A review by literarypenguin
The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna

adventurous dark emotional 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


This book was not what I was expecting. To be honest, I was expecting a standard run of the mill fantasy story. I am pleased to say that I was wrong! This debut offered something to the fantasy genre that none of us will forget anytime soon.

A young girl named Deka is preparing herself for her first and only Ritual of Purity. This ritual will have her bleed her blood, hoping that it bleeds red. Unfortunately a attack by creatures called Deathshrieks causes something in Deka to show itself. Something that makes her blood run gold in her veins, the color of impurity. Now Deka must discover more about who she is or what she is before it shows itself again.

The plot of this book was something I have never really read before. It had some familiar fantasy themes but they were written just so that they were different from the usual tropes we see. Everything was written very well and explained thoroughly without having too much exposition. The plot flowed very well and every action got a reaction later on in the book. I did feel at the end the plot was rushed a bit and felt like it ended abruptly but that is just my personal opinion.

The world building was just so amazing and beautiful. Every place felt different and had it's own charm. There were deserts and cities and even temples with large courtyards. Each place didn't feel the same or were copies of another place. One detail I liked was that the characters reacted to the weather in the different locations and they did not get used to the weather miraculously overnight.

Deka was a very interesting character. I have several thoughts on her some good and some not so good. I thought she was a very believable girl, having to leave her home and everything she knew behind in a blink of a eye. The way she handled it was very believable and anyone would handle it the way she did. I also admired her ingenuity and her want to know the truth about where she comes from and who or what she is. She would not stop until she got answers to her questions. Her love for her mother was so sweet and caring. She looked up to her mother and she was her hero. By the end it is safe to say that her feeling toward her mother has increased. The one thing I did not care too much for was how she got so emotional and sad when something did not happen the way she thought. I think she jumped to conclusions a bit too much for my taste.

The relationships were very interesting. The bond between the girls and the sisterhood they form was so sweet and inspiring. How these young girls went from complete strangers not knowing anything about themselves or each other to close friends bonded together by their blood and their impurity. They are there for each other, they comfort each other and they would die for each other. That is how deep their loyalty lies. The other relationship, the romance, was a little bit to insta love for me. I just felt like it went way too fast and didn't get the proper development it needed. If it would have built up a bit more then I would have liked it more.

I tried to make this review short and non spoilery for those who want to give this one a read. If you want some fresh new ideas to the fantasy genre and want some spectacular sisterhood bonding, then pick this one up. I enjoyed my time with this one and can not wait to read the second one next year!

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