Thank you so much to TBR & Beyond Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘The Gilded Ones’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!
Title: The Gilded Ones
Author: Namina Forna
Publisher: Delacorte Press, Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Deathless (Book #1 in series)
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Trigger Warnings: Blood, Torture, Violence, Gore, Graphic Murder (on page), Sexual Assault (off page), Racism, Xenophobia
Final Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
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.
Top 5 Reasons to Read The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
5. The character growth and development. The journeys of self exploration and discovery, not only for the main characters, but for all of the side characters as well was so evident, and it was just great to see their individual growth and changes in opinions.
4. The interesting worldbuilding and magic systems. Something I love in fantasy novels is when the magic systems, and worldbuilding are on point. I feel like, in The Gilded Ones, although there was great worldbuilding, and some stimulating themes of society, as well as intricate magic system, it never got too heavy, or felt like an info-dump at any point of time. However, I still managed to understand everything within the first few chapters, which was perfect.
3. Current, real-world issues being incorporated into the fictional world. Although this was a SFF novel, issues like Xenophobia, and Racism were taken into light. Just the basic divide of people because of where they were from, or what they looked like felt so much like our world today, and was addressed even though this was a story based on fantasy. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into the text at this point, but the fact that the author decided to make the color of impurity gold – and that gold signifies superiority, and warmth, just made me think about real life, and the how the people society brands as insufficient, or simply not enough, are also beautiful. There were so many subtle undertones, and reflections onto our world today, which is something I absolutely loved.
2. The pacing. I know it’s something very basic, but I loved the pacing in The Gilded Ones. I feel like the pacing can determine whether or not you like the story, and whether or not it leaves an impact on you, which is why I feel it’s so important that the pacing’s done well. The pacing in this book was a delight. It started off perfectly, and never felt too slow, or even rushed at any point of time. Whether it was a scene of battle, or an introduction scene, the pacing was always ~immaculate~.
1. All the developing friendships. I know earlier I said I loved the individual development, but my favourite part would definitely be all the friendships. Just to see the way the girls all stick together, and trust each other so deeply, and the way they grow from being “stuck with each other” to being close confidants is so amazing to look at. Not just with the girls, I loved the way all the relationships progressed, and how everyone dealt with secrets, lies, and love in completely different ways. Seeing all these strong female friendships, and even the little quirky things between the friendships, and relationships of the side characters felt so relatable, and was something I adored.
My Moodboard ~
About the Author
Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.