The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher! Thanks! All opinions my own.

Book: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Book Series: Deathless Book 1

Diversity: Black main character and ownvoice

Rating: 4/5

Recommended For…: ownvoice, ya readers, fantasy lovers, feminism reads

Publication Date: February 9, 2021

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 432

Recommended Age: 16+ (Sexual harassment, Racism, Death, Gore, Violence, Sin Atonement and religion, Ptsd, Rape mentioned, Weight gain and not eating discussed, Menstruation, and Slavery illusions)

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

Review: For the most part I thought this book was really good. I really enjoyed the fast-paced storytelling, they always felt like something was happening and that really kept my interest piqued throughout the book. I thought the characters were very well developed and the world building was masterfully done. I also loved how well detailed and developed our main character was and the interactions that she had with other characters in the book felt very genuine. The plot of this book is also super intriguing and when she start to book you won’t want to put it down.

However the worst some things in the book that I didn’t like. The fast paced nature of the book did well to keep the story going, but also it made it really hard to understand what was fully going on all the time. It felt like I was running a marathon reading this book and I feel like there should have been places in the book that were slow down to explain some of the more intricate details at this book. I also felt like the book relied too much on the trope of the chosen one and how the chosen one is not who they seem to be. I really like that trope and it worked really well for this book, but I felt like the book leaned into it a little bit too much and it took away some of the uniqueness of this read.

Verdict: It’s a great read and I love the strong feministic vibes!

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