A review by evilcallie
The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

adventurous challenging dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


I have very mixed feelings about this book. I wanted very much to like it, and I do find the story itself to be interesting and unique. However, I do think there are a lot of flaws in the writing of it that, at least when listening to it, really stand out and heavily reduced my enjoyment of it. I ended up listening to it on 1.75 speed just to finish it.

The story itself, a society where some of the women have "tainted blood" that identify them as demons, that is also fighting off a race of creatures that seem to attack humans without cause, was interesting. The beginning of the book was, for me, actually really strong in establishing the world and society that the main character is a part of. It was once the main character, her mentor, and her soon-to-be best friend arrive in the capital that the book slowed down, and the flaws that were not as visible in the first several chapters became really prominant.

One of the biggest challenges I have with the book is that the main character doesn't really have any character growth. Yeah, her allegiances do change in the book, but they don't seem to come from any real internal growth, but from an "oh, these people have told me something that differs from what other people told me, this new thing must be true" split second decision. She sometimes in the story has flashes of questioning, but those are immediately ignored and never thought about again, at least in what we see, so when the climax of the story happens, it just... doesn't really feel real.

There are also writing inconsistencies in the book, including moments where the character seems to learn, or thinks about, something that she had learned chapters or pages earlier.

I haven't decided whether I will read the next book when it comes out. 

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