The Gilded Ones

Deathless #1

Namina Forna

fiction fantasy young adult
adventurous challenging emotional medium-paced

432 pages | first published 2021

In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity-and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki-near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be-not even Deka herself.

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summary of 253 ratings (see reviews)

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adventurous 93%
dark 62%
emotional 49%
tense 41%
inspiring 33%
mysterious 28%
hopeful 27%
challenging 25%
reflective 14%
sad 11%
funny 2%
informative 1%
lighthearted 1%


medium 54%
fast 41%
slow 3%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 52% | Plot: 33% | Character: 14%

Strong character development?

Yes: 82% | It's complicated: 12% | No: 5%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 78% | It's complicated: 14% | No: 5% | N/A: 2%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 96% | It's complicated: 1% | No: 1% | N/A: 0%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 51% | No: 24% | It's complicated: 20% | N/A: 3%

Average rating