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The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
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The Gilded Ones (original 2020; edition 2021)

by Namina Forna (Author)

Series: The Gilded Ones (1)

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4651841,333 (3.95)9
Member:kala__reads
Title:The Gilded Ones
Authors:Namina Forna (Author)
Info:Delacorte Press (2021), Edition: First Edition, Later Printing, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (2020)

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Unique worldbuilding but mixed with YA tropes and frustrations. There's a lot of telling and not showing (mainly in Deka's relationships: there's not nearly enough time spent on her friendship with the girl who's supposed to protect her with her life, or on her relationship with her love interest. When they confess feelings at the end I seriously wondered where it came from.)

Definitely on the higher end of YA. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Trigger Warnings: Racism, xenophobia, misogyny, inequality, abuse, trauma, rape

Deka has been anticipating the blood ceremony her whole life - she prays she will bleed red blood to prove once and for all to her village she is pure and that she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity, and Deka knows she will face consequences worse than death.

But, a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and accept her fate, or leave to fight in army made of girls just like her. Deka goes with the woman and meets other alaki, the girls who are like Deka. Alaki are near immortals with rare gifts - and they're the only ones who can stop the Deathshrieks, monsters who kill villagers.

Through the journey to the capital, Deka trains for the biggest battle of her life alongside people she calls her bloodsisters. There are secrets everywhere and no one is quite what they seem, including Deka herself.

I have been wanting to read this book for ages... the cover alone caught my attention and I just knew I would love it. I totally judged a book by it's cover, but this is one I could just tell I would love. I was right.

This is a super empowering YA novel that offers a large diverse cast of female characters. The main character is black and there are many black, Asian, and brown major and minor characters. All the characters were flushed out and had depth to them that made me curious to know more about them. Britta was one of my favorites, her loyalty to Deka and her humor always made me smile. Even characters I wasn't too fond of still had moments - like when the villagers were calling the alaki horrible names and saying how they don't want them here and Captain Kelechi was like, "Well then, who wants to take their place? No one? Then be quiet!".

There were only two things I had a bit of a trouble with. One was that the romance part of the novel fell a little flat for me. I felt like Deka had other worries and concerns that we focused on more... it wasn't that I didn't want or like them together, there were just more interesting things happening than that. The other part was a bit of the pacing. There would be some months that we fast forwarded through that would only be briefly mentioned by Deka. It was mostly during training and I completely understood there wasn't anything crazy going on, but I wouldn't have minded a few more details here and there.

The ending was kind of crazy and I honestly wasn't expecting it, especially since it's the first book of the series. It makes me super excited to see what the next book is going to be about though!

Overall, I loved this novel. The characters and their development were well thought out and detailed, the plot was engrossing and amazing, and the writing was phenomenal. Namina Forna put a lot of work into this novel and it shows, what an excellent author she is. I would recommend this series to fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Black Panther, and The Good Luck Girls. ( )
  oldandnewbooksmell | Sep 24, 2021 |
This books gorgeous cover is the reason why I picked it up and I really enjoyed. It is definitely dark and rather graphic but the story truly held my interest. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Definitely a 4.5.

CW: body mutilation, torture, talk of past rape

I have been waiting to read this book since the first time I saw that gorgeous cover. The color scheme and the stunning young Black girl on the cover impressed me immediately and I was so happy when I got the advance copy. But when the release date got pushed to this year, I decided to pick it up closer to when it comes out. And this was wonderful.

I started reading this the day after I sprained my ankle and was confined to the bed, so I really needed a good distraction. And this one turned out to be so good. The story starts off with a bang and it never slows down, keeping us engrossed in it throughout. The mythology and culture of this world is both fascinating and brutal, but just as we think we know something, we are bombarded with more twists and revelations and I couldn’t even imagine taking a break from the book. The writing also felt very personal and full of feeling, making us deeply invested in the proceedings and get emotional whenever something happened. The author also never shies away showing the cruelty of the people in this world, especially towards women whom they consider impure and it’s horrifying to read, but it’s also a tale of strength and survival.

Deka is such an amazingly written character. She is a young woman who has kind of been an outcast all her life and just wants to below. But then her life is upended and she is put through such ordeals that it is very despairing, but it also drives her to become a survivor. And after losing the only people she knows in such a brutal manner, the bonds she makes with her fellow survivors was a joy to watch. Her absolute trust of her fellow alaki women, who have equally suffered, and the way they all derive strength from each other was immensely satisfying to read. I am especially in love with her beautiful friendship with Britta who is a ray of sunshine among all the darkness. The bonds these women slowly form with male recruits who initially hate them is also very organically developed in the story, and it never felt contrived. And Keita and all his friends made great additions to a story which was otherwise full of misogynistic men, wanting to completely control women.

The author mentions in her note that this was her story about patriarchy and it’s vivid in every single page. This is the story of what happens when men decide they can’t have women be in any powerful positions, and what kind of lengths they will go to convince the whole population that women are meant to be subservient only. But this is also about women who can change their understanding about themselves if given the opportunity, and take their destiny into their own hands when they stand together, along with some men who are not scared to be supportive of them.

In conclusion, this is a stunning portrayal of what a brutal patriarchal fantasy world can look like, and what women can achieve when they decide they’ve had enough. It’s a story of resilience, survival and strong friendships which will definitely leave a mark on you. I feel lucky to have read such a marvelous debut and I can’t recommend it enough. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Okay. So. I finally finished this book and... woah, I'm really looking forward to the next one.

This was way more fast paced than most fantasy books, but I really loved the world building and... damn, the whole idea of the Deathless universe is amazing.

But, the romance was a little disappointing. I mean... Keita and Deka were obviously going to get together. It was just... way too obvious and a bit forced in my opinion .

However, wow! This book was amazing and some moments were... woah.

Recommended! ( )
  SapphireMoonlight23 | Aug 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forna, Naminaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lazzaretti, RobertMapmakersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parcell, TrishDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reiter, BeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Small, ShaynaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
TarajosuCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my father, who taught me how to dream. To my mother, who taught me how to do. And to my sister, who supported me all the way.
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Today is the Ritual of Purity.
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