Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Author: Namina Forna
Series: Deathless #1
Publisher: Delacorte
Released: February 9th, 2021
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Death, graphic nature, dismemberment, gore, assault

4 kitties

I received a copy of The Gilded Ones in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Gilded Ones is the first in Namina Forna’s Deathless series. A series about empowerment and determination, against all odds – and against those who would strike them down.

Deka has spent the last sixteen years waiting – and dreading – this day. The day her blood is tested, and the day she’s accepted as a member of her village. Or not, as she will be worst than an outcast if her blood doesn’t run red.

Deka’s life changes forever on that day, as her blood runs gold. However, it doesn’t end. It cannot end. Here she is granted a choice, fight for the emperor with girls like her, or stay here and face a slow, agonizing death. It’s really no choice at all.

“Are we girls or are we demons?”

Wow. If you’re looking for a novel that will make you feel every possible emotion out there, then you’re going to want to pick up The Gilded Ones. Deka’s journey is powerful and painful, as she learns to fight all the lessons that have been buried deep into her mind since the day she was born.

Her journey is a beautiful one, but it is also dark. She faces many challenges, and some of them are going to make this a difficult book to read for some. I know that personally, I couldn’t read this book in one sitting (my preferred reading method, as I have no self control). It’s simply too heavy for that.

The Gilded Ones features a lot of graphic content, from the damage and pain that Deka takes, to the way society treats Deka and girls like her. It’s raw and painful to read about, especially because it’s so painfully easy to imagine being true.

Still, that element makes the conclusion, and Deka’s change over the course of this novel, all the more impressive. All the more powerful. It’s impossible not to cheer for her, and hope that there is something on the horizon. Not just for her, but for all the Gilded Ones.

“Never forget: the same gift they praise you for now they will kill you for later.”

The Gilded Ones is absolutely the heaviest YA novel I’ve read, and probably will read, this year. I also think it’s one of the more important ones, as the impact cannot be avoided. I’m already looking forward to seeing how Deka’s journey continues over the course of the next two novels, and can’t wait for news on their release dates.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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