I have had an ARC of The Gilded Wolves sitting on my shelf for several months but I kept putting off reading it because the sequel was so far away. But I am so glad I did read it because I absolutely loved it!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
This book had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I stayed up way too late because I just needed to read one more chapter. Roshani’s writing is so beautiful that you can just get lost in her words and never want to leave. Honestly this book is beautiful inside and out.
The story revolves around a group wonderfully diverse, complex characters and I instantly fell in love with them. The story begins with them planning a heist, one which is important for all of them for different reasons. It is intertwined with short paragraphs which explain the history of the Order of Babel and their significance to the story and the world. The history nerd in me absolutely loved seeing the historical references throughout the book. And the fact that not only is the story revolving around a heist, it’s a heist for magical artefacts! Excuse me while I go fangirl!
One house fell. And another house’s line died without an heir. Now all that is left is a secret.
Roshani also weaves some very important still very much relevant themes into the story. She discusses colonialism and racism and how it affects the characters and their lives. All of them come of a wide range of different ethnic backgrounds and because they are not white they are denied opportunities in all walks of life. I absolutely loved seeing this in the book because this is something that still affects so many people throughout the world. At one point in the story they have to wear disguises and Hypnos, who is in charge of getting their disguises, puts them all in the stereotype of what people would expect them to be. It was really interesting seeing that, especially as who they are so different from what society expects them to be.
When you are who they expect you to be, they never look too closely. If you’re furious, let it be fuel.
The characters are the main reason as to why I just couldn’t put the book, they were all amazing and so different from each other but I loved how they all protected and supported each other. They knew each other so well.
There’s Severin, who had his inheritance stolen from him, then there’s Laila who is desperately searching for an artefact that will help her get the answers she needs. These two are my absolute favourites, the tension between them, the way they work together was just perfection. Then there’s Tristan who has known Severin since childhood and who Severin is fiercely protective of and Zofia who is an actual genius but struggles with social situations. I loved how Laila looked out for her. Then there’s Enrique who is a historian and activist who wants to help improve the lives of his people. And lastly Hypnos, the newest person in their group who is a Patriarch of his family but not completely accepted because of his background.
But what no one tells you is that even when you decide which world you will live in, the world may not always see you as you would wish. Sometimes it demands that you be so outrageous as to transcend your very skin. You can change your name. Your eye colour. Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.
I loved all of them so much! Their interactions and their banter and even good-natured rivalry between some of them. Even when they didn’t agree with each they still supported each other. I just wanted to protect them all. Their cultures and traditions were are huge part of them and I loved that they didn’t lose that part of their heritage to “integrate” living in Paris. My favourites are Severin and Laila and I just need them to just admit how they feel about each other. Make it happen please, Roshani!
Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination.
I am so excited to read the next book! I cannot wait for it to come out especially after that ending!