THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi

November 14, 2019

THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi

"The heart will break, but broken live on."
- Lord Byron

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

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.

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I finished this book in a day because that's how unputdownable it ended up being!! It was like Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, and Ocean's Eleven all rolled into one. There were heists or 'acquisitions', death-defying stunts, and their very lives hung in the balance. What's a little danger among friends? It's 1889 Paris, rife with sumptious food and clothing, rich in diverse arts and culture, and Chokshi doesn't shy away from showing us the brutal and ugly underbelly. The book is really wordy and much of what was said could have been said with less. The wordiness caused the story to feel both bulky and convoluted, making it hard to get into. However, once I got used to the word flow, I was hooked. And while I was entranced with the illusion and magic that was this story, I was most captivated by its characters.

There were two kinds of Forging affinities: mind and matter. Someone with a matter affinity could influence one of three material states: liquids, solids, or gasses. Both Tristan and Zofia had matter affinities; Zofia’s Forging affinity was for solid matter—mostly metals and crystals—and Tristan had an affinity for liquid matter. Specifically, the liquid present in plants.

Séverin - the leader of the ragtag group of thieves, he was half-Algerian and half-French, and his legacy was wrongly taken from him. His every motivation is to protect his friends and to restore the House of Vanth. He's addicted to cloves, he's mostly a serious fellow, and as an outcast from the very society he grew up in, he's made a successful life for himself on the fringes.
Tristan - Séverin's brother in every way but blood. He's fully French but the Order has taken away his last name so he goes by Séverin's. He has the plant forging affinity and has an intense fondness for his spider, Goliath. He only wants to live a life for his creations and remain by his brother's side.
Enrique - the half-Filipino and half-Spanish historian who has never felt really accepted in his culture because his face isn't 'Asian' enough. He's religiously devout and he's bisexual (or maybe pansexual?). He searches for acceptance and clings to the support of his team.
Zofia - she's Jewish and although she's incredibly awkward and detached, she's felt the anti-semitism on the rise. She's much more comfortable with numbers than people and isn't aware of social cues. She's adorably distant and wants to secure a future for both her sister and herself. Despite being expelled from school, she's quite adept at forging.
Laila - the Indian girl who left home to find the book that will help her extend her life. Her story is very complicated and miraculous. She was also my least favorite character. She didn't really do anything wrong per se, but I didn't like how she was constantly up in everyone's business without giving an inch. I also found her to be insensitive towards Séverin's feelings in the end. As compassionate and understanding as she seemed throughout this story, that all disappeared when he needed it from her the most. Instead, he was left dealing with her selfish wants and needs.
Hypnos - the bisexual (or pansexual) patriarch of the House of Nyx. He was half-Black and half-French. In his words, he was the descendant of Haitian slaves and the son of a French aristocrat. He happens to love all the things the Order signifies and what membership means for his life... except for the loneliness. He comes to see the group as his friends and proves to be a loyal and accommodating member.

There was a lot happening and I'll save that information for when you pick up this book and READ it!! I'll just say that it was full of beautiful imagery and painful truths. I shipped Hypnos and Enrique from the jump even though I think there's a little sumthin sumthin between E and Zofia. I still want Laila to kick rocks and my heart aches for Séverin. If you enjoy mystery and suspense and the idea of a secret society and all that it entails, then I urge you to get your copy of The Gilded Wolves today! I'm off to read The Silvered Serpents and dive back in!!

About Roshani Chokshi
Roshani Chokshi is the author of commercial and critically acclaimed books for middle grade and young adult readers that transport audiences to fantastical worlds heavily inspired by world mythology and folklore. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and has frequently appeared on Best of The Year lists from Barnes and Noble, Buzzfeed and more. Her New York Times bestselling series includes The Star-Touched Queen duology, The Gilded Wolves, and Aru Shah and The End of Time, which was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures.

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