The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves

eBook - 2019
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*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: [S.l.]: St. Martin's Press, 2019.
ISBN: 9781250144560
Characteristics: 400 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary


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There are many good things about The Gilded Wolves. It's brimming with diversity, snark, lush writing, and lightheartedness. But for all it does well, it ended up being a "meh" book to me, for a few reasons.

This book follows a band of ragtag thieves in an alternate history Paris where magic exists in the form of Forging. There are four major magical political Houses, and only certain people have access to Forging magic, which comes in different varieties, such as mind or matter manipulation. Séverin, Laila, Tristan, Zofia, and Enrique have a long history of acquisitions - thievery and the like - and they find themselves caught up in a search for a particular artifact called the Horus Eye in 1889. Their search involves puzzles, mathematics, magic, and all the fun that a heist brings, with a band of diverse characters who care about each other in such interesting ways.

What gets me about this one is that I felt like I couldn't follow the story, which honestly never happens to me. Something would be happening and I'd flip the page and go ??? Did I miss something? Maybe this is partly me (I was in the middle of my library practicum when I started this book, so my brain wasn't at 100% capacity) but I also think it's the writing. As wonderful as Roshani's detail is, and as lush as her descriptions can be, I felt like she didn't provide enough detail for me to sink my teeth into when it came down to the actual scenes themselves. It seemed to me that there were gaps in between something happening and the reaction the characters had, or they'd react to something that I didn't recall happening. This sounds weird, but it's really how it felt; like there were some things happening off-page that then made everything over-complicated and hard to follow.

And with the mythology at play here, I also felt like I needed more. I needed to know more about the magic system and how it worked and how it could be accessed, and by whom. Sometimes something would happen and I'd go "huh" and then move on, but I don't like questioning those basic, foundational questions about the world I'm in. It was a lot of adjustment to make right from the get-go and not enough world-building for my liking.

However, with that said, I did enjoy the ride. The characters are the heart of this story and I absolutely loved them. The representation of such a multitude of cultures and abilities was just so fulfilling. This is the kind of fantasy novel we need more of in this area, where characters come from everywhere and where that history is woven into their stories in such fascinating ways.

So, take the good with the bad with this one, I suppose. It's a fun romp, but it broke down for me when I really considered the plot. The characters are wonderful, but the plot left me scratching my head and wondering if I'd missed something.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Mar 24, 2020

A heist fantasy set in Belle Époque France with anti-colonialism themes? Yes, please.

Mar 20, 2020

Rating: 3/5

I don't read many heist books- the closest to heist book that I've ever gotten to is Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and THAT isn't much of a heist book as much a book about revolution- and I guess they aren't really my cup of tea, but this book was enjoyable to read. Sometimes it was a little difficult to follow: specifically, the descriptions of some of the more fantastical scenes/locations. Getting down to the nitty gritty, this book primarily kept me engaged due to the fact that I really enjoyed quite a few of the side characters. It was a decent read, but not something that really stood out to me. It didn't make me want to find more heist books and devour them- get me? Anywho, let's go on with the review!

It's 1889 Paris, and you're following a group of teens who are professional thieves. Their leader? Severin, a young man who was denied his right as a House heir once his parents passed. Ah, and that's right- there are major "houses" of magic forgers (think of them as nobility with magic) who guard Babel fragments (super strong and possibly destructive sources of power from which forging magic came from) and are subject to the policing of the magic police, the infamous Order. Severin and the crew then go on the adventure of a lifetime as they find out about an artifact which may have the location of a Babel fragment, which may give Severin enough leverage to get his house back. While on the adventure, the crew encounters some curve balls as Severin's old friend Hypnos joins the search for his own ends, and another, more malevolent crew arises in their own search for the fragment, leading the team to deal with successfully pulling off a heist while dodging the order AND having to save the world from the forces of evil.


What I liked
1. A diverse group of likable characters - one on the spectrum, lgbtq rep, minority rep.
2. A fast-moving plot line with plenty of action
3. An interesting magic system blending magic and machine
4. Setting descriptions were pretty fantastical and awesome

What I didn't Really Like
1. Main character and love interest- while I liked their back stories, I felt like they were not as likable as side characters like Zophia or Enrique. In addition, their love/hate relationship felt like it was a little forced and took away from the story. The fact that I wasn't very interested in these two really put a damper on my wanting to continue the book, unfortunately.

And there you have it, let me know what you all think!

Feb 25, 2020

started once, but put it down. will revisit someday

JessicaGma May 27, 2019

It was alright but I have to agree with SylviaWvong that this sort of conceit has been done before and perhaps a bit better - maybe a sequel will reveal more. There needed to be a touch more charctertisation here.

May 07, 2019

Not bad, but I prefer Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, because:
1) Similar characters, but Bardugo's are more clearly defined and easier to understand, though also complex
2) Better setting, includes maps of Kerch and the surrounding lands in the Six of Crows series
3) More political stuff and backstabbing, better plot in general (in my opinion)
But on the other hand, I like Chokshi's take on race, which is discussed far more in The Gilded Wolves than Six of Crows.

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