The Gilded Wolves is one of those books I wasn’t sure I would like. It started off slow with a lot of characters and what seemed like a lot going on all at once. But The Gilded Wolves is also one of those books where after you read to a certain point, the story consumes you entirely and you don’t want to stop reading until you reach the end. (Only to learn it’s a trilogy and the ending doesn’t quite resolve everything.)
Séverin Montagnet-Alarie has one goal: to reclaim his birthright as the heir of one of the four houses of the Order of Babel. To do so, he strikes up a deal with a member of the Order to locate an ancient artifact. He recruits a band of unlikely experts to get the job done, but as they move deeper into the secrets of the Order, they discover other forces at work. Forces that threaten the Order and their lives.
I’ve read a lot of people’s reviews comparing The Gilded Wolves to Six of Crows, which is an unfair comparison. It’s easy to make a connection between Laila and Nina or Tristan and Wylan or even Séverin and Kaz (if, you know, Kaz actually had a heart and could be attracted to someone without throwing up in his mouth). But other than the story being about a ragtag group of six performing a heist, The Gilded Wolves couldn’t be more different than Six of Crows. The plot is different, the magic is different, the setting is different—the who, the what, the how of the actual heist are completely different.
Do I think that fans of Six of Crows can enjoy The Gilded Wolves? Certainly. I’m one of them. But they aren’t the same, and that’s okay.
While it took me time to warm up to most of the characters, I immediately loved Zofia. She is, in my opinion, the queen of this book and I cannot wait to see how her character arc stretches over the rest of the trilogy. But the other characters are great too, and by the end of the book, I was rooting for all of them, even Hypnos! There are so many layers to these characters that are just waiting to be unraveled even further.
The Gilded Wolves is cool because not only does it blend the heist plot with treasure-seeking puzzles, but the setting sets this whole mood that is absolutely freaking gorgeous. You think “gilded” is just the title. No, this book is written in gold. The descriptions are stunning, and you bet I was salivating over the details of the food or the dresses. I want them all.
And the magic. Be still my heart, the magic in this was complicated and intriguing. I have so many questions that I hope will be answered in forthcoming books. But let’s just say I have a weakness for historical fantasy so if you give me 1880s Paris with magic, I’m going to show up big time. I wish there had been more concrete details of Paris, though, because other than the occasional French word or description of the Eiffel Tower, I thought the setting could be almost any historical European city.
The aspects of The Gilded Wolves I am so-so about are few. Séverin and Laila pining over each other constantly is a tad annoying throughout the book (just kiss already!), but the ending kind of makes it worth it. Also, it is a bit predictable who the bad guys are, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since I don’t know if it was supposed to be shocking or not. But there are still a lot of lingering questions about the whole conflict that will build up the plot for the next two books. Then there’s also a certain shocking incident that happened at the end of the book that is completely unnecessary, Chokshi. I may never forgive you.
Overall, The Gilded Wolves far exceeds my expectations for a historical fantasy novel. The characters, the lavish descriptions, and the puzzle plot give this book a unique twist. For fans of Six of Crows, heists and treasure hunts, or anybody who wants to be swept away to magical 1880s Paris, read this book.
~I checked out a copy of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi from my local library and chose to write this review of my own free will. All opinions are my own.~