The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Friends if you are looking for a character-driven book with a truly diverse cast of characters, I highly recommend The Gilded Wolves! While the world-building is a little rough to get into, the characters more than made up for it for me and I loved this book.

About the Book

Publisher: Wednesday Books  |  Release Date: January 15, 2019  |  Pages: 388
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

The Gilded Wolves coverSet in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

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.

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My Review

I am a sucker for historical fantasy, and The Gilded Wolves delivers an action-packed story with a diverse cast of characters that I treasured with every ounce of my being. A secret society that pulls the strings of society (Illuminati?!)? Hunting for artifacts? Magic and technological invention when the world was on the cusp of Industrialism? Heck. Yes. If you are in the mood for an adventure with a precious found family, this book might be for you!

“Everywhere he looked, he was surrounded by gilded wolves. And for whatever reason, it made him feel perfectly at home. Wolves were everywhere. In politics, on thrones, in beds. They cut their teeth on history and grew fat on war. Not that Séverin was complaining. It was just that, like other wolves, he wanted his share.”

It’s Paris, 1889. The world is at the brink of the Industrial Revolution, but there is another kind of technology that goes back way further. “The art of Forging is as old as civilization itself,” and is the magic system of the book. Those born with the ability will have it manifest it by their 13th birthday and can either influence the mind or matter.

“To those blessed with a Forging affinity, it is an inheritance of divinity […T]o Forge is not only to enhance a creation, but to reshape it.”

The former is heavily regulated by the Order of Babel, but “all Forging is bound by three conditions: the strength of the artisan’s will, the clarity of the artistic goal, and the boundary of their chosen mediums’ elemental properties.” The Order’s taking of culturally significant artifacts and assimilating folk beliefs are a powerful and nuanced allusion to and discussion of colonialism.

Where this story truly shines is with its charactersThe Gilded Wolves is told in the perspectives of four main characters: Séverin, Laila, Enrique, and Zofia. The fifth part of their crew is Tristan, and they work together to help Séverin get what is needed to claim his true inheritance. While they each are looking for something themselves, they never expected to form a family of their own and each of them expresses anxiety at what the future holds when their goals are achieved.

“It’ll be ‘like dreaming’ you said. As ‘easy as sleep!'”
“Nightmares are part of sleeping.”
“Is that a joke?”

Honestly, the banter between the characters is absolute perfection and everything that I want in my friend groups. Can I enlist myself into their friend group? I will help feed Goliath. *shudders*

✨ Séverin is a French-Algerian treasure hunter and hotelier with a haunted past. He was robbed of his true inheritance 10 years earlier and is determined to claim it.
✨ Enrique is a Spanish-Filipino historian that has a mind tuned for riddles and history. He longs to be part of the Ilustrados’ inner circle and recognized for his brilliance rather than ignored because of his mixed heritage.
✨ Laila is an Indian girl that has the ability to read the histories of unforged objects, loves to bake, and is honestly mom of the group. She cares so much for everyone, taking the time to do little things that matter to each of her comrades.
✨ Zofia is a Jewish Polish Forger with a propensity for fire. She adores math and solving puzzles, and has social anxiety. Zofia loves perfectly round cookies, counting, and of course fire.
✨ Tristan is the little brother in all but blood to Séverin and a botanical genius with a giant pet spider named Goliath.
✨ Hypnos is honestly kind of Anne Hathaway’s character from Ocean’s 8 and really seems to want friends. Which is adorable.

Power and race play an important role for the diverse characters of this book and their positions within the world they live in.

“Of course it would be easy to spy when you hardly look like one of us. Marcelo spoke with no malice. In a way, that was worse.”

Each of the main characters has something about them that outwardly alienates themselves from their cultural identity, whether it be their religion or their mixed heritage. These assumptions and misunderstandings are all brought to the fore when fake identities are provided which directly challenge their identities: a Filipino is given a Chinese identity, a classically trained Bharatnatyam dancer is told she will be a nautch dancer. This blatant insensitivity is addressed and called for what it is – offensive – but sadly brushed aside as they realize that playing into the prejudices of others will allow them to blend in and go unnoticed, thus continuing the system of oppression. I really appreciated this quiet and nuanced discussion on racism and power dynamics.

