Shealea's Reviews > The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
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LUSH, IMAGINATIVE FANTASY SET IN THE GLITTERING CITY OF PARIS:

Set in the 1800s, specifically in the glamorous yet highly secretive heart of Paris, The Gilded Wolves is anchored and shaped by its historical timeline. Its story takes place at the height of colonial power and the telltale beginnings of revolution. This, combined with an elaborate magic system that makes use of several religious and cultural influences, consequently seeps into the overall world-building. And the result? A wonderfully sophisticated urban fantasy with richness and nuance that totally blew me away.

DYNAMIC, ENDEARING, & DIVERSE CAST OF UNLIKELY HEROES:

The Gilded Wolves is one of the most effortlessly diverse books I’ve ever read, and I love Roshani Chokshi all the more for it. Despite being alternately told in the perspectives of four characters, I was easily able to follow the unfolding of story events, as well as to emotionally invest in each member of their five-but-later-on-six-person heist crew.

Enrique and Zofia are hands down my favorites but all of these six characters have a death grip on my heart, if I’m being honest. With dazzlingly eccentric personalities, distinctive voices, and personal motivations, I found them to be nicely fleshed out and well-written. I also really appreciated that they all had significant character arcs outside of their marginalized backgrounds. I just love them so much, okay.

SLIGHTLY UNDERWHELMING ANTAGONIST & AREAS OF CONFUSION:

I was a bit disappointed by the reveal of the antagonist. In the first part of the book, I expected a wholly different villain to take the stage – but the more I read, the clearer it became that the story was heading towards a more predictable direction. The story’s antagonist was underwhelming, and I couldn’t help but feel that his motivations were too shallow and clear cut, that is, black-and-white. I really would have liked a bit more moral grayness in navigating between good and evil.

GENEROUS DOSAGE OF LOVABLE RELATIONSHIPS, BANTER, & HUMOR:

As much as I love the characters individually, their interactions with each other had me smiling goofily, snort-laughing unattractively, and openly weeping. Seeing a bunch of diverse misfits with difficult pasts come together and find a sense of home and belongingness in each other was truly a moving experience that had me feeling all sorts of soft and vulnerable. Yes to more found families in YA fantasy!

The sizzling chemistry and profound understanding shared between Laila and Séverin is really something else, and I look forward to seeing where the sequel will take their relationship. However, on the other hand, I think the potential love triangle among three beloved characters held my attention and interest more tightly. To my most pleasant surprise, the love triangle introduced by Roshani Chokshi is so phenomenally executed that I am both frustratedly torn and strongly rooting for an eventual polyamorous romance.

ATMOSPHERIC STORYTELLING INTERLACED WITH STRONG THEMES OF COLONIALISM, POWER, & STRUGGLES WITH CULTURAL IDENTITY:

Aside from incredibly atmospheric storytelling, this YA urban fantasy offers much-needed nuances regarding colonialism, historical revisionism, cultural erasure, and the double-edged sword of being biracial. As a Filipino reader, most of these discourses really hit close to home, and I cannot thank the author enough times for writing something so important and needed. Moreover, the characters’ struggles with their cultural identities, particularly Enrique, were portrayed with utmost sensitivity and rawness. Evidently, The Gilded Wolves is a carefully constructed homage and beautifully written love letter to all marginalized readers.

With wonderfully combined fantastical and historical elements, a lovable cast of diverse characters, and impeccably gorgeous prose, The Gilded Wolves is a well-rounded heist story that shouldn’t be missed! This book is definitely a perfect read for fans of high-stakes adventures, character-driven plots, and found families.

* I received a digital ARC of The Gilded Wolves from Wednesday Books (via NetGalley) as part of my participation in their blog tour.

Content & trigger warnings:
(view spoiler)

5 stars
* Read the rest of this review in my natural habitat!
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Reading Progress

May 20, 2018 – Shelved
May 20, 2018 – Shelved as: possibly-going-to-read
January 19, 2019 – Started Reading
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: arc-review
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: asian-representation
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: authors-of-color
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: biases-and-personal-favorites
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: diverse-books
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: filipino-authors
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: filipino-representation
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: review-copy
January 21, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley
January 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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