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Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Title: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Publisher: Usborne

Length: 432 page

What a stunning cover!

Synopsis: Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she can become a member of her village. If she bleeds red, she will belong. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. The consequences force Deka to leave her village with a mysterious woman, destined to join an army of girls like her – the alaki, girls who are near-immortals with rare gifts, and the only ones able to stop the empire’s greatest threat. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the battle of her life, Deka discovers the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem – not even Deka herself.

Yes. Yes to this book. It was everything I wanted and more. I’d seen so many people love this one, so my expectations were high but this surpassed all of them. I need all my fantasy to be this good. I’ve been struggling to read fantasy lately but I had no problem with this. I loved every page.

The Gilded Ones is full of fantastic characters. Deka, who has to deal with so much in a fantasy world, like not being ‘pure’, or deathshrieks. She also has to deal with racism, misogyny, abuse and trauma. But its all dealt within this fantasy world and its really cleverly done. I love the fact that you’re getting to discover everything as Deka does and it just makes you rot for her even more. She’s so complex and it’s handled beautifully. It’s black girl magic and I love it. It’s full of brilliant female characters and their comradeship is so powerful. Again, its Namina addressing patriarchy within our world, but dealing with it and educating us with this fantasy world. I mean, the literally call girls who aren’t pure demons. There’s some brilliant side characters especially Britta, she has my whole heart. Can we get a spin-off? I’ll let you meet the others yourself when you read this book.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the connections between the characters. Namina really knows how to build relationships. *SPOILER ALERT* The relationship between Deka and Keita is a beautiful slow-burn romance. I love how slowly they began to trust each other and then helped each other. It just makes the romance so believable to me. The friendship between Deka and Britta, I love it. I love how loyal Britta is, how open she towards Deka. I love her. Also the connection between Deka and Whitehands was so interesting. It was tense, and you weren’t always sure how it was going to turn out, and it made it so interesting. I also loved to see the lgbtq representation in this book. Namina knows how to write relationships, and it’s fantastic to read.

The pacing in this book is perfection. You can feel the plot building and building until the very end. There’s so much going on in the plot to keep the reader hooked. It’s full brilliant action, especially towards the end. Namina just built momentum throughout and you can’t put the book down. It felt so cinematic at times. Yes, I want them to make it into a movie, but they better not mess this up because its perfection to me. The world building is also brilliant, its so immersive. You get so much detail and descriptions of the world but its never overwhelming or just a lot of information. It’s all needed.

Also, there was point in this book that had me so shocked and made me cry. It was one of those moments that you can’t believe what’s happened and you had to put the book down to take it all in. That’s all I’ll say on that. You’ll now what I mean when you read it. And I won’t even talk about that twist!!

So I guess the only thing left to say is when is book two out? I’m excited for it already. I’m excites to see where the story will and how the characters and their relationships will develop. If you love fantasy, read this book.

It’s out now

Until the next review

Jthbooks