Séverin […] saw how each invitation flew in the face of each person’s self-image. But he also understood how Hypnos had seen the scenario, how he had worked to ensure that each person could access the Chateau de la Lune without incident. ‘When you are who they expect you to be, they never look too closely. If you’re furious, let it be fuel.'”

I loved the world that Chokshi crafted, drawing from history and mythology from multiple cultures around the world. The reader is thrown right into the world and action. The one thing that didn’t quite work for me was the execution of the world-building. It was kind of info-dumpy in parts, over time I became overwhelmed and confused by all of the information and backstories provided. For me there was SO MUCH going on to keep track of that it was a little difficult to keep it all straight. Where I think I struggled the most was that some of the events were not clear to me while reading: some things were left unresolved/skipped over and I assumed something happened that made future plot points not make sense, only to find out much later that the thing I thought happened didn’t. Since I read an early ARC, it is possible some of this confusion will be edited for the final copy. What’s weird was I was still so intrigued, so interested and hungry for more. I wanted to wade through the confusion to have everything slide into place like the puzzles our team was solving. If I am being honest, usually I am a lot more bothered by confusing world-building, but I adored the characters and the ideas so much that I was a lot more forgiving.

Friends if you are looking for a character-driven book with a truly diverse cast of characters, I highly recommend The Gilded Wolves! The puzzles, the adventure, the heists, the banter between the characters all made this an incredibly enjoyable read for me. The excellent diversity and representation in this book, along with its subtle discussions on racial prejudice, colonialism, and assimilation, also make this an important read.

REPRESENTATION: racially diverse characters (Filipino, Indian, Haitian), Jewish rep, bisexuality, anxiety
OWN-VOICES REVIEWS: Merline @ Merline Reads (Haitian), Rain @ Bookdragonism (Filipino), Justine @ Bookish Wisps (Filipino)
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: racism (kind of challenged), inferred abuse, death of a loved one

Things I hope are explained in the next book:

– How the overall Order of Babel functions & different country’s Houses interact with one another
– How Forging works. It doesn’t appear to be inherited but is something a person is born with. What does being born with the affinity mean, and what training/indoctrination do they undertake?
– More about Fallen House

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication. Buddy read with Destiny & Scrill! ♥

Pre-order Incentive: Pre-order your copy of The Gilded Wolves and submit your receipt by January 6, 2019 to get a pack of character tarot cards designed by Yoshi Yoshitani!


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

55 Comments

  1. beccaleighanne

    December 13, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    okay, so i was gonna add this to my tbr after reading this review BUT THAT PRE-ORDER INCENTIVE? i’m a sucker for tarot cards brb while i pre-order

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:21 AM

      I KNOW!!!!! I pre-ordered it so fast because I love the incentive so much and the character drawings that Roshani unveiled on Twitter are so good! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

  2. fablehunter

    December 13, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    Great review, it was good to hear your perspective on the book. It’s been on my TBR for a while now because it sounded really intriguing but now I’m dying to get my hands on it because it sounds amazing.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:22 AM

      Thank you so much, Julia, and I really hope you enjoy the book as much as I did! The characters are honestly so precious and I love them to the moon and back!

  3. Loretta @ The Laughing Listener

    December 13, 2018 at 10:26 AM

    I’ve been kicking around maybe pre-ordering this for the free stuff (#shameless 😂) but this sounds freaking amazing???? I think I have to now!! I’m already excited about this found family and hilarious banter and I haven’t even read it yet! SIGN ME UP.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:49 AM

      ORDER IT NOOOOWWW AND GET THE PRETTY SWAGGG! The book and characters are so precious.

