The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy
Publishing Info: Audiobook by Hodder & Stoughton Audio, ARC, narrated by Laurie Catherine Winkel and P.J. Ochlan
Star Rating: 3/5
Back Cover Summary:
Paris, 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets.
Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: an engineer with a debt to pay; a historian banished from his home; a dancer with a sinister past; and a brother in arms if not blood.
Together they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history – but only if they can stay alive.
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change – one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires . .
Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing an audio ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Gilded Wolves originally came out a few years ago, but is now being published with shiny new covers in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton. Despite having heard a lot about this book, I had never read it, so was excited to get to read an audio ARC ahead of the UK audio release.
The amount of worldbuilding at the start is a little overwhelming, with so many details to get to grips with. However, the world and magic system is so creative and magical, and I was entranced from the very first page. I was totally swept away by the imaginative Forging and intriguing applications of the characters’ abilities.
I absolutely adore a good heist novel and there were plenty of twists in this one, along with a fantastic cast of characters. One of my favourite things about The Gilded Wolves is the characters, the friendships and relationships between them, their interactions and humour – that is what kept bringing me back to this book. It’s also great to see such a diverse multi POV cast, with BIPOC, LGBT, and autistic characters. Roshani Chokshi explores racism, colonialism, and many other important themes, interweaving these in well with the characters’ stories and showing the impact these issues have had on their lives.
Although I so wanted this to become a favourite, there were a few things that affected my enjoyment. I didn’t always feel that I understood everything, with difficult mathematics and puzzles I found hard to follow, and complex set pieces that were difficult to visualise. Some of the worldbuilding was a little vague and I didn’t totally understand the rules of the magic system, though in some ways I enjoyed the endless possibilities the lack of rules created.
Having mixed feelings throughout the book, it was up to the ending to decide which way I would lean. Unfortunately, the ending didn’t quite deliver for me, largely down to the tonal shift. The humorous dialogue throughout the book gave it a lighter edge, despite the life-and-death situations, so the darker tone of the ending was jarring. The final chapters were also very drawn out with lots of time skips, which made the ending less impactful.
The Gilded Wolves is a diverse and magical historical fantasy, with great characters and a twisting plot. Despite all the things I loved about this book, many of the set pieces were complicated and confusing, which sucked some of the excitement out, and the ending sadly just didn’t work for me.