The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: 15 January 2019
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
This review is spoiler-free.
The YA book world is currently buzzing about The Gilded Wolves, a new heist novel from Roshani Chokshi that looked like so much fun. It has heists! Diversity! 17th century Paris! Magic! What’s not to love? I went into this book with high expectations, and while I liked it well enough I just didn’t love it as much as everyone else seems to at the moment. While there were aspects that were good, I had some issues with other parts.
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, Severin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Severin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Severin 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 is one of those books that beautifully blends historical fiction and fantasy. The world building in this book is just lovely, and I have a soft spot for books that manage to make the past a little more magical. There are a few main settings throughout the book, but my favourite was L’Eden, the hotel that our characters live in. It’s gorgeous halls and lush gardens made it such a lovely and memorable setting.
It is pretty much impossible to talk about this book without mentioning the character, as they really drive this book. The dynamic between our thief crew is really great and the banter they have is so much fun, but it did feel out of place with the historical setting. My favourites among the group were Zofia, our neurodivergent inventor, and Hypnos, a member of the aristocracy, but not the thieving crew, who’s incredible sass made me absolutely adore him. Although I liked the other main characters, these two stood out the most for me.
My main issues with the book are around the plot. To be frank, it just wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I think that heist novels are tough to pull off because you must show how every single moment within the heist is vital to the overall plan, and The Gilded Wolves just didn’t pull this off. Each action needed to be very clear and the reader must be able to follow very easily. I didn’t understand some of the aspects of each con, particularly in the opening pages of the book. I think the reason for this is due in part to the fact that bits were used to introduce later elements, such as the mirror powder in the opening scenes, and it just didn’t work. In addition, the overall plot didn’t seem as meaningful as it could have because the characters overpower it.
The more I think about The Gilded Wolves, the lower my rating gets. I just don’t think it lived up to its full potential and it really was a bit disappointing for me. I might continue on with the series, but it isn’t on my list of hyped books for next year.
Want to give The Gilded Wolves a try? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):