  4. Sahi

    December 13, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Such a wonderful review… I’m quite looking forward to this one 😊😊

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:49 AM

      Thank you so much, Sahi! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

  5. BiblioNyan

    December 13, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    You are seriously one of my favourite book reviewers. Your reviews are so wonderfully written and informative without being dull or too informative. I love them so much. They are a danger to my TBR, however, which is never a bad thing, haha. ♥

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:51 AM

      😭😭😭 Oh my gosh thank you so much, that is SUCH AN AMAZING COMPLIMENT and you made my day! Sorry for your TBR but honestly, you’ll probably enjoy the books so no regrets!

  6. Tammy

    December 13, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    I’m really excited to read this, I didn’t realize how much diversity it had, though, that’s awesome.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:52 AM

      I honestly was so impressed with all the diversity with the characters and it is so effortless; Roshani did a fantastic job! I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did.

  7. waytoofantasy

    December 13, 2018 at 12:32 PM

    Kyaaaaaaaa, I am so excited for this one and this is the first review I’ve read of it which makes me even more excited! I am a huge fan of her writing, her prose is excellent, and on top of that she’s great at making you care about her characters. So glad to see that is still the case with this new one.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 10:57 AM

      AHHHH! This book is honestly a treasure and was my first read of Roshani’s! Do you have a recommendation for what else I should read of hers? Because ya girl is in love with this writing

      1. waytoofantasy

        December 17, 2018 at 1:39 PM

        I really loved both The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Witches. The first felt a bit like the Cupid and Psyche tale in a way…the prose was lovely. The second is a sister story to that one and is delightful in it’s own way. A lot of character growth in that one.

          1. waytoofantasy

            December 18, 2018 at 9:19 AM

            You’re welcome!

  8. Nia @ novelishly

    December 13, 2018 at 10:11 PM

    I am so hyped for this book. I love the rep and I love Roshani. This review is making me wish that 2019 would hurry up <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 11:09 AM

      I honestly cannot wait for everyone to be able to read this one, it is such a lovely book with the most adorable found family!

  9. Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams

    December 14, 2018 at 12:02 AM

    Ahh this is such a great review, Kaleena! I’m starting this book today, and now I’m even more excited.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! ☺️✨

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:13 PM

      Thank you so much, Lily, and I hope you are enjoying the book as much as I did!

  10. Olivia-Savannah

    December 14, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    Yess!! Good characters is totally one of the things I love and I am so glad to hear about a diverse cast and the characters being developed so well too. I love historical fiction but I honestly don’t read much fantasy historical fiction so that is going to be something new for me. It’s a shame about the confusing world building though because that’s what I like second to characters… hopefully with edits that does get neatened up a bit :/ Great review x

    My recent post: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/12/sword-art-online-anime-review/

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:29 PM

      I don’t read a lot of historical fantasy but honestly? I kind of love it and want to read more of it! The worldbuilding is nice and so interesting, but you do get dumped right into the thick of it. The characters definitely make up for it though!

  11. December’s Blogsphere Highlights #1! (2018) | BiblioNyan

    December 14, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    […] Kaleena (another amazing blogger, especially for fans of speculative fiction) has written one of the best reviews I’ve read for Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves. If you want a well-written fantasy novel filled with diverse representation, please read this […]

  12. Adriana (@BooksOnHerMind)

    December 14, 2018 at 4:49 PM

    How have I never heard of this book yet. First of all, I love wolves. Second of all, I don’t know if it is set during the Industrial revolution, the many main characters, the adventure meets fantasy or what but this reminds me oddly of Final Fantasy Tactics which I love. I love the varying character personalities and skills. Really this does seem like a video game book so I’ll have to add it to my tbr.

    https://shesgotbooksonhermind.blogspot.com/

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:31 PM

      Oooh I am going to have to check out that game because these vibes are my favorite! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it!

  13. Kelly Brigid

    December 15, 2018 at 12:18 AM

    Wonderful review as always, Kaleena! I might have to pre order this one now … I blame you in full for driving me bankrupt. 😂 YOU RECOMMEND TOO MANY GOOD BOOKS! Haha! The way the cultural identities come into play in the plot sounds so intriguing! I want to meet this unique set of characters so badly! 💕

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:32 PM

      I am so sorry but honestly, the pre-order incentive is so good and so is the book and I just want to see this book in so many hands so DO IT! I really do think that you will enjoy this book and will fall in love with this found family!

