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The Gilded Ones - Review


I received this book from Random House Children/Delacorte Press & Net Galley for the Hear Our Voices Book Tour. All reviews are my own.


I somewhat buddy-read this book with a couple of Instagram friends (Hiii Stacia and Alexia!!), and we pretty much all had the same reaction and feeling: This. Book. Is. Perfect. Honestly, I've been procrastinating on writing this review, trying to find flaws in what I just read (and yeah, college just got real, but never mind that), and I can't come up with anything. Namina Forna had a story to tell, and she delivered!


"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."

Where do we begin! Before getting into The Gilded Ones, Forna pre-warned her readers that this story examines patriarchy among women and little girls. I was a little bit worried that the warning was giving away the story, but the preconceived notion wasn't needed in all actuality. This book screamed inequality of a woman's worth. Wearing masks out in public because it wasn't ladylike, and if you are unmasked, you had to have a male in your presence as a chaperon. Being called whores from men and delusional older women because they weren't normal to society. So much unfairness the girls had to go through just to be still seen as less than. It makes you wonder why men fight so hard to snuff a woman's presence out. What is so threatening from a woman that makes men feel so small?



Along with the theme, I loved the messages laced in the story. It was in your face and had deeper meaning once you got to the end of the story. Everything had a purpose for why it happened, and by the end of the story, there was a goal to change it.


I also liked the writing because I felt like everything Forna mentioned, she made sure it had a purpose. There were no fillers or vanishing characters or side stories. You don't know how many times I've read a novel and wondered why something was mentioned, and we never see it again.

Overall you need The Gilded Ones in your life. I rated it a 5-star read. Not bad for a debut novel! Forna put her foot in this book and wrapped it up beautifully. I believed it lives up to its hype and deserves to be on people's shelves to stay.


The Gilded Ones will be released on February 9, 2021.



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