Publisher: Wednesday Books
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Release: January 15th 2019
I received a copy of Gilded Wolves through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Gilded Wolves is the first novel in a new series of the same name by Roshani Chokshi. Honestly, this is the first novel I’ve read by her and I wish I had found her sooner. Her writing style is exquisite and I never wanted the book to end!
The novel is one part fantasy, one part steampunk, and one part heist. There are also a couple of romantic subplots, which is a bonus. The characters that carry the plot are incredibly well written. Each one of the expanded cast is unique, from the way they act and dress to what their passions and motivations are.
Gilded Wolves takes place in Paris, 1889. But the Paris is this novel is very different from the one written about in history books. Here the elegance of the city is transcended thanks to the forging abilities of the people that live within it.
Forcing is very similar to magic, though it is somewhat more specific and specialized. Each character we’ve seen with a forging ability has had an affinity for one particular material. Some forge metals, others paper, yet others the mind.
One last thing worth commenting on before I begin my actual review: The cover. I honestly think this is one of my favorite covers so far. Admittedly I am partial to the deep green used, but it’s more than that. Even the cover speaks of elegance and fantasy all in one. It’s a perfect representation of the novel.
I honestly think I loved almost every moment of Gilder Wolves; even the twists that were designed to make me cringe. It was all so beautifully written. The writing felt like it flowed from one scene to the next, slowly building up the tension.
What really made this novel, in my opinion, were the characters. Originally we were introduced to five main characters. With time we’ve given the impression that a sixth might join the group (the jury is still out on that one). Six characters is a relatively large cast, especially before considering the number of secondary characters that are involved. But despite that, I never had a moment of trouble telling each one of them apart. Their way of thinking, speaking, and acting were all so clear and distinct.
The best part of these characters was their varied backstories and reasons for being involved. I’ll confess that I think they did the best job with the true main character, Severin. Each of his chapters started with an italicized backstory focused on one element in his past. All those moments were tied together with a common theme. It was brilliant and I found myself looking forward to those moments.
The rest of the characters fit their backstories well. Each one had a painful past, but they also had the drive to keep them going, and I respect that so much. Chokshi did a wonderful job of making these characters feel so painfully human at times.
The writing style allowed us to do more than just see what drove each character. At a certain point, it became impossible to avoid seeing the faults in these characters. The human faults, that is. Their obsessions, their weaknesses, their fears. All those elements were slowly revealed with time, but in the end, they all came into play as well. It was brilliantly done.
As for the plot…it was as intense as it was breathtaking and heartbreaking. The convoluted nature of their missions helped to obscure the true goals of those behind each scenario, leaving us at the edge of our seats.
It became quickly evident that there was more going on here than meets the eye. I enjoyed watching the plot unravel, as it showed a unique level of complexity. When combined with the fluid writing it became captivating.
I won’t talk too much about the conclusion here, for obvious reasons. I will say that I didn’t even remotely see it coming. Yet with some retrospection, I have to agree that it was all laid out to happen exactly like that. It was very well done.
Part of me is sad that I’ve finished Gilded Wolves. I know it’s early yet, but I rather hope that we’ll get news soon about the sequel. In the meantime, I think I’ll dig into Chokshi’s other works. I think she’s an author worth keeping an eye on.