book reviews

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna

This book is very much unlike any other YA books that I am familiar with. I was browsing through 2021 new releases at the library and came across this book. I am always trying to remind myself to read more recent books, and, fortunately, The Gilded Ones found its way into my hands.

I love a good fantasy, girl-power novel, and this book definitely delivered in those areas. The amount of detail about the magical world of this book is great, and the magical concepts are so unique and intricate. I enjoyed the way Forna captured the world in words and slowly revealed more and more of the complexities for the reader.

I came away from reading this book feeling like I could go out and be a badass woman warrior (although I am feeling very comfortable on my couch at the moment and don’t foresee myself getting up anytime soon). Deka, the protagonist of the book, is layered and complex and well-written, and it was really great to have her first-person narration throughout the story.

The plot of the story is action-packed and constantly moving which made it constantly engaging. I did find myself wanting a little more emotion and slightly less action, though. As I have said in previous posts, I am a sucker for emotion and that is probably the most significant factor for me when deciding whether I love or just like a book. Deka is a great character, but I wanted to know her a little better and more deeply. Her relationship (spolier??) with Keita is well-drawn out but I wanted more!

That being said, this book is the first in a series, and I see much potential in the books that are to come. Forna has set a up a well-developed world and has introduced many interesting and complicated characters, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here. I am so into the feminist themes and strong female characters in The Gilded Ones, and I think that is reason enough to give this book a read!

I give The Gilded Ones three stars. I enjoyed reading it, and I think that others, especially those who are into feminism and plot-driven novels, will too. I do see how this series could evolve in future books, and I do have high hopes for enjoying coming novels. Forna has a lovely, detail-oriented writing style, and I think that her writing will appeal to many other readers, especially fans of YA!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Have you read The Gilded Ones? Tell me what you thought about it in the comments!

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