Reviews tagging Vomit

The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

21 reviews

destdest's review

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

3.0

I think it was interesting for a story to play with the constructs of purity in a fantasy world. As usual, only girls’ purity is called into question and the "purest" girls are the most covered with mask adorned with gold or cheaper metals. We see Deka run herself ragged trying to meet her society's standards. She tries to be as devout as she can. 
 
Unfortunately, and understandably, Deka felt like such a sad sack the entire time. She's tortured in brutal ways and abandoned. I wasn't aware that this was a multiracial (why are there so many blonde and blue-eyed ppl? At least make it interesting, blonde and red-eyed?) fantasy world, so I was surprised at Deka being basically a magical biracial girl. On top of the impurity bs, she's isolated from her mom's side of the family and further alienated. With that being said, I fully understand that Deka’s dejectedness is a purposeful progression. 
 
The storytelling felt very slow-moving, and some readers may drop before they see Deka come to terms with herself. But my heart was gladdened once Deka did. I didn’t care about any of side characters, the allies Deka makes, though White Hands immediately piqued my interest. The conversations between Deka and Britta just never hit for me. Very ‘we’re friends because we sit next to each other in class’ vibes. I was indifferent to Keita. But I enjoyed the lady army, the commanders and the soldiers were ruthless.
Spoiler the final fight scene felt so technical. The emperor was acting so hammy.
 
 
Because I wasn’t endeared to any of the character, the reading experience was lackluster. I wonder if the author’s screenwriting experience played a part in the execution. Still, creating a fantasy story is no joke! 


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ananko's review

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adventurous dark emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious reflective sad 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

5.0


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kjeldaglimmerveen's review

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dark mysterious tense 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? No

3.25


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smithish's review

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adventurous emotional inspiring mysterious reflective 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? No

4.75

So good! I loved how open it was (specifically towards the end) about the feminist motivation behind the story, it really showed a lot. I don’t often read fantasy but it was one of my favourite Y/A reads.

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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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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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betweentheshelves's review

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

4.0

There is so much to love about this book! The world felt fresh to me, even if some of the tropes are repeats from other YA fantasies. Deka's voice was strong and really helped to carry the story. Even if the ending was slightly predictable for me, I didn't mind. The plot and the characters really helped to balance that out.

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theliteraryphoenix's review

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adventurous dark reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

 
Before I even dig into my review of this book, I want to take a couple minutes to fawn over the cover.  I absolutely love this cover – from the color scheme to the girl’s posture to the details and the style… this is one of the most striking and memorable covers I’ve seen in a while.  It was designed by Johnny Tarajosu and if you haven’t seen his work, I highly recommend checking it out.

The Gilded Ones has been on my wishlist pretty much since the moment it was announced, and with that comes some pretty high expectations.  After reading it, I have some mixed feelings.

The concept and the fantasy world behind The Gilded Ones is amazing.  Deka is excited for the Ritual of Purity so she can finally wear a mask and join the ranks of women in society… assuming, of course, that she is not found impure.  When her village is attacked and her blood runs gold, she is called “demon” and the Death Mandate is declared.  It is only through good fortune that she is recruited for the emperor’s elite army to kill the deathshrieks that plague the kingdom.

I love the story of the alaki.  Their mythology is fascinating and their abilities intriguing.  I also like the individual stories of the girls who become Deka’s bloodsisters, though I wish the information was given to the reader less easily.  And that’s my overall disappointment with The Gilded Ones.  The beginning of the book was rich and complicated.  It made me care about Deka and introduced the world a bit more gradually.  Most the book offered Deka opportunities on a silver platter, rushed through training, and blossomed relationships with few to no complications on the journey.  Deka did so much grow as a character as she instantly discovered something new after one interaction and changed her entire belief system, personality, or immediately mastered her abilities.

It’s a bit of a cruel thing to say, I suppose, but I wish Deka had struggled more.  She has so little opposition and mastered her powers so quickly that her story becomes unsatisfying.  The Gilded Ones had the foundation to be a unique and impressive fantasy epic – reminiscent of The Poppy War – but instead the story was rushed.  There were two twists, but neither of them were shocking or impressive because by the time they unfurled it was like, “Of course this is a thing. Because why wouldn’t it be.”

Maybe it was just my high expectations casting a shadow on the story, but I just wish Forna had taken a bit more time to slowly unravel the threads of The Gilded Ones and empowered Deka to make her own way rather than laying out a red carpet for her after the introduction.  It would be a much more interesting story, worthy of the world Forna created.  If you’re looking for an easy read without a lot of particularly complicated battle scenes or two-sided friendship and a little (just a little) kissing then the things that bothered me about The Gilded Ones will probably not bother you.  The concept is really good and it’s important to support Black authors, especially to show the industry that books about more than just Black pain and trauma will sell.  For those reasons, if nothing else, I suggest you read it.  Maybe you will love it! 

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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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