ARC

ARC Book Review: The Gilded Wolves

ARC Book Review.JPG

the gilded wolves

Blurb

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.

goodreads

At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 3.98 out of 5

Release Date

15th January 2019 by Wednesday Books

Opening Lines

The Matriarch of House Kore was running late for a dinner. In the normal course of things, she did not care for punctuality. Punctuality, with its unseemly whiff of eagerness, was for pheasants.

Review

I received a copy of this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know what to say about The Gilded Wolves.

My policy is to be honest when reviewing but sometimes I worry that I can get a little…. ranty. It’s not like I’m the Hulk or anything. I think instead of getting angry I just get disappointed. Like my parents were towards me multiple times during my teenage years.

I try not to read reviews of books that I’m reading until after I’m done reading and then I go looking to see how many people agree or disagree with me.

I think my opinions on this book will be from the outside looking in as from what I can see the general reviewing consensus is that this is an amazing book worthy of 4 and 5 star ratings.

I’m not saying it isn’t but unfortunately it won’t be getting those from me. But honestly, I don’t know what to say about The Gilded Wolves because I don’t know what to think about it.

This is going to be such a rambling review and for that I can only apologise.

If Oceans 11 and The Da Vinci Code had a baby it would probably look a little like this book. If this book had a cousin then the cousin would probably look a little like Six of Crows.

The disclaimer I have is this – I haven’t even read Six of Crows but I swear to god I know every single thing about it. You can’t not, unless you live under a rock. I’m not complaining because when you have a book blog and follow people and do memes and lists then you’re going to come across what is popular and adored.

Six of Crows is clearly adored. And the reason why I keep mentioning a book that I haven’t even read is because I, someone who hasn’t even read Six of Crows, can understand that The Gilded Wolves was a little on the familiar side for a lot of people.

The Gilded Wolves seems to be the Six of Crows posher, more glamorous cousin. It’s the kind of cousin who enters the room and your mouth drops with envy because…. well… glam. But then, after speaking with them for an hour, you wander away dazed and confused.

Are they so intelligent that your lowly mind couldn’t follow? Were they trying so hard to be intelligent that you were confused because nothing made sense? Did they just bamboozle you with the shiny??

That’s how I felt about this book.

First and foremost this is a character driven story and not a plot driven one. Not a problem. I love character driven books.

There’s Kaz Brekker, I mean Séverin, the suave and often cantankerous leader of the gang with a tragic past. There’s Inej, I mean Laila, his possible love interest with a mysterious and tragic past who has a particularly unusual skill. We also have Enrique (tragic past, skilled), Zofia (tragic past, skilled) and Tristan (tragic past, skilled). 

We follow this group of five friends via four of their viewpoints. But this is where my first issue kicks in – for something so character driven I didn’t really feel like I understood the characters.

We skimmed across them and learnt things about them like they were part of a checklist in a guide on how to create a character; religion, race, tragic backstories, sexual orientation, tragic backstories, hidden desires, tragic backstories, nervous behavioural habits etc.

It was almost as though each character had to be so unique that they became paper thin versions of unfulfilled fleshed out versions. I liked them because they were fun characters but I didn’t love them. I didn’t get them. I certainly didn’t feel the warmth or sense of caring between them despite how much ‘banter’ they gave.

I also felt that anvils were being dropped over and over again about their relationships until I wanted to yell, ‘yes, I get it!’

For instance Séverin and Laila spent a night together prior to the story and swore it would never happen again. But did I need to have it repeated every time I was in either of their viewpoint sections?

Repressed desire and longing makes for wonderful conflict but it quickly became repetitive as it was brought up in one of their minds every single time they interacted.

That being said I did adore Zofia and Enrique and Hypnos and the burgeoning whatever it is between all of them and despite my above gripe I actually really liked Séverin and Laila’s complex relationship.

I think this may be where my dissatisfaction came in – I actually wanted more time spent within each character and more explorations of their relationships, romantic and otherwise. When the characters clicked they really clicked and I found myself aching for more character depth and interaction.

This is also where I differed in my approach to this book. I dove into the character interactions and glimpses into their motivations and poured over the setting descriptions but lightly skimmed over huge chunks of the plot for my own sanity.

I have two degrees. Neither of those are in math.

There was so much math in this story. I hate math.

The plot surrounding the heist just didn’t interest me. I think its no secret now to say that I want chapters of more intimate interactions between characters to pages of code breaking and hieroglyph cracking.

Also, I didn’t understand it. I just didn’t have a clue what was going on most of the time. The world building, while vast, was a little too vast and all the explanations only confused me further.

Yet, paradoxically, the setting seemed to serve mainly as an aesthetic. I know, I’m confusing.

