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The Gilded Ones

(Deathless #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,056 ratings  ·  500 reviews
The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from eve
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2021 by Delacorte Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Are we girls or are we demons?"

Reading is a struggle when you pick up a highly anticipated book, your expectations have reached Mt Everest levels, and you have to hold your breath until the very last page, hoping it won't disappoint. But the feeling when it actually smashes the ceiling? Priceless.

As most love stories, this one started with a cover reveal. And I knew I NEEDED this book in my life. Usborne was kind enough to send me a review copy and I swear, my eyes have seldom beheld something
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
June FairyLoot! We got two books and this one has beautiful sprayed edges to go with the beautiful over! Click link under the pic for the goodies!


4.5 Stars!

Damn! I found a gem!

When I first started the book I was like oh no, not another same ole thing book. THEN! I was like what in the hell is this girl. Wait... what the hell are these bastards doing to this girl!! We have a touch of grimdark in the ya book. What?!

The magic is awesome, the creatures are
Jul 04, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
That Cover? Stunning! (Yeah, maybe not that font but other than that? Gorgeous.)

February 9th 2021!!

sad puppy
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

High key obsessed with the cover. Low key disappointed with what was inside it. The first 100 or so pages had me thinking that this was going to be a four or five star book and then it loses steam. I think that part of that is because the opening made it seem like this was going to be sort of a YA Handmaid's Tale sort of tale, about subversion within the patriarchy, and while this is partially that, it becomes more of a journey/military-
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, netgalley
Wow, this was incredible. If the pub date hadn’t been pushed back a year, it would have easily been one of my top YA fantasies in 2020. But maybe it’ll end up being a good thing, having The Gilded Ones debut in 2021. There will be time to build excitement and get the word out on this brilliant start to a series. That’s going to be the biggest drawback to this book, waiting for it to officially come out next February. Maybe Namina Forna will have the next book in the Deathless series ready by the ...more
Ashley Nuckles
This was sooooooo good! Love love loved!!
Elle (ellexamines)
West-African fantasy with a blurb that seems to suggest subversion of eugenics and girl badasses. aka my BRAND.
Nov 04, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
That's A Cover ...more
Dannii Elle
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first instalment in the Deathless series.

Deka has spent the first sixteen years of her life attempting to master the docility and obedience expected from a pure girl and can only hope it will be enough - enough to allow her to pass the purity ceremony, enough to allow her blood to run the expected red instead of the cursed gold of impure girls, and enough to save her father from his certain death if she were to be found wanting in any way. The ceremony arrives but Deka never makes it
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a bloody, violent, harrowing, brilliant book. It was a really anticipated release in 2020, the year that all my anticipated releases disappointed me, and it felt so, so good to finally break the cycle with the beautifully written feminist fantasy.

While this is a fantasy story with some romance, this manages to not feel like any YA fantasy I have ever read, and does not focus on the romance while still being a great romance. The bigger focus is on Deka bonding with her sister warrio
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

The Gilded Ones is an ambitious YA debut that verges on dark fantasy as it takes on war, violence, trauma and xenophobia from within a deeply patriarchal, oppressively religious society. This is a book I've been anticipating for a very long time and while it wasn't perfect, it was very, very good.

Deka is awaiting a ritual ceremony that will determine whether her blood is pure. If it runs red, she will become a full-fledged woman and begin covering her face. If it runs gol
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If The Gilded Ones caught your eye because it had a beautiful cover, rest assured that the outside is just as good as the inside. Get ready to read your new favorite YA dystopian horror fantasy series.

YA fantasy these days is a dime a dozen, and after awhile, you start to see certain trends that can feel like clone stamps- even when the story is inspired from non western cultures or tries something different. The Gilded Ones is a case study on how a story can use tropes effectively without down
yes, yes, yeeeeees give me more oh my god.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Graphic murder (on page), sexual assault (off page), racism, xenophobia

Deka is a young woman coming of age in Otera, a kingdom that values the purity of its women. Pure women bleed red, and young women are forbidden to bleed from fifteen until they are proven by the Ritual of Purity. When Deka bleeds gold—the color of demons—she is given a choice: die over and over at the hands of greedy, frightened men who want the cursed gold of her blood, or join the Emperor's new army of wom
Just coming here to add: look at this amazing cover!!!!

