*AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER*
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change--one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires...
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.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||6 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, Aru Shah and the End of Time, and The Gilded Wolves. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.
Read an Excerpt
One week earlier ...
Séverin glanced at the clock: two minutes left.
Around him, the masked members of the Order of Babel whipped out white fans, murmuring to themselves as they eagerly awaited the final auction bidding.
Séverin tipped back his head. On the frescoed ceiling, dead gods fixed the crowd with flat stares. He fought not to look at the walls, but failed. The symbols of the remaining two Houses of the French faction hemmed him on all sides. Crescent moons for House Nyx. Thorns for House Kore.
The other two symbols had been carefully lifted out of the design.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the Order, our spring auction is at its close," announced the auctioneer. "Thank you for bearing witness to this extraordinary exchange. As you know, the objects of this evening's auction have been rescued from far-flung locales like the deserts of North Africa and dazzling palaces of Indo-Chine. Once more, we give thanks and honor to the two Houses of France who agreed to host this spring's auction. House Nyx, we honor you. House Kore, we honor you."
Séverin raised his hands, but refused to clap. The long scar down his palm silvered beneath the chandelier light, a reminder of the inheritance he had been denied.
Séverin, last of the Montagnet-Alarie line and heir to House Vanth, whispered its name anyway. House Vanth, I honor you.
Ten years ago, the Order had declared the line of House Vanth dead.
The Order had lied.
While the auctioneer launched into a long-winded speech about the hallowed and burdensome duties of the Order, Séverin touched his stolen mask. It was a tangle of metal thorns and roses gilded with frost, Forged so the ice never melted and the roses never wilted. The mask belonged to the House Kore courier who, if Séverin's dosage had been correct, was currently drooling in a lavish suite at his hotel, L'Eden.
According to his intelligence, the object he had come here for would be on the auction block any moment now. He knew what would happen next. Light bidding would take place, but everyone suspected House Nyx had fixed the round to win the object. And though House Nyx would win, that artifact was going home with Séverin.
The corner of his lips tipped into a smile as he raised his fingers. At once, a glass from the champagne chandelier floating above him broke off and sailed into his hand. He lifted the flute to his lips, not sipping, but once more noting the ballroom's layout and exits just over the glass rim. Tiers of pearly macarons in the shape of a giant swan marked the east exit. There, the young heir of House Nyx, Hypnos, drained a champagne flute and motioned for another. Séverin had not spoken to Hypnos since they were young. As children, they had been something of playmates and rivals, both raised almost identically, both groomed to take their fathers' rings.
But that was a lifetime ago.
Séverin forced his gaze from Hypnos and looked instead to the lapis-blue columns guarding the south exit. At the west, four Sphinx authorities stood motionless in their suits and crocodile masks.
They were the reason no one could steal from the Order. The mask of a Sphinx could sniff out and follow any trace of an object that had been House-marked by a matriarch's or patriarch's ring.
But Séverin knew that all the artifacts came to the auction clean, and were only House-marked at the auction's conclusion when they were claimed. Which left a few precious moments between time of sale and time of claiming in which an object could be stolen. And no one, not even a Sphinx, would be able to trace where it had gone.
A vulnerable unmarked object was not, however, without its protections.
Séverin glanced at the north end, diagonally from him, toward the holding room — the place where all unmarked objects awaited their new owners. At the entrance crouched a gigantic quartz lion. Its crystalline tail whipped lazily against the marble floor.
A gong rang. Séverin looked to the podium where a light-skinned man had stepped onto the stage.
"Our final object is one we are most delighted to showcase. Salvaged from the Summer Palace of China in 1860, this compass was Forged sometime during the Han Dynasty. Its abilities include navigating the stars and detecting lies from truth," said the auctioneer. "It measures twelve by twelve centimeters, and weighs 1.2 kilograms."
Above the auctioneer's head, a hologram of the compass shimmered. It looked like a rectangular piece of metal, with a spherical indentation at its center. Chinese characters crimped the metal on all sides.
The list of the compass's abilities was impressive, but it was not the compass that intrigued him. It was the treasure map hidden inside. Out the corner of his eye, Séverin watched Hypnos clap his hands together eagerly.
"Bidding starts at five hundred thousand francs."
A man from the Italian faction raised his fan.
"Five hundred thousand to Monsieur Monserro. Do I see —"
Hypnos raised his hand.
"Six hundred thousand," said the auctioneer. "Six hundred thousand going once, twice —"
The members began to talk amongst themselves. There was no point trying in a fixed round.
"Sold!" said the auctioneer with forced cheer. "To House Nyx for six hundred thousand. Patriarch Hypnos, at the conclusion of the auction, please have your House courier and designated servant sent to the holding room for the customary eight-minute appraisal. The object will be waiting in the designated vessel where you may mark it with your ring."
Séverin waited a moment before excusing himself. He walked briskly along the edges of the atrium until he made it to the quartz lion. Behind the lion stretched a darkened hall lined with marble pillars. The quartz lion's eyes slid indifferently to him, and Séverin fought the urge to touch his stolen mask. Disguised as the House Kore courier, he was allowed to enter the holding room and touch a single object for exactly eight minutes. He hoped the stolen mask would be enough to get him past the lion, but if the lion asked to see his catalogue coin for verification — a Forged coin that held the location of every object in House Kore's possession — he'd be dead. He hadn't been able to find the dratted thing anywhere on the courier.
Séverin bowed before the quartz lion, then held still. The lion did nothing. Its unblinking gaze burned his face as moments ticked past. His breath started to feel sticky in his lungs. He hated how much he wanted this artifact. There were so many wants inside him that he doubted there was room for blood in his body.
Séverin didn't look up from the floor until he heard it — the scrape of stones rearranging. He let out his breath. His temples pulsed as the door to the holding room appeared. Without the lion's permission, the Forged door would have remained unseen.
All along the walls of the holding room, marble statues of gods and creatures from myth leaned out of recessed niches. Séverin walked straight to a marble figure of the snarling, bull-headed minotaur. Séverin raised his pocket knife to the statue's flared nostrils. Warm breath fogged the Forged blade. In one smooth line, Séverin dragged the blade's tip down the statue's face and body. It split open; the marble hissed and steamed as his historian stumbled out of it and fell against him. Enrique gasped, shaking himself.
"You hid me in a minotaur? Why couldn't Tristan make a hiding dimension in a handsome Greek god?"
"His affinity is for liquid matter. Stone is difficult for him," said Séverin, pocketing the knife. "So it was either the minotaur or an Etruscan vase decorated with bull testicles."
Enrique shuddered. "Honestly. Who looks at a vase covered in bull testicles and says, 'You. I must have you.'?"
"The bored, the rich, and the enigmatic."
Enrique sighed. "All my life aspirations."
The two of them turned to the circle of treasure, many of them Forged ancient relics looted from temples and palaces. Statues and strands of jewels, measuring devices and telescopes.
At the back of the room, an onyx bear representing House Nyx glowered at them, its jaws cracked wide. Beside it, an emerald eagle representing House Kore shook its wings. Animals representing the other Order factions all around the world stood at attention, including a brown bear carved of fire opal for Russia, a wolf sculpted of beryl for Italy, even an obsidian eagle for the German Empire.
Enrique dug inside his costume of an Order servant and pulled out a rectangular piece of metal identical to the compass House Nyx had won.
Séverin took the fake artifact.
"Still waiting on my thanks, you know," huffed Enrique. "It took me ages to research and assemble that."
"It would have taken less time if you didn't antagonize Zofia."
"It's inevitable. If I breathe, your engineer is prepared to launch warships."
"Then hold your breath."
"That should be easy enough," said Enrique, rolling his eyes. "I do it every time we acquire a new piece."
Séverin laughed. Acquiring was what he called his particular hobby. It sounded ... aristocratic. Wholesome, even. He had the Order to thank for his acquisition habit. After denying his claim as heir of House Vanth, they'd blackballed him from every auction house, so he could not legally purchase Forged antiquities. If they hadn't done that, perhaps he wouldn't have gotten so curious about what objects they were keeping him from in the first place. Some of those objects were, as it turned out, his family's possessions. After the Montagnet-Alarie line was declared dead, all the possessions of House Vanth had been sold. In the months after Séverin turned sixteen and liquidated his legal trust, he had reclaimed each and every one. After that, he'd offered his acquisition services to international museums and colonial guilds, any organization that wished to take back what the Order had first stolen.
If the rumors about the compass were right, it might allow him to blackmail the Order, and then he could acquire the only thing he still wanted: his House.
"You're doing it again," said Enrique.
"That whole nefarious-whilst-looking-into-the-distance thing. What are you hiding, Séverin?"
"You and your secrets."
"Secrets keep my hair lustrous," said Séverin, running his hand through his curls. "Shall we?"
Enrique nodded. "Room check."
He tossed a Forged sphere into the air where it hung, suspended. Light burst from the object, sliding down the walls and over the objects to scan them.
"No recording devices."
At Séverin's nod, they positioned themselves before the onyx bear of House Nyx. It stood on a raised dais, its jaws parted enough so the red velvet box holding the Chinese compass shone bright as an apple. The moment Séverin touched the box, he had less than eight minutes to return it. Or — his gaze went to the beast's shining teeth — the creature would take it back forcefully.
He removed the red box. At the same time, Enrique drew out a pair of scales. First, they weighed the box with the original compass, then marked the number before preparing to switch it with the decoy.
Enrique cursed. "Off by a hair. But it should work. The difference is hardly discernible by the scales."
Séverin's jaw clenched. It didn't matter if it was hardly discernible by the scales. It mattered if the difference was discernible to the onyx bear. But he'd come too far to back away now.
Séverin placed the box in the bear's mouth, pushing it in until his wrist disappeared. Onyx teeth scraped against his arm. The statue's throat was cool and dry, and entirely too still. His hand shook.
"Are you breathing?" whispered Enrique. "I'm definitely not."
"Not helping," growled Séverin.
Now he was up to his elbow. The bear was rigid. It didn't even blink.
Why hasn't it accepted the box?
A creaking sound lit up the silence. Séverin jerked his hand back. Too late. The bear's teeth lengthened in a blink, forming narrow little bars. Enrique took one look at Séverin's trapped hand, turned pale, and bit out a single word: "Shit."CHAPTER 2
Laila slipped into the hotel room of the House Kore courier.
Her dress, a discarded housekeeper uniform fished out of the dregs of storage, snagged on the doorframe. She grumbled, yanking it, only for a seam to unravel.
"Perfect," she muttered.
She turned to face the room. Like all the L'Eden guest rooms, the courier's suite was lavishly appointed and designed. The only piece that looked out of place was the unconscious courier, lying facedown in a pool of his saliva. Laila frowned.
"They could've at least left you in your bed, poor thing," she said, toeing him so he turned over onto his back.
For the next ten minutes, Laila redecorated. From the pockets of her housekeeper's dress, she threw women's earrings on the floor, draped torn stockings over lamp fixtures, mussed the bed, and poured champagne over the sheets. When she was done, she knelt beside the courier.
"A parting gift," she said. "Or apology. However you see fit."