  14. Vera

    December 15, 2018 at 12:37 AM

    Your reviews are dangerous to my TBR list. I really want to read this book now, so long for my reading plans he he.😂👌
    Lovely review Kaleena, I enjoyed reading it. 💕

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:34 PM

      I want to apologize… but honestly, this book is AMAZING and I think everyone should read it!!! Thank you so much Vera, and I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did!

  15. Fanna

    December 16, 2018 at 3:30 AM

    Such a diverse cast and it’s so character-oriented 😀 I’m so excited to pick this up this week! Your review is so on-point and it really made me grateful I have an eARC or I would’ve had to wait till Jan to read it XD Amazing review, Kaleena! <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:38 PM

      Fanna, drop everything that you are doing and read that eARC now! And then gush to me your thoughts in Twitter DMs because I thrive on fangirling.

  16. Norrie

    December 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM

    Those cards look amazing!
    I really like the sound of this, mainly cuz of the dynamics between characters. Stories with historical settings are usually not something that i get excited about, but the character driven aspect sounds good nevertheless.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 17, 2018 at 12:41 PM

      I am really excited for the cards! I was already planning on getting a finished copy because I adored the book so much, but you bet that I pre-ordered asap. Too bad it’s US only though.

      Honestly the historical setting doesn’t really make much of the story! It’s set in Paris in the 1880s and there’s a couple of real-world events like the building of the Eiffel Tower, referenced but it honestly feels more like another world. And the characters are so precious.

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    December 23, 2018 at 9:31 AM

    […] The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy 📖 Full ARC Review […]

  18. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

    December 26, 2018 at 3:32 PM

    I love that you mention the role of identity in this book – the part you reference is one of my favorite pieces of the story because it’s written so well. And although I think the significance of identity was overshadowed by abrupt pacing and one perpetual romantic distraction in particular, I’m looking forward to seeing how Roshani Chokshi continues to incorporate social matters into the narrative.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 28, 2018 at 11:34 AM

      I think my favorite aspect of this book, other than the characters themselves, is definitely how Roshani discusses the role of identity through the characters. It was such a compelling and nuanced part of the book and I really appreciated it. I also wasn’t a big fan of the romance component but I am super excited to see what happens next with our characters!

  19. Christina Reid

    January 5, 2019 at 3:44 PM

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed this so much! I can forgive a lot if the characters are good so I loved this book, even if some of the world-building could have been clearer.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 10, 2019 at 10:04 AM

      I definitely agree with you, even though the worldbuilding was a little murky at times I loved this book because of the characters. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world so everyone can read it!

      1. Christina Reid

        January 10, 2019 at 12:59 PM

        Not long to go now…

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    January 8, 2019 at 10:37 AM

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  22. Rain

    January 24, 2019 at 6:37 AM

    This is one of the best TGW reviews I have ever read THANK YOU SO MUCH KAL. Everything you said was on point and I found myself nodding all the time. I really loooved reading this book although yes there were times when I was confused. Nevertheless, I want to read the sequel because I’m hoping that all explanations are going to be there.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 10:32 AM

      “This is one of the best TGW reviews I have ever read THANK YOU SO MUCH KAL.”

      Excuse me, come again?! WHAT. Aww thank you so much for the compliment and I am glad my review resonated with you! I need the sequel YESTERDAY!

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    January 31, 2019 at 10:53 PM

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    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM

      RAIN YOU MAKE ME CRY THANK YOU

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  25. Merline

    February 11, 2019 at 5:47 AM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INCLUDING MY REVIEW!!! I’m kind of sad that I missed the pre-order incentives. TGW wasn’t on my radar until after the incentive deadline.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 11, 2019 at 11:45 AM

      You’re so welcome, I wanted to include some OV reviews as well since this is such a diverse book that means a lot to a number of OV readers. Sorry you missed the deadline though! 🙁

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