Title – The Gilded Ones
Author – Namina Forna
Publisher – Usborne Publishing
Published – February 9th, 2021.
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.
After reading The Gilded Ones, I won’t say I consider it Young Adult fiction, that tag is so limiting, because it implies the target audience for the book are young but the reality is it’s fiction for all. One young girls and women of all ages can relate to.
Patriarchy needs to be violently sliced and the slicing should never ever stop, so there’s no room for it to ever return.
Wow this book is so gory and packed with action. I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting to find characters who are so well rounded and understandable, to feel so much emotion and inspiration.
This subject matter of this book isn’t for the faintest of heart. It’s a book that shoves patriarchy down our throats, that made my skin crawl and mind angry, because of the inane bullshit and doctrine the girls and women are subjected to, fiction and reality alike.
The Gilded Ones is a story that will make you rage (especially women) but also capture your attention, because the storytelling is beautiful and the message, one that’s resonating.
I don’t have any complaints about the writing, the world building was simple and concise, I loved the fantastical elements. The amazing part is the ending is so perfect, there’s no angsty cliffhanger. This means I can be at rest as I wait for the sequel in 2022.
It’s quite easy to get sucked into the story of Deka, to like and be proud of her and so many other characters. I don’t want to say too much and give it away, but this story is a homage to women and that’s what makes it beautiful to me.
Add it to your reading list. Thanks to @usborneya for gifting me a copy of the wonderful book.