book reviews

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Rating: 4.5/5

Publication Date: February 9th, 2021

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.


I went into this book not really knowing anything about the book except that the cover is just stunning and WOW. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. I really had no idea what I was getting into but like right from the first page I was totally hooked. Deka’s voice was great and I really enjoyed reading in her POV.

The world building and “magic” and political system were really well done. I had no trouble understanding it even though I went in with zero prior knowledge about what the book was even about or anything. I LOVED that. I usually have a hard time keeping up with characters and while I did have trouble keeping up at first (because my memory is terrible, everyone who reads my reviews knows this) I grew attached to all the main characters.

This book had me at the edge of my seat throughout the book. I was seriously intrigued by Deka’s predicament. I’m trying really hard not to give away anything that isn’t in the goodreads synopsis above, but it’s hard because the plot thickens very quickly and it was incredibly difficult to put this book down when I had to. The last like half of teh book I just read so fast it was incredible!

The only reason I knocked off half a star was because the ending just happened so quickly and I wasn’t really sure what happened to be honest? And that might be because I was reading so fast but I’m not one hundred percent sure.

Other than the ending though, this was such an interesting premise and not something I’d ever read anything like before? The deeper meaning behind it was not lost on me I’m just not capable of wording this review correctly in order to discuss the important topics that were brought to light and I don’t want to say anything misinformed. I definitely think it raised important discussions about racism and war while remaining a fantasy realm which was really great.

If you like darker fantasy, a powerful sisterhood and an especially powerful female character, the power of using your voice, mysterious transformations, scary monsters, and a really fast paced book, I would definitely recommend this one! Also if you like shapeshifting pets, intriguing magic and politics, and crazy twists and edge of your seat suspense, definitely pick this up!

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