History is a myth shaped by the tongues of conquerors.
Title: The Gilded Wolves
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Length: 388 pages
Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
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.
After reading this book in fucking january, I'm reviewing it
Let me start by pointing out that I bought this book on hardcover because the cover was so beautiful that my kindle couldn’t do it justice.
(thank you, bookdepository, for free worldwide shipping)
This book has SO MUCH GOOD REP. The ensemble cast is super diverse and their relationships are so dynamic that there’s never a dull chapter.
We get a classical setting in Paris on the 1880’s but the story is from a completely different perspective than we are used to. We get main characters that are immigrants, poc and mixed race, queer, on the autism spectrum… Their experiences are relayed in a way that’s relevant to the plot and still remarks on the challenges they have on their daily lives. Each of them has a unique personality and abilities that are key to the success of their plans.
The plot is gripping, with history and magic and colonialism and heists, all fused so seamlessly that you just can’t stop reading.
The writing is flawless and I have more pages marked on my copy than unmarked. Roshani Chokshi is so good at words that I can’t pick just one favorite.
He knows exactly what he wants and goes for it. I have a lot of respect for Séverin, sure, he fucks up sometimes but he’s always trying to be better and that’s all you can do. My boy could be a bit more in touch with his feelings but with that backstory nobody can fault him. I’m really excited to see how much more he can grow in the next book
Laila is hot and knows it. I love when women can be sexual and it doesn’t take away from their characters. She was fun and enjoyed playing into the gossips about her.
Queen of my heart. She is part of the autism spectrum and I found the rep really good, and respectful. She went through a lot but was still so kind to everyone, I’m sad about that ending but hopefully they’ll figure something out in the sequel.
Enrique is a character I loved and the one I felt most identified with. The way he relates with his culture and his efforts to belong even though neither side wants him there. I just really loved how he was written and I may write a more in-depth post about him soon…
My baby didn’t do anything wrong in his life and we all know it, there was so much to him that I wanted to see. I really hope he isn’t actually dead, everyone (but especially Séverin, let’s be real) needs him!
I’ll be honest, I loved him from the start. Characters that are witty assholes are my time and he was STYLISH on top of that? Yes, thank you. AND THEN he turns out to be a badass good-guy, which confirmed my suspicions that Roshani is trying to kill me.
When we revise the horror and sanitize the grotesque, we risk erasing the paths that led us here.
I heard an interview that the author did for the podcast First Draft (you can listen to the whole thing here) and she talked about how important it is for people who have suffered colonization to retain their own stories. She said that, when the colonizers try to impose their own culture the only thing that survives from the original inhabitants are the horror stories, the things that scare us. It’s so important to keep our stories alive, to cherish those horrors that are the last thing we have from the people we were.
This persistent theme of resistance and revival of the oppressed is one thing I loved.
The discussions on race and performing for the white majority. We got different points on this, from Hypnos who can’t hide his skin so he decides to lean into his “mysterious” persona, to Enrique who is white-passing and so has a hard time connecting to his community. At no point is either of them treated as “the one doing the right thing”. Someone’s relationship with their race is something deeply personal and we can see that on the story.
THE HEIST WAS WILD. Seriously, when I thought it couldn’t get better something new comes up and I was even more excited. The plot kept twisting around me and I could only sit and enjoy it.
Witty banter being actually witty and engaging. Jokes landing on point and never out of place, or character. Just the dialogue in general was perfect.
AND THAT ENDING HAS OFFICIALLY KILLED ME DEAD
“When you are who they expect you to be, they never look too closely. If you’re furious, let it be fuel.”
People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.
Fear grew in places unlit by knowledge
Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.
“I think the greatest power is belief, for what is a god without it?”
Nothing was invincible but change.
I’ll give it five well-behaved spiders
Now for the giveaway! The fantastic team behind The Gilded Wolves have prepared a giveaway for all of you who have written reviews on the book::