I connected with each of them. Their individual personalities shine through, and aid in the reading process because you can easily tell which character is speaking. Here’s a quick character list I typed up:
Severin: the serious hotelier who may or may not like Laila…he hasn’t quite decided yet. He takes risks while making sure his crew (especially his brother-figure Tristan) is safe.
Laila: a beautiful dancer for a popular Parisian dance-house who may or may not like Severin…I think she’s decided. She’s also a baker and a fierce woman who stands up for herself.
Enrique: an amazingly funny historian (I laughed at almost all his lines) who is an optimist, but also has mixed feelings about his relationships.
Zofia: a fierce engineer who has OCD and struggles to fit in with everyone else…she’s such a powerful character, and really inspirational.
Hypnos: the dark, mysterious man who is eager to help the group, but carries a secret that he’s not sure if he wants known. (I don’t want to give away more for fear of spoiling him!)
All these characters are SO COOL, and it’s all I can do not to write this in all caps so I can shout their magnificence to you. Each chapter is written from a different characters’ perspective. Some books don’t pull this off too well…there’s always *that* character you don’t enjoy reading about. I am happy to say that each one of the characters in THE GILDED WOLVES was so entertaining, I was always excited for the next chapter because I couldn’t wait to read from another perspective. Honestly, I wish the book was longer; I enjoyed it that much.
While I enjoyed the world-building immensely, I did become confused at times either because of the many artifacts being discussed or keeping up with the fast-paced action scene at the end. Again, like with most of the books I read, it’s nothing a second read-through won’t fix.
I hope I did my best not to spoil anything, but still made you want to read THE GILDED WOLVES! This is such a good book, I wouldn’t ever want to spoil it because you have to read it for yourself. I haven’t ever read any of Roshani Chokshi’s books before, although that will change soon, because after reading this I have to see what other books she’s written. It’s not often I express how genuinely well-written a novel is, especially a YA novel. It seemed like there was the perfect amount of everything in THE GILDED WOLVES; from descriptions, character development, plot twists, setting, and villains! Roshani Chokshi has written a masterpiece that future YA readers will place at the top of the genre’s best.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fantasy, magic, and roguish characters you won’t help but fall in love with.
THE GILDED WOLVES receives 5 stars out of 5.
(You can purchase THE GILDED WOLVES from my Amazon affiliate link below. I make a small commission from your purchase, and every little bit helps!)