Blog Tour Review | The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Sometimes the only way to take down what had destroyed you was to disguise yourself as part of it.”

Most of you know that Roshani Chokshi is one of my favorite authors. I loved both The Star-Touched Queen & A Crown of Wishes with my whole heart and soul! So, I knew when she was writing a brand-new series, about a found family completing heists and solving puzzles, that I wouldn’t be able to resist once I got my hands on an ARC. And friends, this was such a treat to read.

This is a historical fantasy set in alternate 1889 Paris, France, and in this alternate world, children will manifest magical powers by the age of thirteen. And there are two different kinds of magic; the magic of mind and the magic of matter. There is also a very powerful secret society, that goes by the name of the Order of Babel, and it used to be made up of four houses, but two houses took over ten years ago. And by doing so, they made a very big mistake claiming the heir of one of those fallen houses as dead.

“Turning into ghosts is not what the dead deserve.”

Séverin – Biracial (Algerian & French). For sure the leader of the group, who wants nothing more than to keep his crew safe and out of harm’s way. But he is on a mission to reclaim his true inheritance that was stolen from him with lies ten years ago, because he gets an offer than he couldn’t possibly refuse.

Laila – Indian (ownvoices), dancer, who is dealing with a lot of grief and a lot of anxiety over her past. She has the magical (matter) forging ability to touch any object and read it to know everything about it. And she desperately needs Séverin’s plan to work.

Tristan – White, and Séverin considers him his little brother, because they moved around a lot together in foster care. Also, Tristan loves his pet tarantula, Goliath, more than anything, but he’s still my favorite little gardener/botanist.

Zofia – On the Autism spectrum, Jewish, Polish, has anxiety, and a lot of her actions (in my opinion, as someone who has OCD) feels like she may also fall on the OCD spectrum. She finds comfort in numbers, needs to have things in their rightful place, and is willing to do any and everything for her little sister that she was forced to leave behind. Zofia also has magical forging abilities of the mind.

Hypnos – Black, queer (probably pan, maybe bi, and maybe even non-binary), heir of a French aristocrat but know he is also a descendant of slavery. His story line is a little rough at first, but you soon realize that he considers Séverin a brother to him, and honestly? Hypnos ended up being my second favorite character. Also, he made me giggle so much that my tummy hurt.

Enrique – Biracial (Filipino (ownvoices) & Spanish), queer (he is either bisexual or pansexual, but I’m not sure my heart can take reading about a half Filipino, pan character because it is all I’ve ever wanted in literature!) But, this character meant a lot to me. I am not sure I’ve ever read specifically about a biracial Filipino dealing with cultural erasure on both sides of their heritage before. I mean, this book is literally people trying to erase cultures from history, and Enrique is literally a historian, but seeing people make comments about his looks and biraciality just really hit home for me on a really personal level. I completely realize that there comes an immense privilege with being white passing but reading this book and feeling how real and hurtful it is when people disregard you and erase you because you don’t fit in their stereotypical mold of what a half Asian person should look like, but they also never let you forget that you’re not fully white. Yet, also not feeling like you truly fit in because of your lighter or more westernized features, even if they comment about it in a way that they believe is positive and a compliment. And Enrique also has to deal with people thinking that Asian people are interchangeable and thinking that their cruel and ignorant words are acceptable to say. I loved all the characters in this book, but Enrique just felt like the character I’ve been searching for for a very long while and he just really encompassed so many things that I hold inside myself every day. His character just meant a lot to me, and I will cherish him forever and always in my heart.

(Breathtaking art(s) by Nicole Deal!)

And this ragtag group of misfits come together and create something so beautiful that I hardly have words to describe it. This book heavily talks about colonization. And even though the heart of this novel is about a found family who unconditionally loves one another, the soul of this novel is about cultural erasure and how important it is to keep the traditions and history from your culture, no matter who tries to make you believe that theirs is superior. And this book really puts an emphasis of the terrible acts people will commit while saying that it’s for or because of a higher power.

“But the greatest thief of all was the Order of Babel, for they stole more than just objects . . . they stole histories”

But all these characters feel like a tier above the rest of what YA has to offer. They feel so real, their pain feels so raw, and you just want to protect them all at all costs. Roshani really is a master word weaver and I can’t help falling in love with every story she puts into the world. She is also the master of romance, and I was swooning extra hard for two people in this. (Also, the set up to book two will probably be the death of me!) As for the other romantic relationship, Roshani is either going to completely slay me with the love triangle or give me everything I’ve ever wanted with a polyamorous relationship. Lord, hear my prayers.

Also, because I don’t think I mentioned this above, a good portion of this book is set at a hotel called L’Eden where the crew lives and develops new advancements to help them with their missions. I know I’ve already gushed pretty hard over this book, but I love books that are set in hotels and inns so much, and it was just such an unexpected treat. Then again, Roshani always writes the best settings and my heart fell completely in love with a poisonous greenhouse in this story, too.

Overall, I just really loved this one. I am sure many people will compare The gilded Wolves to a mix of Six of Crows & The Da Vinci Code upon release, and I think that’s valid, bu I think it has its own unique spin, too. The cast is diverse and lovable, the writing is lush and beautiful, the themes are important and heartfelt, and the story is captivating and unputdownable. If you like a story with secrets and mystery, filled artifacts and puzzle solving, with a little romance and funny banter, then I completely recommend picking up The Gilded Wolves upon release.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for colonialism, cultural erasure, and racism (always challenged and in a negative light), blood depiction, mention of past suicide, loss of a loved one, bullying in the past, abandonment, anxiety attacks, mention of a stillbirth, and depictions of grief.

