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.
Friends, I need to take a moment to SQUEAL AND FANGIRL AND YELL AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS. Please indulge me.
I’ve been reading YA fantasy practically my whole life. I love fantasy so much and never in a million years did I think I would see myself represented. A HAITIAN. IN YA FANTASY. Roshani Chokshi has given me something so precious and incredible.
Can you believe that I almost cried at my big age because one of the characters and I are Haitian? Because I saw “Haitian?” And he’s not just some throw away character. He’s interesting and has his own motivations and agency and he’s a whole ass character. Friends, this is why representation matters. THANK YOU ROSHANI CHOKSHI. YOU ARE IMMORTALIZED.
The Gilded Wolves is set in 1889 Paris with a band of misfit characters. The characters give off Six of Crows vibes because it’s a heist story, but the story and the characters are wholly unique and original. The plot combines mythology with puzzles and symbology. The characters are complex, each with their own motivations, and their dynamic is wonderful.
- Severin: Leader of this band of misfits. Half-Algerian. Heir of House Vanth.
- Enrique: Biracial (Filipino/Spanish). Historian. Doesn’t have any magical abilities so he uses his knowledge and love of history.
- Laila: Indian. Has the ability to read objects. Interesting arc about her culture.
- Zofia: Mathematician/scientist. Jewish Polish and may be on the spectrum.
- Tristan: Severin’s adopted brother.
- Hypnos aka my favorite character: Haitian and queer. Head of House Nyx.
Roshani Chokshi is great at her craft
I can’t believe this was my first time reading Chokshi’s work. Her writing is exceptional and this story was well-crafted and developed. I loved the way she mixed Egyptian, Greek and Chinese myth. The puzzles gave the book National Treasure/The Da Vinci Code vibes. The action scenes were delightful because there was so much more to the locations and settings. While this book is quiet an adventure, it doesn’t shy from the horror of this era and explores themes such as colonialism, racism, microaggressions, and anti-Semitism.
The only reason I didn’t give The Gilded Wolves five stars is because of the world-building. I think the magic system wasn’t fully explained and I was still confused about that at the end of the book. I think this book is written well, but it definitely feels like a sequel instead of a first book. The characters have a lot of history and sometimes I felt like a 7th wheel trying to play catch up.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I loved the characters! I can’t wait for the sequel.
Content warning: racism, colonialism, microagressions, anti-Semitism