review: the gilded wolves by roshani chokshi

“I think the greatest power is belief, for what is a god without it?”

The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi

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.

GOODREADS BUY THIS BOOK

rep: french-algerian mc, filipino-spanish bi mc, south-indian mc, neurodivergent jewish mc, haitian-french bi mc,

cw: violence, mind alteration, spiders, child abuse, anxiety, character death, racism, torture

The Gilded Wolves
Roshani Chokshi
Wednesday Books
388 pages

I’ve rarely read an ensemble cast that fits so well. The Gilded Wolves is just that good.

I loved The Gilded Wolves so much I actually lack the words. I just want to scream on top of roofs how great this book is.

The story follows five thieves in 19th century Paris, each specialized in their own domain. They have been working together for quite some time, and the trope of the found family is really on point. Trust me, you just need a few pages before wanting to adopt them all. I loved their banter, and how they all fit together so well, even with newcomer Hypnos, while all having their own personality, their own flaws, successes and goals. Plus, the whole cast is full of diversity: biracial, South-Indian, Filipino-Spanish, neurodivergent Jewish, bisexual characters…It was refreshing and really addictive to read such characters.

Now, onto the plot: it was great. I mean, the whole book was, so who’s surprised?
The whole group is hired by patriarch Hypnos of House Nyx to collect a forgotten (and « forged ») object to protect a fragment of the Babel Tower. In exchange, their leader Séverin will regain his inheritance as the patriarch of House Vanth, who died with his father. But enemies are coming from the shadows, as followers of the fallen House — whose name must not be pronounced — are after the artifact too. With The Gilded Wolves, you’re in for a plot full of mathematic and historic enigmas, lethal subterranean corridors, and, of course, the glamour of balls and parties. The Gilded Wolves is a well-paced mix between Indiana Jones and Anastasia. And trust me, you’ll love it.

“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye, I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’ve stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”

The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi

The pace of the story was really good too: not too fast, not too slow, with epic moments and reflecting ones. The story alternates between several points of view, and it helps to set a good pace. You can’t get bored while reading The Gilded Wolves, as Roshani Chokshi perfectly masters her plot. However, be careful: you might not be able to put it down once you start it. I was enjoying every twist of this book, every line of it. The author writes beautifully so: you’ll love the beauty of her metaphors, the sass of all her characters’ banters, the tensions she puts in every relationship.

You’ll also be taken away by the romances, but fear not: this is not the main point of the story. Sure, one of them is important and will have consequences. The other will steal your heart (it did with mine at least). But they are not the main point. Roshani Chokshi rather concentrates her story on the plot and gives all kinds of relationships her full attention. Finally, the friendships, family-like relationships, are definitely the best, and you’ll dream to be a part of their band of mischiefs.

Note : 5 sur 5.

If you should only keep one thing of this review is how great The Gilded Wolves is. It seduced me from the first pages and stole my heart along the way. I cannot wait for the Silvered Serpents to be out in the world (pub. September 2020), and to find my way back to these characters I learned to love so fast and so much.
You’ll love The Gilded Wolves if you love stories of heists, found-family groups, well-written fantasy in an alternate version of our world, and plots that keep you on the edge of your seat.


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