The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi is an amazingly fun, intricate fantasy heist that I adored every second of. (Also release day is definitely tomorrow Jan. 15, but I couldn’t wait to post this!) It opens in the middle of a heist & inserts you into a magical alternate Paris circa 1889, where the Order of Babel safeguards a fragment of the Babel Tower, and what they believe to be the source of magic for the Western world. The heist is being perpetrated by Severin, a hotelier whose true inheritance was denied by the Order when he was a child, and his crew, an extremely diverse group with various talents. After their initial heist, they are approached with an offer to steal something much more valuable, and possibly return Severin’s inheritance to him.
First of all, this book completely, totally, and utterly sucked me in. Similar to The Star Touched Queen by Chokshi, you are immediately thrust into a world. It’s confusing at first, but eventually you figure out which way is up and figure out how the world is structured. It’s a very rich world, too, full of interesting kinds of magic and the opulence associated with the Gilded Age. While magic is very safeguarded, it’s also a wonder and I delighted in figuring out how everyone was able to use it, as well as figuring out all the ins, outs, ups, and downs of the world Chokshi has created here. The plot is also eventful and character-driven. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, and the heists were amazingly well written and able to be visualized. At times, I was reminded of escape rooms (which I love to do with my family), because there were so many fun traps and puzzles to figure out at different points, and lots of fun science also mixed in with the magic. Each time I had to (reluctantly) put it down, I counted down the hours/minutes/seconds until I could pick it back up again and finish it.
In addition to the world building and plotting, I just simply cherished the characters Chokshi creates here. The crew gives me a lot of Six of Crows vibes, but they are also wholly unique unto themselves. There’s Severin, the leader and the master strategist behind their plans, and he has at some point and somehow recruited all of the rest of the crew, who also live in his hotel. From Enrique, a Filipino historian who wants nothing more than to aid in his people’s fight for freedom, to Zofia, a neurodiverse expert on explosives, and even further to Laila, a courtesan with a secret past on a quest for a book, they are all well developed and precious to me in so many ways. Each one’s talent is necessary, and each one has a motivation for going in on the heist for all or nothing. In my heart, I was rooting for all of them, even if I wasn’t quite sure who to trust all the time.
Overall, if you’re a fan of intricate world building, varied magic, historical fantasy, and unique diverse characters, you will absolutely love this book. It’s a great read alike for fans of the Six of Crows duology but is still definitely its own animal. I definitely feel like this will be getting a re-read from me sometime this year. Be forewarned that there is a bit of a cliffhanger and the next one isn’t due out until 2020, but the ride is totally worth it.
(Also, please take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that cover!)
Note: I received this book from Netgalley & the publisher n exchange for a fair and honest review.
What are some of your favorite heist and/or historical fantasies?? Give me some recommendations in the comments!