Fantasy (Teen)

Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [ARC]

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


This novel was on my TBR list from the moment I saw its cover – and it did not disappoint!

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) book cover

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)

by Namina Forna

Published September 8, 2020 by Delacorte
Series: Deathless
ISBN: 1984848690

Data from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

My Review: A New Favourite

TW: graphic depictions of violence, child abuse, self-harm

I read this book ages ago and waited a long time to post this review – but my thoughts are still the same: this was an amazing read!

The Pros: What Worked For Me

  • This novel is very feminist – and I LOVED IT! I’m always complaining about how feminist themes tend to take over the story but here, it was perfectly balanced and stayed empowering.
  • This book does not hold back on depicting violence (see TW above) but I actually liked it because it forces the reader to acknowledge that mistreatment and violence against women can be brutal.
  • I actually loved the plot of the story and the way the author created this new world for readers to delve into. This was a gritty novel packed with punches, and it kept me interested from the beginning!
  • I adored the characters in this story; they show so much growth and I connected to them all easily.

The Cons: What I Didn’t Like

  • I wasn’t a fan of the romance subplot. It wasn’t very well developed and frankly, I think it was unnecessary.
  • Whilst the pacing was mostly fine, there were moments when periods of time were skipped to accelerate the plot. I found that to be jarring and wanted smoother transitions.

I was really surprised to find out this wasn’t a standalone because the ending was wrapped up nicely – but I cannot wait for another foray into this amazing world that Namina Forna has created!

Have you read this book?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know in the comments!

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1 thought on “Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [ARC]

  1. Really enjoyed this one too! Loved the feminist themes and the characters. I agree that there were some issues with the pacing.

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