She took out her official cabaret calling card. Then she lifted the man's thumb and pressed it to the paper. It shimmered iridescent, words blooming to life. The Palais des Rêves' calling cards were Forged to recognize a patron's thumbprint. Only the courier could read what it said, and only when he touched it. She slid the card into the breast pocket of his jacket, scanning the lettering before it melted into the cream paper:
Palais des Rêves
90 boulevard de Clichy
Tell them L'Énigme sent you ...
A party invitation sounded like a poor consolation prize for getting knocked unconscious, but this was different. The Palais des Rêves was Paris's most exclusive cabaret, and next week they were throwing a party in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. Invitations currently sold on the black market for the price of diamonds. But it wasn't just the cabaret that had people excited. In a few weeks' time, the city would host the 1889 Exposition Universelle, a gigantic world fair celebrating the powers of Europe and the inventions that would pave the way for the new century, which meant that L'Eden Hôtel was running at full capacity.
"I doubt you'll remember this, but do try and order the chocolate-covered strawberries at the Palais," she said to the courier. "They're utterly divine."
Laila checked the grandfather clock: half past eight. Séverin and Enrique weren't due back for at least an hour, but she couldn't stop checking the time. Hope flared painfully behind her ribs. She'd spent two years looking for a breakthrough in her search for the ancient book, and this treasure map could be the answer to every prayer. They'll be fine, she told herself. Acquisitions were hardly new to any of them. When Laila had first started working with Séverin, he was trying to earn back his family's possessions. In return, he helped in her search for an ancient book. The book had no title she knew of ... her only lead was that it belonged to the Order of Babel.
Going after a treasure map hidden inside a compass sounded rather tame in comparison to former trips. Laila still hadn't forgotten the time she ended up dangling over Nisyros Island's active volcano in pursuit of an ancient diadem. But this acquisition was different. If Enrique's research and Séverin's intelligence reports were correct, that one tiny compass could change the direction of their lives. Or, in Laila's case, let her keep this life.
Distracted, Laila smoothed her hands across her dress.
She should never touch anything when her thoughts were too frenzied. That single unguarded moment had allowed the dress's memories to knife into her thoughts: chrysanthemum petals clinging to the wet hem, brocade stretched over the carriage footstool, hands folded in prayer, and then —
Blood everywhere, the carriage overturned, bone snapping through the fabric —
Laila winced, snatching back her hand. But it was too late. The dress's memories caught her and held tight. Laila squeezed her eyes shut, pinching her skin as hard as she could. The sharp pain felt like a red flame in her thoughts, and her consciousness wrapped around that pain as if it would lead her out of the dark. When the memories faded, she opened her eyes. Laila pulled down her sleeve, her hands shaking.
For a moment, Laila crouched on the floor, her arms around her knees. Séverin had called her ability "invaluable" before she told him why she could read the objects around her. After that, he was too startled, or perhaps too horrified, to say anything. Out of the whole group, only Séverin knew her touch could draw out an object's secret history. Invaluable or not, this ability was not ... normal.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Gilded Wolves"
Copyright © 2018 Roshani Chokshi.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Also by Roshani Chokshi,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rating: 4.5 stars Please consider getting a copy of this amazing book if you enjoy: - clever puzzles - art history - Six of Crows level banter and friendship - All things French - Fancy parties that may end in death - Moving floors and treasure hunting a la National Treasure - Giant rolling balls of fire (see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for reference) - Romance that definitely wants to make you pass out - Exploding walking sticks - Lovable boys - Lovable tarantulas - An ending that makes you want to sue the author for not having the sequel immediately Even if none of those speak to you, I can guarantee that there's something for everybody in this gorgeous historical fantasy that is sure to be one of my favorites of the year!
The Gilded Wolves is a wonderful, powerful and imaginative story, teeming with representation for marginalized groups and with a superb cast of unforgettable characters. With lush descriptions and thought provoking narratives, I was swept into the world of Belle Époque Paris. Roshani does a wonderful job of painting a world teaming with life, while shining a strong light onto those who pay for other's privileges. This book is PERFECT for fans of Six of Crows. If you are in dire need of #squadgoals and heists, this is the book for you. I absolutely adore how these characters work together, how each has their own specialty and their backstories - particularly what brought them into Séverin's life. Séverin is the heir to a fallen House. Disgraced and forgotten, Séverin is a highly complex character whose main goal is the gain back everything he's been denied. You will find yourself regularly charmed by and frustrated with him. He is my next favorite character of 2019 and I was constantly LIVING for his POV chapters in this book. Enrique hit close to home for me, as my grandfather emigrated to the United States from the Philippines in the 1920s. I adore his character immensely, his dry humor and constant exasperation with his compatriots, and support him 110%. Laila is her own mystery and a tantalizing one at that. Battling with her identity and feelings, she is probably the strongest personality of this book and the glue that holds everyone together. Serious #momfriend over here. Just don't tell her I said that. Zofia is too damn smart for her own good. No really, her character represents several groups rarely featured in fantasy literature. As the mother of an autistic child, I loved Zofia's narrative and analytical mind. Roshani did a great job of portraying Zofia and I cannot wait to see her discover more of herself in the sequel. Tristan is so lovely and sweet, I loved everything he brought to the page and how everyone seeks to protect him while all he wants is to feel useful. His relationship with Séverin is so important for the story and a driving force for much of the future plot. While I certainly loved the plot of this and the world Roshani has created - I was absolutely ravenous for one of the romance subplots. It was so angsty, with history and wanting and I swear I was absolutely riveted every time these characters interacted with each other. I cannot wait to see where their relationship goes in the sequel - which has a fantastic set up in that regard as well. Additionally, there are other romantic subplots hinted at in this including possible gay and bisexual feelings and I am just HERE FOR IT. These characters are still discovering their sexual identity and I am readily holding their hand through it all. I SUPPORT YOU. My only complaint is that some of the historical and scientific descriptions can be a little lengthy and hard to follow. However, I loved the almost "treasure hunt" like vibe to this and easily looked past these instances. Overall, this book opens a rich and vibrant world with a dark underbelly, unexpected twists and suffering, and is truly a statement piece for those under the heel of colonialism, racism and prejudice. The book ends with a captivating set up for the second book that will have you screaming from the rafters and dying for more! Review copy provided by the St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
"The Gilded wolves" is a fantasy novel set in 1889, Paris and centers around Severin - in order to reclaim his inheritance, he and his crew go on a quest to find some important magical artifact. Chokshi creates a complex and fantastic world with magical elements and well-developed settings. The characters were diverse and completely distinctive - I connected with each one of them and specially loved Zofia for her wisdom and stilness when facing adversities. Although in the beginning the storyline could sound a bit overwhelming due to the amount of information, it was wonderfully crafted with beautiful writing. Furthermore, the chapters told in different POVs were engaging and allowed me to have a deep look into each character. The final pages made my jaw drop and I am so excited for more. "The Gilded wolves" is a mix of "Da Vinci Code" and "The invisible library" series and it was a good step to start reading Roshani Chokshi. I recommend!