Buddy read with Kristi, Mel, Amy, Caidyn, Lily, & Alex! ❤

A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

1.) The Star-Touched Queen ★★★★

“A story had no ownership. A story could break its bones, grow wings, soar out of reach and dive out of sight in the time it took just to draw breath. It meant we weren’t walking a cut path. We carved it into existence with every step.”

This was utterly enchanting and completely mesmerizing. I loved The Star-Touched Queen when I read it last year, and this story was even better! Yet, this story also made me fall deeper in love with The Star-Touched Queen, because some of the crossovers just warmed my heart to no end. This was such a beautiful tale, and I completely recommend this to everyone, but especially story lovers, because A Crown of Wishes is a lover letter to story lovers everywhere.

This is a companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen, so you do not need to read The Star-Touched Queen before reading this amazing little standalone, but I would completely recommend it. I mean, more tears of joy and sadness if you do!

A Crown of Wishes stars a character that we were first introduced to in The Star-Touched Queen, Gauri, the jewel of Bharata, now a princess awaiting her death. Her path soon crosses with Vikram, an adopted prince from Ujijain, who is also nicknamed The Fox Prince, who is trying to run away from the memories of his past.

The story truly starts off when Vikram is invited to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, which is held in the otherworldly realm of Alaka, and which the Lord of Treasures hosts. This tournament is said to just be myth, but Vikram soon learns that it is very real, and if you win the tournament you will be granted any wish in the world. Yet, there is a stipulation; he needs a partner.

“Find the one who glows, with blood on the lips and fangs in the heart.”

And the greater powers at work lead him to Gauri. Gauri is so strong and fierce, yet she shows how different women are strong in different ways. And how you don’t always have to draw your power from your ability to fight with a sword or dagger, but to craft a weapon and draw your power for whatever the situation calls for, whether it be beauty, or friends, or taking a risk that you never thought you’d have the strength for. I loved Gauri so much. She was such a wonderful main character, and I want to build a garden in her honor, too.

“I donned my armor, lining my eyes with kohl until they were dark as death and patting crushed rose petals on my lips until they were scarlet as blood.”

While Gauri and Vikram are competing, they meet a plethora of cool side characters along the way, but Aasha is the one we get to spend the most time with. And she also gets her own point of view. Aasha is a bisexual icon, and she was probably my favorite character (which is really saying something, because this cast is honestly 10/10 phenomenal!)

Aasha and her sisters are poisonous courtesans who are forced into a life of seclusion. Aasha is thankful for her sisters who saved her when she was young, and who have become her found family, but Aasha wants to explore, and have adventures, and see more of the world.

This is a story about a magical tournament, with romance and laughter, but this is also a story about trauma and grief and how sometimes being honest about our pasts is the hardest thing we will ever do. I felt so much empathy for these three characters, and I felt that empathy so very differently and so very similarly at the same time. This story is perfectly crafted.

Roshani expertly wove this tale with some of the most beautiful writing my eyes have ever read. This writing is lush, and descriptive, and so very lyrical. I honestly feel like I tabbed every other page, and if I were reading on my kindle, I would have highlighted half the book.

Overall, if you like mythology, flawed characters that you can’t help but root for and then love, wonderful new worlds, important messages, with such beautiful writing, then you can’t let A Crown of Wishes pass you by. I really loved this, and I’m so very thankful that I was able to pick this up. Happy reading!

Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitch

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“Kill, if you must. String a garland of severed heads around your waist if you want. I would take you in my arms if you were drenched in blood or dressed in rubies … but think. Impulsiveness is a dangerous thing.”

You guys, this was so beautiful! The Star-Touched Queen is a loosely based retelling of the Greek mythology surrounding Hades and Persephone, but told in a setting to completely celebrate Indian culture. I loved every aspect of the retelling, but I also loved every new and inventive way Roshani crafted this into her own story. This was lush, and engaging, and so romantic. This was an absolute treat to read.

Maya is the daughter of a very powerful Raja, who is constantly trying to keep a war at bay. Maya is also the daughter of a woman who was a part of her father’s harem, but died while giving birth to her. In this world, horoscopes are read like prophecies once you are born, and they are very important and very dependent on what your future will bring.

Maya’s horoscope is one that promises she will be married to death, therefore many people in her community treat her awful. Also, this makes her very undesirable for a marriage proposition. Though, her father soon becomes very desperate and arranges a marriage for Maya while covering up her real horoscope and replacing it with another of better fate.

“He loved her. And she loved him. And in such bliss does devastation grow.”

Obviously, the story takes a very unexpected turn, and Maya is thrown into a world where secrets literally hide behind every door. We get to see her grow, and learn, and become strong on her own and decide what she wants for her life. This is a story about a girl learning what she is capable of, without her father’s power, or her brother’s kingdom, or her husband’s help and that’s so damn beautiful.

This story places a heavy emphasis on love, but also the importance of sisterhood, motherhood, and friendship. And the price and weight we put on all those titles. And the good and bad things we are willing to do for the sake of those relationships.

And the romance, the romance is so good. I was swooning so hard at some of these lines. And even though I think the writing could be almost too lyrical at times, this book had some of the best one-liners I’ve ever read.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I’m also completely in love with a certain sassy, flesh-eating, demon horse.

“I would break the world to give you what you want.”

Overall, I loved this. It was diverse, and so well crafted, and the world building was phenomenal. It was swoon-worthy, and empowering, and a joy to read. I want so badly to read the spin-off, A Crown of Wishes, now!

I was blessed to meet Roshani this October at the Goodreads Power User Summit in San Francisco, and she was honestly the sweetest and kindest author I’ve ever met. I knew I couldn’t let 2017 end without giving The Star-Touched Queen a proper review! This in no way has impacted my rating or review, but I just wanted to let you know what an absolute angel is she.

And this was a buddy read with another confirmed angel, Sonja! ❤

Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitch