“Her most striking feature, however, is her eyes deep black and fathomless, as if she’s seen the worst of humanity and survived to laugh at it all.”

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Published: February 9, 2021
Rate: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads Synopsis
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.

My Take
The Gilded Ones was one of my anticipated reads of 2021 and by the time I was getting myself a copy, the hype was real.
First, can we talk about the cover? How stunning is this book!! I love it so much.

I love Namina’s writing. It’s straight forward and easy to get through. She does a great job with the world building, and I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t read much Fantasy Fiction, I could see this universe and actually keep up with all these different places. The plot was entertaining enough to keep me invested to read on, though something to note, there is a lot of gore/death and its vividly described. For me I particularly like reading it but just in case you don’t, you may not enjoy it.

The Gilded Ones is majorly character centred and they are fantastic to read! There are strong female friendships in this book and it’s one of my favourite things to read. So it was a plus for me. Having to live in a highly patriarchal society, they have to lean on each other to make it and Namina writes them so well.

“First rule of combat: be prepared to engage at all times.”

What I didn’t like, the plot. In as much as I loved the premise, the pacing doesn’t match throughout the book and some parts really dragged on. There are certain words used in the book that I feel didn’t belong in the world the author had build as they are very modern. Also, I could have done without the romance written between Deka and her love interest. It felt a bit forced and out of place.

The Gilded Ones is young adult fantasy fiction targeted for young adults readers. That’s one thing you have to keep in mind as you read it because there are some plot holes that will have you question it if you are not the target audience.

For me, it was a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. With a feminist undertone and kick ass characters, and a fantastic plot, I do recommend this one.

Have you read The Gilded Ones? What did you think about it?