Listen, this is honestly one of the best fantasies I have read! From the brilliant world building of a society that kills women who they deem as "demons," and protects the virtue of those who they consider "pure," to the brilliant cast of female characters who are all wonderfully diverse and deeply relatable. None more so than Deka, a protagonist who it's almost impossible to not love and want to protect. 2020 cannot come fast enough and
The Artisan Geek
Look at that cover though! Hot damn!!

You had me at Ancient West-African inspired!

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Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, arc
The author begins the book with a lovely author's note that states that the purpose of this book was to examine the patriarchy and who does and doesn’t thrive under it, and also how it can hurt so many people. Having now read the book, I can say that she definitely succeeded, and I am impressed at how she answered while still making this an incredibly fun and exciting book. This is definitely a dark and violent story and some of the ways that the deaths were described surprised me for a young ad ...more
✩ Yaz ✩
4 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

”The way I see it, we all have a choice right now. Are we girls, or are we demons? Are we going to die, or are we going to survive?”

The Gilded Ones is an impressive debut of a YA fantasy book that sends an empowering message not only to girls and women but basically to everyone who loves to experience empowerment.

I delved into this with the expectation that it will likely follow the typical YA pattern that most debuts follow these days; but it was a pleasant surprise to find that thi
Adalyn Grace
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Official blurb: “Everyone needs to read this book. Brilliantly bold and unapologetically feminist,The Gilded Ones commands your attention from the first page, and holds it tight until the end. I read it in one sitting, and couldn’t put it down.” 

But also this is like a total mashup of YA fantasy meets anime action (it has some elements that reminded me of Attack on Titan), and I'm super into it!
Mar 03, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-releases
January 12, 2021: Started buddy reading with the best, Gargee!

October 25, 2020: AHH, I can read this early!!!! Received a digital copy via Netgalley.

March 3, 2020: "West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series" sounds splendid especially since this is an #ownvoices. Comparable to Black Panther so of course, I'm interested.
Celia McMahon
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Huge thanks to NetGalley, and the Delacorte for the chance to review this title.

At the start, this book goes the way of many popular YA books-a girl enters some sort of ceremony to adulthood and discovers she is not who she thinks she is. Boy howdy, this book took a brutal and unique turn. Enter the deathshrieks. Enter golden blood and gilded death and an army of girls. THE GILDED ONES does not let you take a breath. it assaults you in the face with fascinating writing and unbelievably story-tel
Are we Girls or Are we Demons?

In Namina Forna’s author’s note she said “At the heart, the book is an examination of patriarchy. How it does it form? What supports it? How do women survive under it? And what abut men, or people who don’t fall into the binary? Who thrives and who doesn’t?” After finishing this magical novel, I can say without a doubt the Author did an amazing job of answering all these questions...and more.

In The Gilded Ones we meet Deka, who is from the snowy mountains of
"They might need us now because we’re valuable, might pretend to accept us, to reward us—but never forget what they did to us first. If they did it once, Deka, they’ll surely do it again, no matter the flowery promises they give."

This was such a beautiful book, inside and out. Namina Forna has created an intriguing world with a detailed magic system, an intricate history, and amazing characters that are simply mind blowing and unforgettable.

Deka of Irfut has my heart forever and it's hers to do
“She says we’re the descendants of the Gilded Ones.”

“The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna is the coming of age fantasy that I never knew I needed. I am in awe that this is a debut. The author begins the book with a letter to the reader. In this letter, she speaks of her life in Sierra Leone and how patriarchal it is. How women are seen as less than men. She then goes on to say that she attended Spelman, an all-female, historically black college. She explains that the goal of “The Gilded Ones” was
Pj Switzer
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to ready an advanced copy of "Deathless" and it is fantastic. The world building is extraordinary. The characters are engaging and powerful. And the story kept me turning pages compulsively.

I loved this book and I think it's one that will get readers thinking about the most important issues of of our age.
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Nov 07, 2019 marked it as to-read
Review coming soon
Rameela (Star)
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Initial Thoughts: Honestly going in without a synopsis was the best decision I ever made because that made this whole experience so much better like I truly had no idea what to expect and it was glorious. This was such an interesting and unique story. I did get a tiny bit lost near the end when the story started to wrap up but I think that might be because I finished this at like 2 AM whoops

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Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves building fantastical worlds and telling stories with fierce female leads.

Other books in the series

Deathless (3 books)
  • Untitled (Deathless, #2)
  • Untitled (Deathless #3)

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