Young Adult

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) – Namina Forna – Book Review





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Book Review

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna



(The above links for Amazon and Kobo are affiliate links & I earn a small commission if you purchase a book through them)

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna


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The above link(s) for Amazon and/or Kobo are affiliate links & I earn a small commission if you purchase a book through them at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.


“No matter my origins, there is worth in what I am.”


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.


This was somewhere between 3 and 3.5 so I’m rounding up to four stars.

This story tells of tough topics like racism, sexism, xenophobia, inequality, patriarchy, abuse, and trauma. The story was heavy at times, but Deka along with her warrior sisters and brothers give you hope that the world is not entirely broken.

I was uncertain how I’d feel about this book because feminist books have not sat well with me in the past. So it’s important to mention here that I’m pleased to read a feminist book that doesn’t bash men and indeed promotes equality.

The main character, while struggling to come to terms with who and what she is, Deka progressed well throughout the story; her character’s development was believable. I liked the side characters, and they support her lead well. Also, it’s refreshing to read a young adult book where the romance doesn’t completely take over the story.

As for the fantasy elements, they were familiar, and the hook for me. The whole time reading this, I kept thinking back to my World of Warcraft days. I especially loved the shapeshifters and the pets. The deathshrieks reminded me of the Sha from Mists of Pandaria and White Hands reminded me of a monk. I think that’s why I liked this one so much.

As for the plot, things seemed a bit unsteady, and at the end, when the truth is unraveling, it all happened so quickly that I was scratching my head a bit confused. I wish it would have been a little slower-paced while bringing all the pieces together. I appreciate that the ending wasn’t a gnawing cliffhanger, and this first book of the series can be read as a standalone.




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