My favourite element of The Gilded Wolves was its characters. This novel had such a diverse cast of six main characters, whom I adored. They were so complex and had rich backstories, which made me get to know them pretty well and I’m a bit sad to leave them behind now that I’ve finished the novel. I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get every main character’s point of view: I feel like I didn’t care as much for one of them, I *almost even* forgot about them at times and so I didn’t really care about this character’s storyline or ending? That’s too bad because I cared about everyone else; at this character, I am really sorry. Moreover, they all had amazing group dynamics and I loved every little interaction they had together. My favourite character was for sure Zofia, because I related to her in so many ways, but I also have a soft spot for Hypnos!
I had high expectations when it comes to the world-building of this novel, especially the parts about late 19th century Paris, as I’m French and a history major, but I can tell you that Roshani Chokshi did her job splendidly! You could tell how much research she put into her book and I loved that she didn’t only show an idealistic Paris: she also showed France’s ugly colonialist past, how unaccepting and racist society could be. As she said in her author’s note:
“History is a myth shaped by the tongues of conquerors.”
Shameful events can often be glossed over and this shouldn’t be. This past needs to be acknowledged, discussed and I’m glad that voices that have been ignored for so long can finally be heard. So many important topics were talked about in this novel and Chokshi did a good job at that. The Gilded Wolves was also full of historical, philosophical and scientific references, which I adored!
While I was impressed by the way Chokshi portrayed Paris, I wasn’t as convinced when she presented the novel’s magic system. It was complex and a bit confusing at times, especially when paragraphs upon paragraphs were explaining the world: it felt a bit like info-dumping to me. Still, it was a bit more interesting once I understood everything.
To talk about the elephant in the room, that many reviewers have discussed: in many things, The Gilded Wolves is quite similar to Six of Crows for some aspects of it. I am not saying that this is a bad thing: The Gilded Wolves has amazing characters no matter what and a different world building, but because of those similarities, the plot didn’t take me by surprise, because it wasn’t anything I hadn’t read before. It could be thrilling at times, but overall I was left being unimpressed by it. Besides, I wasn’t too convinced by the villain: I would have liked to know their motivations more; it has to be more than “I want to take over the world” to me, I need more explanations and very morally gray characters. Despite that, I adored the fact that it was all about a secret society!
I had tried reading Chokshi’s debut in the past without success, but I really liked her writing style in this one, it flowed nicely and I got through this book really quickly. While I don’t really want to pick The Star-Touched Queen again at this point, I’d be interested in reading more of her works.
To conclude, I thought that while being a bit too similar to Six of Crows for my taste, The Gilded Wolves is a novel with amazing characters and a compelling setting that many readers will adore. Some aspects of the novel, such as a confusing magic system at first and a plot that didn’t take me by surprise didn’t convince me as much, but maybe that’s just me? I’m always super picky, haha.