The Gilded Wolves was a glittering and lush story of heists and grandeur, with light smashing punch to the feels.
All the chill things. Actually hold up, hold up, this is the least chill book ever. It’s set in the 1800s in Paris with magical artefacts and a super complexly woven history. It also has the most adorable and flamboyant cast ever. I just…[clenches fist] love them so much.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for the review-copy!
➸ The plot is a WHIRLWIND.
I get why people compare it to Six of Crows but it had more of an Ace of Shades vibe to me?! The plot is a bit of a heist, but also it’s about SOLVING PUZZLES (aka wait is this National Treasure?!). Severin is trying to regain his title of one of the 4 most powerful Houses, so he’s stealing back his artefacts. Then he gets roped into stealing the Eye of Horus for Hypnos (an ex-childhood-friend) in return for his inheritance back. It has the found-family aspect that we all freak out over in SoC + a glittery Parisian aesthetic + a very complex and twisting history that attaches to the Tower of Babel (my Sunday school childhood says i UNDERSTOOD THESE REFERENCES).
➸ The characters are the light of my little softly beating heart.
THE C H A R A C T E R S. Little flamboyant sassy pockets of delight. They absolutely made the book for me and I enjoyed all of their narrations. The only thing my eye is twitching about is that: their backstories didn’t make a lot of sense. (Like who gave Severin the money to run this flashy hotel?!) But onwards!
✧ Séverin: he’s the leader of this motley crew, the disgraced heir, the thief and schemer. He chews cloves which is, um, disgusting dude. But I guess he doesn’t get toothaches? I loved how openly protective he was over his KIDS, especially Tristan!
✧ Laila: She is tHE MUM FRIEND and Indian and I love her so much. She’s an enigma in public and a dancer + a baker (she always has sugar in her hair) + and when she touches something, she can read its story. She and Severin have a “WE KISSED ONCE BUT WE DON’T LOVE EACH OTHER!!” lie going on.
✧ Enrique: our BISEXUAL NERD SON whom we love dearly. He is equal parts dramatic and will geek out over history and cry when they smash said history to get at the clues (aka: he is the person who would’ve beaten Indiana Jones to death with an umbrella). I freaking love Enrique he is a gift. He’s also Spanish/Filipino.
✧ Zofia: I do appreciate the autistic rep even if she is a total stereotype (but…not offensively? So I guess that counts…although living for the day when people realise autism vs OCD traits are not the, um, same). Zofia is the math genius, the explosionist, the genius who got thrown out of school. Laila just keeps feeding her cookies the whole time and it’s wholesome. She’s also proudly Jewish!
✧ Tristan: the family bABY and they all coddle him it’s so so adorable. He’s the youngest (16) and has pet spiders and loves plants. He’s basically Severin’s baby brother.
✧ Hypnos: He’s the half-sort-of-antagonist who lures them into working for him, but his entire aesthetic is GLITTER PARTY BISEXUAL PRETTY KING and I love him so. He just wants friends!!! He’s like blackmailing them basically but! !!! to get !!! friends!!!
I loved their dynamics! They had sassy scenes and they all melded together wonderfully, plus the glib wove into the heartfelt/serious moments amazingly. MY FAMILY <333 They all totally lived off cookies and crime.
➸ However…I was confused.
I was really really really confused. I love this book, and I fully cannot WAIT for the next one (see tHE FINAL CHAPTER adkslf that revelation has me 8ft into my grave). But the magic system, the super complex history of the world, the actual plot at times…I was just so confused. This zapped a lot of enjoyment from me. While writing this review, I literally couldn’t sum up the plot without rereading the back cover again. I’m just ???? the whole way through the book. It could be me. I could tell the characters’ and the author’s minds were intensely clever.
This is a shiny book of puzzles and magic, of complex tight-knit characters, and thievery with super high stakes. I loved it even though I’m not really sure what just happened haha…my bad.
Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.