“Kisses were not supposed to be like this. Kisses were to be witnessed by stars, not held in the presence of stale death. But as the bones rose around them, Laila saw fractals of white. They looked like pale constellations and she thought that, perhaps, for a kiss like this, even hell would put forth stars.” The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi is overall a beautifully written interesting story. The beginning for me was very confusing and it did take a bit of push through on my part to keep reading to understand what was happening and who the characters were. In the end though I am very glad I stuck with it. It has amazing characters, and the story is fascinating. The ending is very much a set up for a second book, and that kind of irks me, but it did work because I now dying for the second book which I know I will buy as soon as it is available. I give the book 4 stars. “I think the greatest power is belief, for what is a god without it?”
The Gilded Wolves is a steampunk novel, set in an alternate Paris. There’s magic and the Great Houses guarding a secret. There are girls made from clay, consciousness, and bits of the dead. There’s dancers and secret doors and giant spiders and secrets. I really couldn’t ask for more from a novel. The adventure here is thick and fascinating and it was an easy read. Simply put, I loved it. There are multiple POVs in this novel. My personal favorite was Zofia. She’s the closest thing to a budding mad scientist I’ve seen in a YA novel, and she immediately makes my list of all-time favorites. But if inventing and instability isn’t really your thing, there’s also the vengeful heir, the character a little too obsessed with creepy crawlies, the society defect, the actress, and the researcher. I thought some character stood out more than others, but they are all varied and interesting. If you’re looking for relationships, widely cast books like this always bring a rush of different love stories. There’s a forbidden/rejected love story filled with tension. There’s well-meaning flirtation that goes awry. There’s a M/M relationship that I will just let you lovelies guess at until you read the book yourself. The setting of Paris embraces the best of the city, but not the sites you would expect to see. I personally was thrilled to see the catacombs embraced as a setting, as well as the Expo. Chokshi flawlessly weaves her forging magic in with the turn of the century city, bustling with possibility. You get an excellent sense of the richness of this world. I found it really easy to slip into the story because of how vibrant the world was with mythology and possibility. And I haven’t even begun to talk about the adventure. This is one of those plots that is just go-go-go. I can’t help but to compare it to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The setting and characters are very different, but the feel has the same thrill and romance and dance between danger and that adrenaline rush of success. I really have nothing but high praise for this book – it was a highly enjoyable read, and it set up the ending perfectly that I am itching to know what is going to happen next. The Gilded Wolves has the same spirit as Six of Crows and I think that it will be well-received by Bardugo’s fans.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* The Gilded Wolves started off a little slow for me, but there was so much information and world building to get into! You’re thrown into it and have to figure out what’s going on and how everything works. Once everything was put in place and I understood what was going on, it was an exciting read full of action and intrigue. I love that Chokshi doesn’t leave us hanging with the characters, either. Her plot is super intriguing, but her characters are just as good! I loved learning about each of their backstories and was fully invested in each of their story lines in a rather quick amount of time. The novel is told from each of their viewpoints, which I really appreciated. It was nice to see others’ perceptions of each other and then understand what’s really going on with each character. Along with the plot, they also have surprising reveals and intrigues just going on internally, which is a really nice parallel and nicely brings the story together. And it’s really easy to switch from each voice because the characters are quite diverse and each have very unique qualities. The setting really can’t be beat; you’re dealing with an alternate fantasy world set in the late 1800’s in Paris. It’s just so cool, and then Chokshi throws a heist on top of it. The stakes are incredibly high and it just makes for a compelling read. I kept turning page after page and was fascinated by how magic works in this world–it’s very well thought out. While the main conflict mostly resolves itself, I was wanting more at the end. I get that that’s how series work, but I SO MUCH WANT TO READ BOOK 2! I’m very excited to read the next book now that I feel like I have a handle on how the world works, so I can dive right in and just enjoy the story. Definitely recommend for alternate history fantasy lovers!
