“Immortal like warriors, demonic monsters, and a patriarch to burn, Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones is a story unlike any other.”Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink
It’s the day of the Ritual of Purity. A blood ceremony performed at sixteen on every girl in Deka’s village. Already seen as other, Deka fears the outcome. And when her blood runs gold, she is condemned for being impure.
Though fate intervenes, a representative of the Empire saves Deka from further torture. The mysterious woman offers Deka a chance she wouldn’t want to refuse: train as an elite warrior to kill demon like creatures plaguing the empire to one day obtaining her freedom.
My Review of The Gilded Ones
Can we first take a moment to talk about the cover of The Gilded Ones.
It is simply stunning!
A female warrior, outfitted in golden armor and tribe like accessories, Deka’s ethereal beauty is captivating. It will definitely draw readers in with its vibrant colors (the turquoise and gold palette is such a great color combination) and eye popping lettering.
A definite cover buy!
The Gilded Ones is a harrowing story. Deka is faced with continued discrimination by society and even the war band she joins to protect the Empire. It is constant: the derogatory language and the harsh treatment is like being barraged by unrelenting colossal waves whose sheer force and purpose is to cause pain. There are often brutal scenes, violent depictions of how Deka and her fellow warriors are treated in ways you wonder if they’ll survive.
Even though Farna’s novel is a harrowing testament to the treatment of women in a patriarchal society, there were some concerns. The pacing of the novel felt stagnant. In the beginning it starts off with anticipation and action. But that quick pace pewters out after the purity ritual, with very little happening until closer to the end. Much of the dialogue doesn’t move the story along and the writing feels mechanical and halting rather than vivid and lush. I wanted more descriptive world building that would have added to and made The Gilded Ones more memorable.
As for the characters, from the beginning, we know Deka is different. She stands out amongst her peers (both in her village and war band), like a rare jewel in a sea of counterfeits. However, after Deka is deemed impure her character progression is similar to the pacing. And rather than embracing a more fierce warrior like demeanor she often resorts back to being helpless, confused, and unsure of who she is and the decisions she makes.
One Last Thought
Replete with traditional customs and monsters made from nightmares, Namina Forna created an interesting world and story. One that explores a patriarchal society with its extremist views and how women ultimately had enough.
Happy Reading ̴ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
Author: Namina Forna
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February, 2021
Jacket Design: unknown at this time
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Need More Book Recommendations?
Sheaf & Ink has reviewed a number of Young Adult novels in fantasy like The Gilded Ones. Read The Merciful Crow and We Hunt the Flame reviews to find your next favorite book and join the conversation. We love hearing from you.
The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal