Reviews tagging Xenophobia

The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

14 reviews

catphilli's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional inspiring 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? It's complicated

4.75

What a little gem of a book! I didn’t know anything about this book before buying it based on its gorgeous cover design 😂 Such a fantastic story that I think all young women should read - very hunger games esque just more whimsical. Very high praise coming from a hunger games stan. The commentary this book makes on society, sexism, racism and abuse is so powerful and easy to devour. It’s also a beautiful emotional story and is incredibly written throughout. Definitely a great one for me to dip my toe back into YA fiction!! 

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thevietvegan's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional 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? No

3.0

It’s extremely violent and graphic. But an interesting world 🤷🏻‍♀️ The pacing is jarring at times, things feel very skipped over, or fast forwarded. The author is a screen writer though, so this makes a lot of sense. Dialogue game strong, plot twist game strong. Ixa is everything haha. 

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florafauna's review

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adventurous dark hopeful inspiring mysterious 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? N/A

4.75


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alexis_k0's review

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adventurous dark emotional 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? It's complicated

5.0

This book contains lots of heavy topics so please check the triggers before reading it.

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kitvaria_sarene's review

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

4.0

This is straddling between upper YA or lighter (in prose and story, not in content or violence) adult in my eyes.

For an adult book it did lack a bit of depth to characters and plot here and there. However if I judge it as a YA book, I don't mind as it made for a much quicker and more immediately gripping read. So if you wonder about this title, and you don't like some typical YA tropes and a fast pace that might leave out some details for the benefit of being easier accessible, then it might not be for you. If you like YA and adult books, and don't mind quote some violence and gore, then yes, this might be for you!

While it had, as I said, some of the typical tropes of YA, it also avoided some of those and even turned some around.
I especially enjoyed that while there *is* a love story, most of it happens off page. This book is about finding your place in the world, your identity, and reliable friends and loyalties. The focus is never on the love story, but on the society and the struggles within it. 

Feminism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny and quite some other problematic themes are included here - and I thought they were well handled. I liked the "moral" of the story being something that just comes along with the plot, and didn't just feel like being pointed at what you should think.

The character development part of that same topic fell a bit flat at times. As in the characters learning something, and just going "ok" and changing their whole worldview within what seems like minutes. 
That's not always the case, some other bits slowly evolve, like the friendships and bonds between them. So it's a bit of a flaw, but not too much of one.

The end was a bit disappointing to me, as it just all seemed...
Too easy? Too quick? Not so much the "how it ended", but more like it being rushed a bit. The same as mentioned before, it just is a bit too fast paced for its own good and lacks a little bit of depth again.

What I did like however is that this story is closed enough that you could read it as a stand alone, but has enough new open questions to also allow a sequel telling what happens next. 

All in all it was a quick, gripping and thought provoking read I definitely enjoyed, despite some flaws!

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readingbetweenthenotes's review

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adventurous hopeful inspiring 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? Yes

4.0


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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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cereads's review

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful inspiring mysterious 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

4.5


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cupidities's review

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

3.5

The Gilded Ones is solid YA fantasy, and it does what (in my opinion) YA fantasy does best: using another world to challenge readers' perspectives on our own world. I can also see why this has gotten as much buzz as it has - the story is excellent, Deka is a strong character, the worldbuilding is awesome - but I never really got emotionally invested in the story. 

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