4.5 stars. The story was so intriguing that I read the book in a night. I want the book to be made into a movie so the vivid characters and scenery can come alive. I like the diversity of the main characters in appearance, background, talents, and weaknesses and the fact that they all have secrets. The mixture of science, math, history, religion, nature, and "magic" (for lack of a better word) is great. I like that the book utilizes historical events and religious beliefs and events to advance the plot and explain the current circumstances. In particular, the story utilizes the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. It was also nice that scientific inventions and principles and mathematical principles were key to solving some of the puzzles/mysteries that confronted the main characters. Although the six main characters are not equals in terms of status and power, I appreciated that all of them made major contributions and that the success of the group in their endeavors could not have happened without all of them. I liked the use of the seven deadly sins as the nicknames/identities of Severin's foster fathers and the fact that he learned lessons from each of them, even the worst/cruelest ones. While all six main characters are appealing in their own way, Zofia is one of my favorites because the reader gets to witness more emotional growth/self-confidence. I am glad I had the opportunity to read a copy of the e-book via NetGalley and I look forward to the next book in the series.
This book showcases the power of Roshani Chokshi’s magical, charming, and enchanting writing – I had no clue what was going on most of the time, but I was still enthralled. She made a captivating cast of misfits that were endearing and oh so very charming, and when I was lost on what was going on in the world, I would just bask in their greatness. Seriously, there is no doubt that Chokshi is a queen of YA. Her writing is always stunning. She has such a way with words, and it’s always lush and captivating. It’s like you’re reading a gold bar or something. This book is no different. Her lyrical, beautiful prose shines through, and it never gets to be too much. My biggest issue was the world building. I just didn’t fully get it. I would think I got it, but then something would pop up and I’m like, no, nope, I don’t got it. I am still confused on the whole idea of Forging – which is the basic magic system in the book. I was trying to talk about this with Sha, and I would just throw out words like Horus Eye and Babel Fragment and Sha was like, what are those, and I’m over here like…IDK IDK IDK. And I should have knownnnnnnnnnn. I’m not entirely sure if there was just not enough time dedicated to the world explanation in the beginning or it was just too confusing of a world for me, but I just felt things would pop up, have a moment explanation, and then gone again with the wind. And I was just stuck in a constant state of confusion. However, the world building that I did understand was interesting and fascinating. I love the setting in France, and the historical fiction pieces infused with the mythology of the world was intriguing. Chokshi created such a cool world, and I did feel like I was immersed in a whole new world. The characters were the shining stars for this book for me. The core characters Severin, Zofia, Enrique, Laia, and Hypnos were so intricate, dynamic, and amazing. They had so many facets to them, and I just wanted to stay with them for such a long time. They reminded me of the Six of Crows gang, and if you love them, you’ll definitely see shades of them in these characters. I can’t even quite pick a favorite character, because they were all so intriguing and complex. When they were apart or together, it didn’t matter because they were going to be amazing either way. The pacing was pretty good as well. For it being a pretty large book, it moved pretty decently. There were some parts that it went so high speed, and I loved that. Also, I had some bigger issues with the ending. I felt like there was a random plot twist that seemed confusing? And happened with a character that I never fully understood? It just…I felt so weird. And then the other little things at the end felt the same to me, too. 3 crowns and a Belle rating! This would have been rated so much higher if I knew what was going on and had understood it a bit better – because trust me, I did love love love some moments.
What an amazing story! Great world building. Compelling characters. One heck of a cliffhanger. Can't wait to read book 2!!
4.5/5 Stars Exquisite. This book is exquisite. That's the word that comes to mind as soon as I finished this book. I loved it. Roshani Chokshi did so good and this coming back novel, I'm in love. The Gilded Wolves is more of a Six of Crows meets Grim Lovelies and I was very impressed by it. If you've seen my profile picture in any of my book social media you would see that the book that I hold in my hand is Six of Crows, which is to say that I love that series. When I started reading this book and saw that it was written in the different point of views of the different characters in the book, I saw the immediate pattern of Six of Crows. However, where Six of Crow was dark and sinister, The Gilded Wolves was dark but in a more subdued way. The Gilded Wolves is set in the late 1800s in Paris, France. Here we follow the stories from the point of view of five different characters, well, four mainly, but we get a sneak peek of a different character at the end. Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia, and Hypnos. These characters are brought together because they were lost looking for something that each of them couldn't find on their own. That's why Severin forms a team of sorts and with each of the other's abilities, they can come together to reach their unified goal. The writing quality was a ten out of ten. I have to give that to Roshani, her writing was beautiful. Throughout her whole story, you get pulled out into the world that she creates and you don't get lost. Everything makes senses. Despite the different points of view, you never get lost, you understand everything that she's playing out in the story. The Character development was alright. I wished she would've delved deeper into the emotions of some of the characters. For example, the character Tristan. I felt like there was so much missing from him that we didn't know. Like the thing with the birds (If you read the book, then you'll know what I'm talking about). I don't know, I just feel like her characters, all of them, were a little bit standoffish, not just in the book, but even to us readers, if that makes any sense. The character that I related to the most had to be Laila. She's adorable and strong in ways that the others are not. Her qualities and personality really sparked my interest and I like how much she moms everything. I'm always the mom of my group of friends, so I really liked her. The intellectual depth of this book blew me off. Like Roshani did such great research, and I'm not sure if she went to Paris to do actual research for this book, but this story really grabs France essence and I love it. While reading the book I felt like I was the one with Severin and the girls running down the streets of Paris instead of reading a book. I feel like this book is very original in its essence, but when it comes to the way the story was portrayed I felt like it really compared to Six of Crows, and I haven't read Grim Lovelies yet to really compare it to that, but I have a feeling that they are about similar patterns. Anyways, I would recommend this book to anyone 12 years old and older. If you liked the Sic of Crow series. Grim lovelies, for all of you squad-loving people. This is a squad you'll want to be a part of.
