book review

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

So, I actually started this at the end of 2020 but I read most of it in 2021 and Goodreads counts that towards my reading challenge so here we are!

The Gilded Wolves was one of those books that I originally had little interest in reading (I often struggle with a historical setting but that would be a whole other blog post) but slowly over time I heard more and more about it, or possibly more accurately there was beautiful fan art which made me immediately want to acquire and read it.

I’m really struggling to accurately summarise this book in a way that does it justice so I’m just going to post the goodreads summary:

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.

I was instantly drawn into this book. Honestly the first 50 pages had me hooked. Though I thought I was going into a historical setting it was actually an alternative world with magic which I adored. I felt like the opening chapters really sucked you in and gave you such a rich picture of the characters that I instantly fell in love.

I’d heard this compared to Six of Crows and I can see where that came from with the whole heist plot and the found family trope. However, I thought this book was very different. The whole cast of characters are already a close-knit group. I really enjoyed seeing how they all worked together and cared for each other. The setting, mainly in Paris, is obviously very different.

I’m struggling to pick a favourite character. I’m leaning towards Severin and Laila mainly because their chemistry was amazing and at the same time completely torturous. I really liked Severin’s drive while also being very protective over the group. His reaction to Laila’s dancing was **chef kiss** and damn I just need the details of their night together.

The rest of the characters though were also beautifully rich creations. I’m really trying to come up with more varied descriptions than amazing here. Zofia was such an interesting character, I loved her relationship with Laila and how Laila just seemed to get her, and how she lured her places with cookies. I loved her scenes with Enrique and their conversations just generally were amazing. I can’t decide whether I ship Enrique more with Hypnos or Zofia.

I feel like Tristan is perhaps the character I liked least but I felt like we didn’t get so much from him. He was really hilarious when talking about his pet tarantula Goliath and I loved the descriptions of how his magic worked.

For a book that I only have good things to say about I really did take a long time to read it. That was mainly because I instantly loved the characters, their relationships, and their little found family. It was so perfect, and I didn’t want them to go through any pain and I knew that was what was coming.

The ending of this book is like a punch in the gut. Minor spoilers ahead so skip if you don’t want: To get so close to a happy ending just to have it ripped out from under us. Just why? And the worst part is completely understanding characters, cough Severin, response but at the same time just screaming at them.

I will say that the ending left me desperate for more and I have already purchased the second book though I have since been slightly spoiled for it. I’m still so excited thought to see where the story takes us!

Overall, I struggled deciding whether this was 5* or 4.5*, in the end I went with the latter just because I would normally characterise a 5* as something I couldn’t put down.

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