Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Published by Wednesday Books on January 15, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Fiction
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Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book that completely met my fancy, and I adored everything about The Gilded Wolves! From the lush 1880’s Parisian setting, to the problem solving for ancient artifacts, and the stunning cast of characters – each with special talents, I absolutedly adored it.
The book features a dastardly gang of lovable characters who play off each other perfectly and are incredibly diverse in their cultures, backgrounds and abilities. What I loved about this group is how well they complemented each other, especially in their quest to uncover the ancient artifacts for a secret Order.
While there are four major character perspectives, I was never bored with any of them as I loved hearing what they brought to the table. They also easily banter with one another, with some harbouring romantic attractions which definitely added some spice to the mix.
- Our main character is Severin, a treasure-hunter and hotelier who is also the group’s tenacious leader. As a French-Algerian heir, he tempted into an offer he can’t refuse to claim his rightful inheritance. Severin is keeps his secrets close to his heart, including his longing for fellow member Laila. He’s sharp, mysterious, conniving and incredibly protective of the people that he loves.
- Tristan is Severin’s brother-in-arms, having grown up with him throughout many foster homes. He has a Forging affinity for plants and gardening and I loved the lush descriptions of the gardens that he had crafted based on the seven deadly sins, and his love for his pet tarantula.
- Laila was probably my favourite character of the bunch, with her love of baking sweet treats and her alter-ego as L’Enigme, a diva dancer/performer who is larger than life. She can easily slip into any identity and I loved her fierce loyalty towards Severin and her friend Zofia, and how she also honoured some of the Indian traditions from her homeland.
- Zofia is an engineer who has the Forging affinity to deduce numbers quickly and efficiently. She also reads as autistic, not being one to admire jokes or social commentary and is also Jewish.
- Enrique is a Filipino/Spanish historian who can recount historical facts and decipher languages with ease. His addition to the group was incredibly useful, and he often deduces the riddles and puzzles that form a part of their search.
The book is set in 1889 Paris, glamorous and glittering and everything that we imagine it to be, but there’s also an intriguing, darker undertone to it as well. I loved reading about the elite, underground Order of Babel and how the artifacts play into the world. It centers around the Exposition Universelle, an alternate history of when the Eiffel Tower was built.
The Forging abilities where individuals can command mind or matter was also fascinating, although I would’ve liked a bit more information on how this was developed. It added an element of magic and intrigue to the setting which fit in perfectly.
This is where things get a bit hazy – while there is a keen plot to uncover an ancient artifact, things get a bit messy during the course of the book. The group are trying to pull off a heist, but you never really feel the high stakes of it as there is so much going on (not only in each character’s head, but also in the world building and the deducing of puzzles). I definitely got a bit lost during the course of the novel, but I loved reading about the characters and the setting so much that it didn’t bother me too much.
The Gilded Wolves is a richly developed heist story set in an alternate Paris – with an incredible, diverse cast of characters that I absolutely adored. Filled with historical intrigue, secret societies, uncovering artifacts and the decadence of 1880s Paris, I enjoyed every minute of it! If you’re looking for an alternate to Six of Crows, you’ll definitely love picking this up too.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a review copy!
The Gilded Wolves is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$16.99 or from The Book Depository.
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