September 29, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Found Family Heist With Diverse Cast And Cultural Themes Makes Gilded Wolves By Roshani Chokshi A Gem Among Fantasy Reads (Reread)- Review

Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi was the first blog tour I was ever offered. Of course, my mom’s health is paramount, and I never would suggest that anything should come before it. Beyond that statement missing not just the opportunity of my first tour but missing out on this one is something that does pang me.

I say that again, not because I would ever change my actions but to thank St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books. When I explained why I backed out of the tour and then asked about Silvered Serpents, they not only remembered but inquired about my mom. They also provided an ARC of Silvered Serpents the first day they NetGalley and have put up with my inquiries about the possibility of a tour for Silvered Serpents. For that, I want to say thank you.
Gilded Wolves
And so, when Silvered Serpents was granted to me, it took all of a nanosecond for me to grab Gilded Wolves and begin a reread that took all of approximately ten hours over two days. Truthfully, it would have been one day, but I started after work on Friday. ???? I was also thrilled to realize that in some stroke of insanity I was also still able to post it on NetGalley, which is unheard of after so much time had passed?!
And with that background…. Here’ we go…
Gilded Wolves is a Historical Fantasy set in 1880s France at the L’Eden Hotel, which is owned by the main character, Severin.
Anyhow, heists? Check. Found family? Check. Icing on the biggest slice of cake ever? I’m a history geek. So yeah. Double check.
What I didn’t know going in the first time? My younger self had read and seen the DaVinci Code with my mom… Helloooo NURSE!
A secret society of the Order Babel resides in Paris. It was run by four houses. One has since fallen and once that they have since claimed their lineage to be dead. Magic resides throughout Paris whereby should you be gifted with the magic of mind or the magic of matter it will show itself by age thirteen. However, not everyone is gifted with this magic.
A found family of characters led by Severin help him with acquisitions, for different reasons.

  • Severin- Leader and on a mission to take back a destiny stolen from him and protect Tristan at all costs.
  • Laila- A dancer with the Magic of Mind – the ability to read an object by touching it- she can tell about the person who wears their clothes or the objects history. She is dealing with PTSD, and a mystery of her own. When Severin is offered a new job, she has her own reasons for needing it to succeed.
  • Enrique- A Historian with a gift for languages that helps Severin with his acquisitions and is dealing with a world that he doesn’t fit into.
  • Zofia- The Engineer with the Magic of Mind- Think Firestarter- dealing with PTSD, anxiety and possibly OCD, highly gifted in math (when she is highly anxious- she uses math, numbers, patterns to find peace/calm), running from her past and trying to fix what she feels she’s taken from her family
  • Tristan- Magic of Matter- Botanist- Severin thinks of him like a brother because they grew up together and Severin protected him from a lot. He has a pet tarantula that he loves… A LOT.
  • Hypnos- The character that you really don’t want to like but you just can’t help it. HE IS HYSTERICAL. He pulls a lot of the strings of the job they are sent on and has all the logistics they need.

Character wise, you couldn’t ask for much more than these lovelies. You want the world for all of them. Each have suffered and are fighting for answers, for what they are owed, to get back things they have lost and for some, what they feel they have taken from loved ones.
In this fantasy, Chokshi has created one of, if not the most diverse groups of characters I’ve encountered. Layer that on top of the fact that she truly interweaves it into the story. She shows it, rather than tells it. On a cultural and sexual level there is an intersectionality that is built into the story without being overt. And it isn’t just the character’s identity, but it is the story. It is in the plot not just in the characters.
There is an underlying message in Gilded Wolves through the greed in the Order of Babel’s actions. In doing so there are cultures that are being expunged. And a whole lineage they are lying to keep dead. Because of this, others are vying for power utilizing their religious beliefs that could have cataclysmic consequences.
And truthfully? That is the magic of Chokshi’s writing throughout Gilded Wolves. This is a fantasy book that is entertaining and fun. It is a heist book with a found family.
It is also a book with a message, with themes that need to be heard. And when you show them. When you don’t just tell them? They are that much more impactful because they aren’t just overt. They don’t just hit you over the head like you are being preached to. They have the impact by being shown through characters you love that you see as people and a story you are invested in. They reach inside at the heart of readers.
Chokshi shows everything. Nothing is spoon fed, nothing is just handed to the reader. There is history, language, math and none of it is just given to you. It is something you immerse yourself into happily. It is an experience to read Gilded Wolves. Nothing less.

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