The Gilded Wolves
Written by Roshani Chokshi
Published by Wednesday Books
Publication date: 15th January 2019
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.
Acquiring was what he called his particular hobby. It sounded . . . aristocratic. Wholesome, even. He had the Order to thank for his acquisition habit.
After denying his claim as heir of House Vanth, they’d blackballed him from every auction house so that he could not legally purchase Forged antiquities. If they hadn’t done that, perhaps he wouldn’t have gotten so curious about what objects they were keeping him from in the first place. Some of those objects were, as it turned out, his family’s possessions.
After the Montagnet-Alarie line was declared dead, all the possessions of House Vanth had been sold. In the months after Séverin turned sixteen and liquidated his legal trust, he had reclaimed each and every sold House Vanth possession.
After that, he’d offered his acquisition services to international museums and colonial guilds, any organization that wished to take back what the Order had first stolen.
If the rumors about the compass were right, it might allow him to blackmail the Order, and then he could acquire the only thing he still wanted: His House.
First impressions: As soon as I saw this I wanted to read it – check out all my reasons in my Waiting on Wednesday post!
Why I couldn’t wait to read this book:
- I’ve been wanting to read The Star-touched Queen by this author for a while, so leapt at the chance to read this.
- It’s set in Paris which is usually enough by itself for me to want to read a book! It is also set at a particularly interesting time in history, when the Eiffel Tower was constructed.
- It is centred around magic held in ancient artifacts – definitely sounds like my cup of tea. I also love the idea of the main characters being treasure hunters and thieves as I love heist stories.
- The cast of characters sounds fascinating – Severin, cheated of his inheritance, Laila, searching for an artifact that will reveal secrets in her past, Tristan, damaged by life, Sofia, fiercely intelligent in academic matters hut unable to handle social situations, Enrique, historian and wannabe activist and Hypnos, Patriarch of his family but not fully accepted because of his background…can’t wait to meet them!
- Both the characters and the fact that they are attempting to steal magical artifacts from (I’m guessing!) heavily-protected places reminds me a little of Six of Crows/ Crooked Kingdom and Now You See Me, two books and a movie that I loved.
- Bonus – isn’t that cover all sorts of beautiful?
As you can see, I expected to like this but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did!
It is perfect for fans of Six of Crows, but I didn’t find it to be a pale imitation as some reviewers have said.
Instead, I was immediately drawn in to the dynamic between the characters, for it is the characters and their relationships which is the true heart of this story. The setting in Paris is marvellous and every bit as magical as you might expect. The ‘heist’ storyline is tense and exciting…but it is the characters who will keep you coming back to read this again and to continue the series (There has to be another book after this, please!).
Severin has gathered around him a ‘found family’ of people who might otherwise be ostracized or badly treated in society at the time. I loved how the author refers to this when the characters are required to go undercover and Hypnos quite aptly disguises each person as the stereotype they are most likely to be seen as, and simultaneously find the most exciting. I loved Severin and Laila’s relationship and was hanging on ever scene they had together, because of the tension there. I was also intrigued by references to Laila’s past and had lots of questions about her motivations.
Tristan was another favourite and his ‘brotherly’ relationship with Severin made me very happy, yet also broke my heart. It’s hard to say more about this so you will have to read it!
Hypnos grew on me throughout the book and I am excited to see where his character will go next, particularly in relation to his place in a ‘House’ and Severin’s quest to reclaim his own house. Enrique worked his way into my heart immediately and Sofia was fiercely relatable and has some of the best lines of the book!
At times, I found the background of the houses a little confusing – I had to read the prologue twice for it to make sense to me! – but I am hoping that this will be explored further in future books. Despite this slow start, there is enough in this book to keep me thinking for months and I am already planning a reread as soon as I can get my hands on a hard copy!
One of the greatest secrets of the Fallen House was where they had held their meetings. It was said that the key both to their secret meeting locations and to their lost treasure lay in the bone clocks once given to each member of their House. In the fifty years since they had been exiled and executed by the Order, no one had cracked the clock’s code. These days, it was considered nothing more than a rumor that time had smoothed down to the shape of a myth. But that didn’t stop interest in acquiring the bone clocks. Of late, the clocks had become something of a collector’s item.
One of the few remaining ones sat on Séverin’s bookshelf. In all the time that Séverin had kept the bone clock, it hadn’t revealed any of its secrets. Although sometimes the clock stopped at six minutes past two o’clock, which he considered rather strange considering that there was only one word found on the clock: nocte. Midnight.
Séverin often looked at it when he was thinking. Fifty years ago, it had seemed impossible for anything to ruin the Fallen House. And now look at it.
To Séverin, the clock was a reminder. Anything could fall. Towers that scraped the heavens, Houses with pockets deeper than empires, shining seraphs who had once been in the confidence of God. Even families who were supposed to love you. Nothing was invincible but change.
What I liked: The heist storyline (I have a weakness for this in books and movies!), the diverse cast of characters, the setting in Paris, the ‘found family’ trope, the characters and the the characters!
Even better if: I want the next book already!
How you could use it in your classroom: This is a book that could be recommended to fans of Six of Crows or similar stories as they will be likely to enjoy this. The setting in Paris at the time of the construction of the Eiffel Tower could be an interesting start for a discussion – what is now a famous landmark known world-wide, attracting thousands of visitors a year, was once rather controversial and is, in fact, still hated by some local residents. It might also be interesting to look at the cast of characters and the stereotypes surrounding them, as well as the societal barriers they may have face then – compare that to today.
What did other bloggers think?
Annie at Blossoms and Bullet Journals said:
“The Gilded Wolves is a gorgeously told novel, steeped in historical knowledge and inhabited by characters who melted my heart. I would highly recommend it, and am already greatly anticipating the sequel!”
Rebecca at Powder and Page said:
” Overall, The Gilded Wolves was a dramatic book with just the right amount of Shocking Secrets revealed and at just the right times. There were emotional portions that actually evoked emotion because Roshani Chokshi wrote characters that were easy to like and engaged the reader. ”
(Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for my e-ARC)
Thanks for reading!