Reviews tagging Racial slurs

The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

6 reviews

theespressoedition's review

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adventurous challenging emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.0

Well, I've discovered something about myself while reading this book: I don't care for war/warrior stories, especially when it comes to fantasy.

I realize a lot of my disinterest in this book stems from the audio because I wasn't a huge fan of the narration style. However, I also just didn't love the story itself. It felt like it dragged on, with an excess of description and lack of action. There was such a huge focus on what was so different about the MC that when the "big reveal" happened, it seemed like a letdown because it was nothing unusual.
SpoilerIf it had been a brand new creature of some sort, I would have been fascinated, but finding out that she was just the ruler/killer of the species was a bummer


Usually, at the end of a slower book that I didn't love, I still have an interest in reading the sequel. However, for this book, it didn't keep me interested enough to pick up the next book. I'm just not enthralled with the characters or what happens to them. 

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plumpaperbacks's review

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adventurous challenging emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

I went into The Gilded Ones expecting a fun fantasy story, and was surprised not only by its heavier themes but also by just how good it was from the very beginning.

This is one of the most unique, immersive stories I’ve read in some time. Forna created a brilliantly intricate world that, despite a few basic similarities to other fictional worlds, is overall unlike any I’ve read about before. The mythology is so vivid it nearly seems real, the creatures and setting so impressively creative, yet none of it is confusing or difficult to understand.

Forna outdid herself writing a complex, diverse and lovable cast of characters. Deka is a protagonist I rooted for as soon as I met her, and it took very little time for me to be equally charmed by her friends, Britta, Belcalis, and Adwapa. These girls have endured so many hardships and gotten stronger because of them, without losing their vulnerability or the best parts of their personalities. Not only were they all great on their own, but their friendship was phenomenal and so heartwarming. One of the best girl squads I’ve ever read about, undeniably.

I would say the romance was one of the best parts, but honestly, every part of this book could be described the same way. The romance is subtle until the final third of the book, when it becomes clear that Deka and Keita have feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. Their slow-burn romance is memorable because it’s written differently than those in so many other books. It’s focused not on passion and lust but a deep connection between two people, a tender, unwavering affection. I love them so much, more than I can express.

Although the ending was emotional in numerous ways, it wasn’t a cliffhanger, and I appreciate that very much. Even without one, I’m extremely eager for the second book. I’ll be eagerly awaiting any scrap of news I can find.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s spectacular in every aspect, and the fact that it’s Forna’s debut novel is mind-blowing. I can definitely see the Deathless trilogy becoming an all-time favorite, since the first book is already there. Highly, highly recommended for those who can handle the content.

Representation
  • Black protagonist
  • side characters of color (includes Black rep)
  • sapphic side characters
  • minor sapphic side romance (f/f)

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megloveswords12's review

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adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


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hungryandhappy's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.5

4.5 stars

*ARC from NetGalley*

Take chosen one main character girl, give her immortality, add some golden blood, super strong monsters girls army, and deathshrieks. Yes, that's how the villains in the book are called because they shriek and they look very deadly or like death, you choose.

Deka is different from other girls, and not the way of the usual YA trope. She has black skin in a country where there are all white, blonde and with blue eyes. She's already looked at like an outsider so when her blood was deemed impure, running gold instead of red, she is tortured until a mysterious woman she called White Hands, offers her the choice of joining an army of girls just like her, the alaki. Just like that Deka's adventure starts, full of mystery, twists, but more importantly a found family unlike any other.

Deka's deep friendship with Britta was so sweet. Yes, there was a bit of romance in the story, but the friendship Deka makes while with the other alaki is truly was made this book even more remarkable in my eyes. We rarely see stories about friendships, people you trust and are willing to die protecting you and you protecting them. All the girls, with their suffering, came together to defeat the greater evil and accepted their monstrous selves. Because people call them monsters. Are they, though? Or are they more? That's for you to find out.

Excellently written, got me invested and afraid at the same time. Amazing first book of a series that I can consider unmissable. It has all the elements of a remarkable YA fantasy and it will get a lot of attention, I just know it.

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yunathealien's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional inspiring slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

I'm in love with this book.
The main character goes through such a big change, from a scared little girl to a brave warrior. I loved and rooted for her so much.  And not just her but also her sisters! They were all different but still all amazing, I can't even say, who's my favorite character.  The relationship between them was greatly written and developed and so heartwarming.  
The world is super amazing and totally new. I have to say I'm not sure if the author created all of the creatures herself or if they are heavily inspired by folklore but whatever it is, I loved it. 
And the plot? Chef's kiss!

But unfortunately I still have issues :(
Firstly the love interest Keita was pretty bland and had nearly no character. He does have a backstory but even that one is pretty standard and didn't feel originally. 
And because of his blandness the whole love story wasn't great. It felt pretty insta lovey and i have no idea what's exactly it that Deka likes about him. It's not explained or explored. And the scenes where they interact and tell us that they get closer to each other could have easily been scratch out and it wouldn't make a big difference. This whole relationship between them did nothing for the plot or any motivation to the main character.

But other then that, I absolutely loved it and I can't wait for the next book! 

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teapartyprincess's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

There is a reason I have already read this book twice in 2021. It is absolutely excellent, an amazing fantasy.

This book is brutal and harsh and comes with a whole heap of content warnings, but it is utterly brilliant. The character development is exquisite, and the twists in the story are breath-taking. Deka goes through so much, and I love how her relationship with herself and her world changes. I love the challenges to misogyny ad religious bigotry.

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