Reviews tagging Trafficking

The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

20 reviews

gheron's review

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adventurous dark 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? It's complicated

4.75


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ceciliahagelby's review

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adventurous hopeful mysterious 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? N/A

4.25


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kuweiyulbo's review

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adventurous challenging dark inspiring mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • 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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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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thefoxyreader's review

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

2.5

 
While Namina Forna shows some promise as an author with an interesting beginning and some great connections to social topics, the tired old Chosen One tropes, a boring love story, and the messy worldbuilding made this an ultimately disappointing read.

The Gilded Ones is a YA Fantasy novel that takes place in a fantasy world where teenage girls are bled at a certain age to determine whether or not they are the cursed children of demons (alaki). If they are alaki, their blood will be gold.

On her bleeding-day (this day has a name I don’t remember), Deka discovers that her blood is gold right as a group of deathshrikes (monster creature things) attacks her village. She manages to find a power within herself to command them to leave, which causes her father and village to banish her. She is brought by a woman known as White Hands to a place where she trains with other alaki to fight against the deathshrikes.

The first 100 pages of this book are interesting. I liked the friendship that developed between Deka and Britta, and Forna manages to cover a lot of heavy topics, such as the trafficking and abuse of young women. I like when fantasy novels incorporate real social topics into the narrative, so I appreciate the attempt.

The rest of the book unfortunately reads like Junior YA, which is weird because it also features heavy topics like rape and graphic violence against women. The core story feels like something that I would have liked when I was 13-15, but as an adult, the worldbuilding feels very weak and the author tends to tell us rather than show us what’s happening. I have no idea what the deathshrikes really look like. I imagined them as giant evil gremlins even though I’m fairly sure that’s not correct.

Deka is also a Mary Sue protagonist. Her only character flaw is a low self-esteem, and it’s kind of hard to believe that she has a low self-esteem because she is able to do awesome things without really even trying. This once again feeds into the 13-15 year old target audience where a young girl is super special awesome and The Chosen One. It just feels overdone to me and made me dislike her character.

Deka also flip-flops back and forth on how she feels about things every other page. One moment she is self-conscious and super religious, and two pages later she’s giving everyone a huge speech denouncing her god. She would also learn something about the central mystery in the story but then would immediately forget it and move on with her life. Frustrating.

The other characters are mostly just rough sketches of people and exist only to move Deka’s story along. Britta and Belcalis have personalities but otherwise lack character arcs. The other girls have names, but I could not tell who was who. They are all interchangeable and only exist to help Deka.

The main character should have been Belcalis. She has a personality. She has a tragic backstory. She has justifiable anger. She has so much motivation to topple the patriarchy.
Instead, we get Deka and a really immature love story, which is just so weak. Her love interest barely has a personality and they have no chemistry, and this whole part of the book should have been moved to the recycling bin.

The ending of this book felt rushed and honestly kind of ridiculous. There was a lot of exposition, and I would be lying if I said I totally understood what was going on.
SpoilerThe stuff with Deka’s mom being impregnated by some sort of immaculate conception involving a “seed” and a river bath had me chuckling.

I started skimming the last 100 pages of this book because I was just not into it. It was supposed to be empowering, topple-the-patriarchy type energy, but with no connection to the characters or plot, it was just bland. 

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natverse's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional 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

4.0


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lookaclara's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional hopeful inspiring 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? Yes

4.25


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sorcha's review

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adventurous challenging dark hopeful mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated

3.5


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mfieldshalva's review

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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

4.75


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introvertinterrupted's review

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

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