This is an intricate young adult fantasy with some historical fiction elements. This book also, weirdly, has a sort of Da Vinci Code feel to it. Or maybe it's just me, but I'm not mad at it. I enjoyed the complexity and diversity of the main characters. I was invested in the plot from start to finish. For me, this was kind of like magic meets historical mystery meets the Great Gatsby in Paris. And it was great. My only issue was how complex the magic system was. At first I felt like I had been thrown in with little explanation about what was going on. There were too many elements thrown at me too quickly, which made it difficult for me to get into the story at first. Once I had my bearings I was able to really enjoy the story. This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2019, and it did not disappoint!
The prologue to this book alone will draw you in! The story is a lot of fun and the array of characters makes it even more enjoyable. I don't remember the last book I read that was set in this historical french style and it was really refreshing. I loved that each POV comes from a different background and contributes a different perspective of the events going on to create a clear description of the world around them! I think Roshani did a wonderful job of building complex characters whose combined abilities make for the perfect team! The themes in this YA fantasy also contribute to the story in ways that other YA Fantasy hasn't done very much of recently and I think that it will really resonate with readers. I can't wait to read book two!
“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.” The Gilded Wolves is an exciting, pull-off-an-impossible-heist-to-save-the-world story with multiple POVs. So, basically, if you liked Six of Crows, this is for you. The premise is the Order of Babel, an organization that has existed throughout history and protected the world’s Babel fragments, which give society the power to Forge (basically, create via magic). It’s said that the Babel fragments originated with the biblical Tower of Babel, give a piece of God’s creation powers to those who possess an affinity for it, and pretty much allow society as they know it to exist. Threaten the fragments, and you threaten society. In the book’s present-day, there are two families belonging to the Order who protect the West’s Babel fragment — but there used to be four. The “fallen house” tried to get too close to God, too powerful, and so they were pretty much taken down by the rest of the families as punishment. And then there’s Severin’s house, which was taken from him and declared heirless when he was a kid. Now, along with four others, Severin needs to get his house/status back and pretty much save the world from an unknown enemy who’s apparently after the West’s Babel fragment. I loved that all the characters were so diverse, including in nationality, religion, and orientation. They all have rich backstories and important plots. The writing truly made you care about them, which is also what’s so great about Six of Crows. I did feel like there were some things in this book that were explained a little too conveniently, discoveries that were played off as natural conclusions but felt kind of like a long shot, and a bit of a rushed climax. It also came with alllllll the cheesy YA lines, my favorite being that Severin’s eyes were “the color of sleep” with the ability to recall “nightmares or dreams.” (I still love it though.) So not the best writing I’ve ever read, but still really exciting and engaging, and I can’t wait to read the next one!
"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." 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! 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 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 colonialism. Where this story truly shines is with its characters. The 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 express 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* Power and race play an important role to the diverse characters of this book and their positions within the world they live in. 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 an 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. full review: https://readervoracious.com/2018/12/13/the-gilded-wolves/
This was an amazing an funny read, I loved everything involved in this book. I recommend it a lot. This is the first book that I read from Roshani and her writing style is so cool, I adored it. The characters and world was amazing, I really connected with the book and his characters.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the advance reader copy The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi in exchange for an honest review. From the first page, Roshani Chokshi held me captive with her drama and taut suspense as she worthily worldbuilds France in 1889 as well as the science, math, magic, and mythology in this sweeping tale of chasing one’s birthright, stealing treasures, and keeping close to those you love/work with. Not only is the plot full of intrigue, tension, and drama, the characters are strong and believable. I could not stop turning the pages. Severin, Tristan, Laila, Enrique, and Sofia work well together with their different abilities but they also have secrets too ---I am not a fan of Hypnos and think there is more we will learn about him. Toward the end, I was put off by Severin in his treatment (separately) of Tristan and Laila. I was not fond of the ending either and that said, the readers deserve MORE redemption, closure, hope, and happiness and less horror, heartbreak, and evil in Book 2, please.
Roshani Chokshi does it again! Gilded Wolves is beautifully written, evoking strong imagery and expressive relationships. Like in Star-Touched Queen and Night and Death, the plot feels organic — the perfect balance of world building, action and character development. As always, Chokshi is a pleasure to read. Set in the aristocratic circles of Paris, ancient magic flows freely, and one man is on the hunt to reclaim his family’s prestige. Cut off as a magical founding family, Séverin has remade himself into a businessman and thief. Spending his time reclaiming magical heirlooms, Séverin and his friends seem unstoppable...that is until the powerful Order of Babel task Séverin with a dangerous, yet lucrative mission. If all goes well Séverin May reclaim his inheritance, if not, certain death!
