Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads Summary

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.


Review

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 Crew

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.

Conclusion

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


Aesthetics

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Have you read The Gilded Wolves? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

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30 thoughts on “Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

  1. So happy you loved this as much as I did! I, too, feel the magic system was not fully developed (though maybe to her, it made complete sense). One of those concepts where I think I get it…but I don’t actually? LOL. Am also super happy that the author represented you (and me!) in a genre you love. Interesting that you pointed out the possibility that Zofia may be on the spectrum–that’s something I’ll have to consider while reading future installments. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! I still don’t understand the magic system or how their powers work. Hahaha. But also math and science aren’t my best subjects so most of those things go over my head. Lol! I’m so happy that we both saw ourselves in this book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous review and I am reading the book now… And I kind of understood the concept as it is chhota saans – a small breath – blow life into something, making it come alive… Maybe I am an Indian, embedded in my culture and folktales and maybe I have watched too many movies… Well I am still reading it now…

    Like

  3. At first I wasn’t interested in this book, since I struggled with her writing in A star-touched queen. But now I keep seeing the characters being compared to Six of Crows and I cannot stop thinking about it!
    Also your review is so positive haha I feel like I have to try it out!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read her other books so I’m not familiar with her writing. I’m not into overly descriptive flowery writing so I don’t think this had that problem. It’s an interesting plot. I just wish she had done a better job with the world-building and explaining the magic system.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh! Was it Amazon? Hahaha. They are not always careful with packaging books. I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it. I loved Hypnos and I think the story is interesting.

      Like

  4. I already knew how you felt about this book since I’ve seen your updates over on Twitter and Instagram but I’m still super happy to read your review! I ended up really enjoying this book too and cannot wait for the sequel. Those Séverin and Laila scenes. I am dead. I can’t wait a YEAR to find out how that’s going to play out (aka get my heart broken by them)!

    But also, HYPNOS. I swear I thought he was a character that wouldn’t get much page time but he turned out to be so much fun to read about and I really hope he gets his own POV chapters in the sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laila and Severin are that slow-burn romance I didn’t know I needed and they’ll likely be in a fake relationship at the beginning of the sequel? Wow. I feel blessed. I love fake dating tropes. I hope Hypnos gets his own POV too because he’s so interesting and ADORABLE!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BUT A FAKE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALREADY THERE TENSION AND HISTORY. Like, that’s even better than the usual fake relationship trope where they are MAYBE friends (or I’ve read too many fics where they like barely know each other when they agree to the whole fake relationship).

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