Published: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves just sounded so lovely that I couldn’t resist, plus I’ve not read Roshani Chokshi’s other books so it was all in all a perfect storm. I mean really, Paris in 1889 just sounded glamorous and with you throw in a dash of magic and thievery it gets even more exciting.
Severin Montagnet-Alarie is a dashing hotelier, artifact hunter, and disinherited son of House Vanth. He has surrounded himself with useful friends who can help him find a specific ancient artifact that could help to legitimize his standing as heir. He and his band of merry miscreants were somewhat reminiscent of Kaz and his crew from Six of Crows – Bardugo fans rejoice! I did feel that the characters in The Gilded Wolves were somewhat less criminal than those in Six of Crows, but the heist plotline definitely added to the similarities. I genuinely enjoyed each of the characters and even Hypnos head of House Nyx and his enthusiastic participation in the skullduggery grew on me with time. The cast was diverse in both origin and interests without feeling forced or haphazardly dashed together the way some self-proclaimed “diverse” SFF books do.
Now that I’ve glossed over characterization, we’re on to the plot. I fear I can’t give too much away but as I mentioned it’s a heist story that’s also a bit of a treasure hunt. Severin is trying to restore House Vanth, and two other houses currently stand proud with their magical artifacts, but there was once a fourth house. The fourth house was disbanded years and years ago, though rumors have always circulated that there were those still loyal who worked towards its restoration (or at least vengeance). The Order of Babel (the people who’re really in charge) are also kind of a big scary unknown and honestly, it’s been a few weeks since I finished the book I can’t remember what exactly they do – sort of manage the magic use? The plot is exciting, though there were periods of dilly-dallying that slowed the book down a little. I think the book would have benefited from a more solid grounding in House politics and function because I failed to care about it much at all. I think a prequel novella set around the time of the fall of House Vanth would have been awesome.
Overall, The Gilded Wolves was a dramatic book with just the right amount of Shocking Secrets revealed and at just the right times. There were emotional portions that actually evoked emotion because Roshani Chokshi wrote characters that were easy to like and engaged the reader. This book was unique enough for me to want to continue the series, though it didn’t quite sweep me off my feet. I’d definitely recommend this for fans of Six of Crows or any of those other YA books that have the “fantasy friend squad of exceptional talents” thing going on.