Right after ending the book: MY HEART! I NEED BOOK 2 NOW! HOW COULD ROSH DO THIS TO US! MY HEART!!!! Okay , let's take some deep breaths and go about this calmly. The GIlded Wolves is an absolute delight to read with all the beautiful descriptions and imagery that Chokshi is becoming known for. Combine Roshani Chokshi's descriptive writing with the granduer and mystery of Paris and you've got one beautiful story. Forewarning, i did listen to the audiobook so i was truly transported to Paris with all the accents and descriptions. Sidenote: if you listen to this audiobook your thoughts will have a french accent for the rest of the day. In The Gilded Wolves we are introduced to a crew that is ready to treasure hunt and is no newbies at it either. They work together on Acquisition jobs when not working at Severin's hotel Le Den* *clarification as i did listen to the audio, i have no idea how to spell anything but the 6 MC's names because that is on twitter. We have Severin who runs the hotel and is the blood heir to House Vanth of France in the Order of Babel that stems from the Bible Story around the Tower of Babel. In France there are two other Houses, House Nyx and House Kore whom deny that Severin should be the next Patriarch of House Vanth and instead declared House Vanth dead. He is set on finding the perfect artifact to bribe the Order of Babel to redo the inheritance test and let him take back the title. He is joined by friends and allies he has found along the way. Joining him is probably one of my favorite characters, Zofia who is A FEMALE ENGINEER who i believe is a bit autistic, or whatever it is where sarcasm and those type of jokes seem to go over her head. BUT A FEMALE ENGINEER!!!! HELL TO THE YEAH!! THis girl is my heart and how she sees the world with math and wnating to invent is beautiful. If Zofia is my heart , then Tristan is my joy. A precoius snowflake who loves plants and animals more than anything except Severin his brother in everything but blood. THis man is absolutely precious and must be protected. Enrique is an absolute delightful, sarcastic historian and i will STAN this man for ever. He will occasionally be the voice of reason and puzzle things out with Zofia. Layla is the Mom Friend to the T who also won't hesitate to call you out on your Bull. She has your best intentions at heart. SHe also is a fabulous baker. The Fabulous 5 are in the middle of an acquisition heist when the patriarch of House Nyx, Hypnos a very flamboyant man, "hires" them to acquire a specific artifact that will help locate a mythical artifact and promises to re-administer the inheritance test for Severin. QUITE a few hijinks and dedutions happen throughout the story as you explore Historical Paris into a fascinating story that is building up a larger arc for a Trilogy. The characters have great personal ARCS but still have room to grow in the next few books as well. Another amazing story by ROshani Chokshi and great opener for the Gilded wolves trilogy.
The Gilded Wolves was such a fun, enjoyable read! It was a great heist story that kept me intriguing throughout. I loved trying to figure out all of the clues, it was so fun to see how they worked out (and really impressed me with the amount of research Chokshi must have done). It took me a bit to get into the story but that was entirely due to my mood and not at all due to the book itself. I also absolutely loved the diversity in this book! I really wish that I’d had more like this one growing up. The banter between the characters was so witty, I laughed out loud multiple times. I’m also so, so excited to see where the sequel goes, I loved how both a larger mythology and mystery were introduced in this book. Overall, The Gilded Wolves was dark, beautifully written, and a joy to read. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Enamored with this book just by reading a sample of it a few months ago...I was excited to finally go on the full journey. Severin, Laila, Enrique, Tristan, and Zofia....you are going to be glad to have met these amazing book characters. A well crafted story...interesting characters....the beautiful and intricate writing style...I can't say enough praise about all of it. Well worth the wait...the journey into this world is so beautiful..so enchanting...so full of symbolism and strength and power. History...magic...fantasy....so much going on. Yes at times it could get confusing....but believe me when I say it all comes together and it's what makes this complexity of all these things so intriguing. Wonderful read worth reading....
The Gilded Wolves showed up on my radar a few months back. When I read the blurb, I had a “meh” reaction and almost didn’t accept the review request from the publisher. At the time, my reading/review schedule was busy. Even though the book was due to be published in January, I didn’t think I was going to be able to read it. Then I reread the blurb and my “meh” reaction turned into a “Hmmm“. Since I had a few books scheduled for review in January, I decided to accept the review request. Let me tell you, I am so glad that I did. This has to be one of the best books I have read this year. This was a beautifully written book. The author took her time building up the characters backstories while progressing with the main storylines. Any other book would have me sitting here and complaining about it. But not here. It worked. The author separated the backstories by having them in italics. What I liked also is that there was no confusion when that happened either. That alone made this book an enjoyable read for me. I liked that the main characters were fleshed out and they were diverse. Enrique was from the Philippines and was mixed race. He was Filipino/Spanish. Laila was from India. Zofia was Jewish and from Poland. Hypnos was White and Black. Severin was Middle Eastern and White. I enjoyed reading how each culture was different and how everyone meshed together. I also liked how the author chose to bring up sexuality in the book. The century that the book is set in wasn’t known for being tolerant of homosexuality or bisexuality. So to have Enrique be bisexual was awesome. His attraction to both Hypnos and Zofia was written beautifully. He wasn’t ashamed at being attracted to both men and women. Which was fantastic. I didn’t like Severin when he was first introduced in the book. He came across as cocky and careless. As the book went on, I did start to like him. All he wanted was to bring his House back and to be its Patriarch. Which is why I was surprised when he did what he did at the end of the book. I liked Laila. She was the heart and soul of the group. The relationships that she forged with everyone was prevalent throughout the book. I was surprised and intrigued by her backstory. I am wondering what is going to happen to her when she turns 19. Her hidden ability was amazing. Zofia was odd but I liked her. She was brilliant. Her nickname of “the phoenix” fit her. I wanted to cry when she was remembering her years at the university. The way she was treated by both her classmates and teachers was horrible. I don’t blame her for doing what she did (even though it was by accident). Enrique was one of my favorite characters in the book. For the reasons, I stated above. Also because he told it like it was to Severin. He was also brilliant. The history he knew blew me away. Tristan touched my heart. From the beginning of the book, I could tell there was something wrong. The abuse that he suffered by Wrath broke him. He reminded me of a small child at points in the book. Because of that, I thought he job as a poisoner was odd. But he was brilliant. He was also obsessed with spiders. He devotion to Goliath was touching. Creepy, but touching. The plotline with Severin and his quest to get his House back was fascinating. I liked that Egyptian mythology was used in the book. At times, the book reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie. I love it when a plotline keeps me guessing and this one definitely did. The secondary plotlines enriched th
Ever since I heard about The Gilded Wolves, it became one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. Not only do I adore Roshani Chokshi’s writing, but I also love books with an ensemble cast of characters (especially when said characters are going on a heist!!!). First, I’ll talk about what makes this story great. I think the highlight of the entire story is the characters. Each individual felt unique, but also like a puzzle piece or part of a whole. They each have such colorful backstories that allow readers to easily grow attached, but when they are placed alongside one another, the characters automatically seem to fit and come together as a single unit. I never once doubted their love or loyalty to one another. It was as evident and tangible as the book I held in my hands. Their pure belief in one another marked this story’s characters as ones easily loved and remembered. It’s so hard to choose which character is my favorite, because I love them all, but if I was forced to choose, it would have to be a tie between Zofia and Enrique. Not only did I love their individual personalities, but I also loved their personalities in tandem with one another. When they work or even joke alongside one another, they’re an undeniable duo. I’m really interested in seeing how their relationship will develop in the future, an aspect that will likely haunt me until I’m able to get my hands on book 2. Another great aspect of the story is the setting. Though this story takes place around an actual historical event in history, the fantasy element makes it distinctive. It felt like something that could’ve easily been overdone or underdone, but Chokshi found the perfect balance. It felt like the characters were simultaneously in Paris and in a fantasy world yet to be discovered. Overall, a job well done. Now, to briefly mention what made this story a four-star read instead of five… I hate to say it, but the beginning of this book was slow and confusing. I mean, I was invested, but I had to re-read almost everything several times in order to understand completely. It was only until I was half-way through the story that I felt myself being sucked into the plot. Don’t get me wrong, the story is amazing and the backstory is a necessary matter to draw out and explain in detail. However, the fact that it stalled the level of my interest initially, because of how much effort it took to organize the characters and plot, definitely didn’t work in its favor. This book is definitely one to check out. I am stocked for a sequel!
