the gilded wolves – roshani chokshi | review

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi


Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Published January 15th 2019 by Wednesday Books
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, LGBT
Rep: south african (algerian) MC, bi/pansexual filipino-spanish MC, autistic polish-jewish MC, indian MC, queer black Haitian MC

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

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.


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trigger and content warnings:

read the gilded wolves in january 2019 once it was published. though i enjoyed the book, i couldn’t write up the review for some reason. to refresh my mind for the silvered serpents, a reread is needed.

Roshani Chokshi created such an incredible world filled with rich history and innovative technology including a take on Egyptian mythology which I’m a little unfamiliar with. the masterpiece that is the mixture of lore, mathematics and history evokes a kaleidoscope of emotions. the author’s writing heightened everything and made the story more entertaining than the first time i read it. she incorporated so much history, culture and information behind the entire plot. what a page turner.

in France, four Houses–Nyx, Kore, Vanth and the Fallen–are part of the Order of Babel which safeguards their Babel fragment, the source of all Foraging power. diving into the art of Foraging and the history behind it brought about questions and secrets of the Order.

➸ séverin:

though last of the Montagnet-Alarie line and heir to House Vanth, séverin was denied his claim. he’s on the hunt to repossess his family’s Forged antiques which were auctioned off by the Order. as the leader of this found family, séverin’s protectiveness for all of them is as it should be. unless absolutely necessary, he wouldn’t put them in harm’s way.

séverin’s background is a fascinating one to unravel. throughout the book, readers are slowly exposed to séverin’s seven fathers who are embodiments of the seven deadly sins. with his fathers, séverin gained a little part of each sin which makes him a multifaceted individual.

Fear grew in places unlit by knowledge

romantically, there’s something going on with séverin and laila. nothing much happened between them because they have their own goals and dreams which made the other person hesitant to approach.

➸ tristan:

as the youngest of the six, tristan appears to be the softest character and has the most love for his pet tarantula. his affinity for liquid matter, specifically in plants, allowed him to create weapons and poisons. one of tristan’s greatest masterpieces is the Seven Sins Gardens of L’Eden which reflects each vice.

➸ enrique:

of Filipino and Spanish descent, enrique never felt belonged in either group. as a historian and a writer, his goal is enter the inner circle of a Filipino revolutionary group but shunned due to his Spanish appearance and heritage. through enrique, the author discussed the topic of colonialism by European countries in Asia. despite not having any Foraging talent, enrique carries his weight by reshaping the world with his words and vast historical knowledge.

“I had to do something to pass the time while you were making eyes at my historian.”
“Wait. I was bait?” demand Enrique.
“You’re flattered.”
Maybe a little.

➸ zofia:

nicknamed the phoenix, zofia is the engineer with a rare affinity for all metals and a talent with numbers. due to her talent with pattern recognition and exceptional memory, difficult puzzles were easily solved by her. using mathematical methods to solve the clues they received were fascinating. because of the nature of the Order and its relations to gods, methods were usually related to a combination of divinity and numerics. of course, this is where zofia shines the most.

as a Jew, zofia experienced Anti-Semitism which were explored on-page. Roshani Chokshi confirmed that zofia’s on the autism spectrum. socially awkward and shy, zofia doesn’t really speak up in group scenarios unless she needs to solve something. she finds it hard to understand jokes and innuendos.

“But once you break it, don’t let it touch your skin. Unless you want to disintegrate.”
She started laughing. Séverin and Enrique stared at her.
“See?” she said. “It’s like your joke earlier! Disintegrating!”

➸ laila:

the cabaret star named L’Énigme, an exceptional baker, and the mother of the group. laila, fiercely protective and sweet, holds the found family together. though she have no Foraging abilities, laila’s touch can draw out an object’s secret history. racing against time, her only goal is to find an ancient book that belongs to the Order. discovering laila’s past was one of the highlight that i didn’t expect at all.

If you get in the way of a woman’s battle, you’ll get in the way of her sword.”

➸ hypnos:

heir of House Nyx, hypnos used to be playmates and rivals with séverin. he’s a little childlike and has a desire to belong. unless he’s an amazing conman, i believe his need to be accepted is genuine. although he resorted to blackmailing, i don’t care. as a half-French and half-Haitian, hypnos grapples with his identity. an absolute drama queen but one i’ll always want to protect.

➸ the friendship:

Enrique whined, “Séverin doesn’t think I’m pretty.”
“Séverin, tell him he’s pretty,” said Laila.
Séverin crossed his arms. “Zofia, tell him he’s pretty.”
Zofia didn’t look up from her tea.
“I am personally undecided, but if we’re assessing based on objectivity, then according to the principles of the golden ratio, also known as phi, which is approximately 1.618, your facial beauty is mathematically pleasing.”
“I’m swooning,” grumbled Enrique.

Laila grinned widely. “My hero.
She kissed him on the cheek, and Enrique beamed. He wasn’t quite like the heroes he’d dreamt of becoming. He hadn’t saved a country from oppression or rescued anyone on his white horse… but he still felt rather impressive.
He turned to Zofia, about to congratulate her, when she crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m not going to kiss you like Laila did.”

“Am I pretty?” asked Enrique, plucking at his fake beard and patting his hands over his jowls, wrinkles, and age spots.
“Be honest.”
“‘Pretty is a stretch. Let’s call you ‘striking’. Or ‘impossible to look away from.'”
“Oooh. Like the sun?”
“I was think more along the lines of a train wreck.”

“Zofia has a spear.” Séverin looked behind him.
“Zofia, I said not to take anything but the [redacted].” He pointed at the spear. “You can’t keep it.”
Zofia glared at him.
“You stole a silver cloth and it’s in your jacket pocket.” Séverin considered this. “You can keep the spear.”
“Not fair!” said Enrique. “I didn’t take anything!”

“See?” said Laila. “What did I tell you earlier?”
Zofia gripped the edge of her seat. “That some people consider disrobing an art?”
“No, not that!” said Laila, as the driver blushed.
“I said that beauty was its own armour.” Zofia considered this. “I still don’t like dresses.” Laila merely smiled.

overall, everything is so intricately planned. the details are stunning and honestly, head-spinning because Roshani Chokshi is phenomenal at describing each scene, emotion and location. it’s a testament to her ability as a writer. i’m truly fortunate that the gilded wolves was my introduction into her books.

Scars sculpted people into who they were. They were scuffs left by sorrow’s fists, and to him, at least, proof of being thoroughly human.

before entering the spoiler section,

let’s chat:
who’s your favorite character from the six? and how scared should i be about reading the silvered serpents?

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➸ spoiler section ➸

the unwilling betrayal by tristan was hard to read because we all know that the was being manipulated by the phobus helmet under the hands of this mysterious roux-joubert guy who has the ring of house kore and now wants hypnos’s ring.

  • tristan’s death naturally would affect séverin the most especially once we found out that they’ve been close since séverin was “adopted” by wrath, tristan’s father. since they were younger, séverin promised tristan that he’ll protect the latter. ultimately, tristan died.

omg the love triangle between zofia, hypnos and enrique is confusing and painful to freaking read! can i not have this??!???! as much as i liked it, i can’t deal with the potential heartbreak.

so tristan died after they just got him back. AND laila found out that tristan was the one who have been killing all the birds outside the hotel, and not some random murderous feline.

AND the head of house kore just told hypnos that séverin isn’t the heir of house vanth. i’m not looking forward to séverin knowing the truth…

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