Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves

Here’s a quick pitch that I’ve taken to using whenever I talk about The Gilded Wolves: Six of Crows meets National Treasure meets Indiana Jones… in Paris. If that is enough to get you hooked on the idea of preordering this novel to read as soon as it comes out, I’ll consider my job done here.

But if you need a little more insight into why I think The Gilded Wolves is such an enjoyable, excellent read, never fear – I’ve got you covered with the rest of this review!

The Gilded Wolves is set in Paris in the year 1889 and follows the adventures of Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. Séverin is a wealthy hotelier to the world, and a treasure hunter to a select few, and he’s been determined to reclaim his true inheritance as a member of one of the French houses of the Order of Babel. In order to do this, he must locate and secure a powerful ancient artifact with the help of his found family: Tristan, Enrique, Zofia and Laila. The combination of their decided talents in science, history and magical abilities might be the key to their success. But, like any underhanded deal, there may be more to this mission than meets the eye.

I can easily admit to The Gilded Wolves being my favorite novel from Roshani Chokshi (though I’m intrigued by A Crown of Wishes and intend to read that one). The appeal of this novel, at least to me, lies in three specific aspects: the world, the story and the characters.

One of the things I liked about The Star-Touched Queen when I read it a couple of years ago was the way the world came to life through descriptive turns of phrase. Roshani Chokshi has a lush writing style that really succeeds in making her worlds and characters pop right off the page – and that was certainly also the case with The Gilded Wolves. While The Star-Touched Queen meandered through descriptions a touch too heavy-handed, the way that her descriptions – of the locations, of the events, of the characters and their appearances – were woven into The Gilded Wolves was much more to my personal taste. Plus, the historical and mythological references are also a treat! It’s a surprising rarity for me to feel truly transported to another world when I read something, so it was a real treat to have that experience with this novel. I’m particularly fond of the particulars of the hotel where the gang resides (especially Tristan’s garden and Laila’s kitchen), as well as how Roshani Chokshi used moments riddled with details to really make these characters stand apart as individuals… but more on that shortly.

Instead, let’s move on another aspect I loved: the story. I already mentioned three comp titles earlier, and essentially, what Roshani Chokshi managed to do was take all my favorite things about them – a large ensemble cast, character relationships, heists, magic, history, science, puzzles – and combine them to create The Gilded Wolves. I already alluded to a lot of historical and mythological references earlier, but I needed to mention them again because those details play a big part in the story… and that’s all you’ll be hearing about that. This novel is also one of the books I’ve read that engaged my attention from the start! It has action-packed moments, feels-packed scenes and plenty of banter and humor laced all throughout. I genuinely found myself entertained and emotional at turns up until the very end. (And oh, that ending certainly gave me a lot of feelings!)

But it is the main cast of characters that really made The Gilded Wolves such a great read. I really loved them all! Séverin is a young man filled with determination to claim his rightful place no matter what that takes and for the benefit of the (found) family he loves. Tristan is his brother in all but blood, with a predilection for his pet spider Goliath, working in his garden and caring deeply for their family. Laila is a talented baker and a gifted dancer with a dark past that might take away her future. Zofia is an excellent engineer with a gift for Forging metals, who finds it easier to navigate equations over conversation. And Enrique (my personal favorite!), is a Spanish-Filipino historian and linguist who is determined to leave his mark on the world. These five individuals (and a sixth, who I won’t mention just yet for fear of spoiling anyone) wormed their way into my heart, some in an instant, some over time. The result though is that I care deeply about them, and I’m invested in discovering the outcome of their journeys. (I’m also equally in love with their relationships because the sheer amount of love, banter, conflict and consideration that went on really tugged at my heartstrings.)

I’m sure it’s obvious that I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Gilded Wolves. It really hit my sweet spots when it comes to stories, and I’m so glad for that! It pains me a little that I must wait a whole year for the sequel, but I am eagerly anticipating having that one in my hands. I would definitely recommend pre-ordering this novel or picking up a copy at your local bookstore on release day, and I hope you end up loving it as much as I did.


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi | Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Publisher: Wednesday Books | Publication Date: January 17, 2019
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

1 comment

  1. I have been hearing so many good things about this book and I can't wait to try it. I wasn't a huge fan of her other book that I read, but I always give an author a two book try. :)

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