Rating: 4.5 stars Thank you to Bookish First and Wednesday Books for providing me a copy to review! This in no way affected my opinion. This was my first experience with Chokshi’s writing and I can’t believe what I have been missing! This story was everything that I love. Found Family! Friendship! Lovable Characters! Heists and Treasure Hunts! The shining jewel of the book is the characters. They are diverse, quirky, and Chokshi made me really care for them. Severin is basically the MC though all of the characters get there own POV and side not they are all amazing. I never groaned because it was *that* character’s chapter. He is the last descendant of the lost Vanth House and his end goal is to gain the position of Patriarch that has been denied to him. Thus in his quest to regain his title he has collected an eclectic group of friends. Severin’s brother, Tristan, is uses Forging (magic? misunderstood science?) techniques to create these amazing gardens and owns a huge tarantula, Goliath. There is Lalia, an amazing baker and dancer, looking for an ancient book that will help her understand her existence. Oh, and she can touch items and read the memories tied to them. Then there is Enrique, who is a historian who you are never sure if he is sarcastic or serious. Zofia is my favorite character. She is an engineer/chemist/mad scientist who sucks at anything social, so basically me. Oh and she loves to set things on fire and can strike a match using her teeth which I would still like an explanation on how she can do that! And then there is Hypnos, who is the Patriarch of House Nyx and he tricks Severin into helping him find the Horus Eye. I was wary of him as he seemed like he would be quick to stab them in the back but I slowly warmed up to him. The story moves quickly and there were many times when I did not want to stop reading, even though I had to because responsibilities. It is largely a treasure hunt with heists and confusing clues. I loved how Chokshi included these little bits of facts like Fibonacci’s sequence and Ortolans. It really helped to bring the book to life. There were three things that made me annoyed and this would have been a five star read for me if it was not for these points. First, what was with Severin and his Seven-Deadly-Sins fathers. I kind of get what Chokshi was doing with it but I don’t understand it. I know that she wanted to add to Severin’s backstory but I felt like the book could have done without it. This is a bit of a spoiler but I hated the ending with Severin and Lalia. THEY BOTH ARE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER SO WHY WON'T THEY JUST SAY IT. I understand that Severin was not in a good place (I am trying to limit the spoilers here) and pushed her away because he was in pain. But why did she have to propose to become his mistress to be welcomed back in his life??? I understand that Lalia does benefit by having a lover as it adds to the drama of her life as a dancer but it felt cheap for Chokshi to do this. I think that Lalia and Severin should have made up in a different way. Lastly, the whole bit with the villain was confusing. I don’t know if I was me but I found it hard to follow what was going on with them, especially during the boss fight at the end.
The characterization in The Gilded Wolves is superb. This book is full of multiple perspectives which is brilliant, because it not only allows us to see through the eyes of each character, but to see our favorites from new angles. Each of these characters have their own pasts, their own talents. They have their own personal missions, combined as a team for one epic quest. Set in this historical Paris setting feels both luxurious and almost forbidden. It's not just back alleys, it's decadent hotels the Eiffel Tower. This book is as bright and brilliant as Paris is at night.story is well-written and the world building is phenomenal! I absolutely love the history and how it connects to the Tower of Babel. There are lots of action scenes that are exciting and will keep you wanting to read more. There were a few points of the book that dragged a bit, but the story was mostly face-paced and gripping. The ending leaves you with more questions to be answered, and some big ones at that! I am really looking forward to the sequel.
Not as Good as it Could Have Been I received an ARC of this book from BookishFirst. The summary given of the book did not do it justice at all. I enjoyed the beginning of the book when the characters were being introduced and their backstories were being given, but the rest of the book just dragged. I felt that some scenes gave too many details where others did not give enough details. I almost did not finish this book, but for some reason I really wanted to know how it ended. The ending was disappointing with almost all the characters enduring some sort of heartbreak. I know the author was trying to set up for the next book in the series, but she did it so that I was not at all interested in reading the next book. I will not be reading the sequel.