I received an A.R.C for this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review is spoiler-free.
Status: Finished Reading (22 October 2018)
Edition: Kindle ARC
I don’t try to hide the fact that I am a huge, huge fan of Roshani Chokshi’s work. I have loved the Star-Touched series so deeply, so when I had the chance to grab an ARC of her newest fantasy, I did not hesitate to dive right into it. It did not disappoint me in the least.
Set in 1800s Paris, The Gilded Wolves is the perfect mix of action, suspense, character-building, plot, magic and romance – all the things that make for a near perfect young-adult fantasy book. The story follows Séverin and his group of friends on a bit of a hunt to not only change their lives but the lives of everyone in the world they live in. Without spoiling anything about the plot – seeing as there is suspense involved and I want every reader to experience it for themselves – I will say that Chokshi really had me on the edge of my seat (or rather the edge of my bed at 2 in the morning as I scarfed down this book as fast as I possibly could).
The only thing that could make a magical action story in a period setting better is, you guessed it, the found-family trope. Chokshi executes this perfectly, as well. We have an incredibly diverse cast of characters (which is so lovely and so necessary to see, especially in a period story in Europe) whom Séverin has brought together to become a part of his team – and they work so well.
As an avid young-adult reader and an Indian, I’ve become so used to not being able to see characters like myself in Europe-centric fantasy settings (and always hearing the tired and factually incorrect defence from white authors and readers that older Europe did not have POC). Chokshi bringing POC to life in front of my eyes in 1800s Paris (a diverse and intersectional group, at that) was so genuinely heartwarming. It was bold in its approach without stripping the realistic element of having POC in Europe at a time like that (i.e the sexism and/or racism they would inevitably face). The book is such a fresh take on what one would assume is otherwise a fairly cliche setting – but Chokshi keeps it relevant, and very inclusive.
I think it was impossible for me to not fall in love with each and every character Chokshi has created in this book because they each have such a unique personality and story. Combined with Chokshi’s fantastic(al) prose (which has always been one of the main selling points of her books, for me), it was taking all my effort to not adopt these kids myself and protect them in every way I can.
Chokshi has a way of making you reach out your hand with curiosity and then tugging you head-first into a whirlwind you’ll want to keep experiencing forever. The Gilded Wolves journey is just as turbulent, and in the best way ever. There is not lull or resting point because she keeps giving us more – whether that’s with backstories that would make your jaw unhinge, plot twists that will have you pinching yourself, or emotional scenes that will tug at your heartstrings.
If you’re a fan of Chokshi’s work already, I can’t imagine you not liking this new series. Although drastically different from The Star-Touched Queen , A Crown of Wishes, and Star-Touched Stories, in its own right, The Gilded Wolves is a thrilling opening to a brand new world that one cannot wait to become a part of. The book is a recipe for a new fantasy fave and I urge everyone to grab their copy when it hits the shelves in 2019. You will not regret it.