Reviews tagging Pregnancy

The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

4 reviews

ebelzinha's review

Go to review page

adventurous hopeful 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? It's complicated

4.5

Honestly it took me a while to get into this book but I’m glad I didn’t quit it. 
It’s a really empowering story, deka’s whole journey of understanding who she is and where she belongs. A true roller coaster. I did predict a couple of plot twists but there were some unthinkable ones. 
I love deka, belcalis, britta, keita, adwapa and especially IXA!!!!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

theliteraryphoenix's review

Go to review page

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! 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

plumpaperbacks's review

Go to review page

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)

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

justabookworm's review

Go to review page

adventurous dark emotional tense
  • 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


Expand filter menu Content Warnings
More...