In a world of heightened glamour and Forging I still don’t know what Forging is or how it came to be. All I know is that Forgers make pretty and magical (but not magic) things that exist for the sake of The Pretty.

I don’t have a gripe about the writing – it’s good writing. Pretty prose in places and some delicious lines (mainly by Hypnos). Séverin is described by Hypnos as some dark corner of a fairy tale like the wolf in a bed or an apple in a witches hand and honestly – I am here for that kind of scrummy writing. 

The strange thing about this book? Even though I’m giving it 2 stars (and I was genuinely torn between 2 and 3) because I was just too confused – I will be reading the second book.

Why? The characters. I’m clearly invested enough in them to want to know how they end up.

Damn you, The Gilded Wolves. You’ve got just enough gold in you.
My Rating

2 Star
Breaker

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26 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: The Gilded Wolves

  1. You’re definitely not alone in this one! I’ve heard similar things about it being a less-than-stellar version of Six of Crow. Or maybe I just follow all the picky reviewers haha.

    And the characters sound interesting but this kind of seems to be a case of diversity for the sake of diversity? I think we’re getting a similar problem we’ve had with “strong female characters”–with writers being so focused on making their characters diverse that they forget they need actual personalities to go with them. I guess another recent example would be the Bird Box film. They made the cast so, so diverse (the book not so much)–multiple nationalities, sexual orientations–but the characters themselves were so two dimensional and cliched. It’s like they were created sorely to represent a particular branch of diversity and nothing more. And it feels really…commoditized (and I feel kinda bad for saying that). Like saying “Hey, LGBTQ+ and PoC characters are all the rage these days, let’s add them! The kids will love it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a lot that I want to say on this actually but I feel I have to tread carefully! I’ll try and explain the best I can and I’m really sorry that this is such a long comment.

      Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall did a post recently on diversity in fiction and how she actually felt that a lot of it was being forced in and that ‘quotas’ seemed to have to be met. She also mentioned that it seemed like it was ‘the thing’ that had to be done otherwise people would slate the book.

      I’m pretty sure she got a lot of backlash for it. I can’t even find the post anymore so unless I’m being dense I think it may have been taken down. I could be wrong but I think Kelly is Asian and so if she got backlash on this topic then I would worry that I would as well.

      I’m whiter than white bread and so, while I feel like I can speak about female characters and their representation, I do actually get nervous about speaking about diversity because I’m not in a minority group. I’m actually terrified that I’ll offend by using the wrong terminology – such as ‘minority group’ – am I even allowed to say that?!

      In a way I feel like being open to one thing can sometimes lead to the censorship of others. I am absolutely open for more diversity in fiction, of course I bloody am. I feel that the publishing industry is still an industry for white males and that needs to be changed. Characters need to be representative of their readers. BUT I do worry that expressing an even slightly critical opinion will result in pitchforks.

      On the checklist of things in books it seems that the list is characters, setting, plot, writing & diversity. If you had all the rest bar diversity it still isn’t seen as a good book. Again, I’m all for diversity and representation but….

      I agree with you.

      You put….

      “…a case of diversity for the sake of diversity? I think we’re getting a similar problem we’ve had with “strong female characters”–with writers being so focused on making their characters diverse that they forget they need actual personalities to go with them.”

      Yep. For a lot of books I actually agree with this. If there’s diversity I want it to be more than just a tick box exercise. What’s the point of emphasizing that a character is X,Y or Z if its just to make a point and then don’t have it matter?

      Oddly, in The Gilded Wolves I actually enjoyed that the characters brought their culture or elements of their culture with them and for some of the characters their cultural background was more than just a tick in the box for diversity. Their culture and their ethnicity actually allowed them to have motivations and intent for their actions. For example Severin and Hypnos feeling like they have an understanding with each other because they’re both bi-racial and Severin’s realisation that he was possibly passed over for Hypnos because the upper-class world they live in could only ‘allow’ one of them.

      Enrique’s motivations seem to be based on having enough money or power to help liberate his fellow Philippine’s from British occupation. If I read that right?

      Gosh this is such a long post, I’m so sorry.

      But while I felt that the characters backgrounds and diversity had meaning here I have read so many where I have felt it was a point to have X amount of non-white characters, X amount of LGBT characters and there is no introspection as to who those characters are *because* of who they are and that makes diversity moot.

      I don’t expect every female character to have mention of femaleness but being a female character *will* be different than being a male one in our world and if you aren’t white then there will be differences if you are. If a book throws in diversity but doesn’t highlight anything else than I’m dubious.

      I want diversity but I want *meaningful* diversity but at the same time, as a white person, I feel its not up to me to have an opinion on it because I *do* get represented in fiction. It does make me anxious that I am even writing this because a) I genuinely don’t mean to offend and b) I’m actually worried that people will come and censor me for it.

      Your comment has really given me food for through – hence the mini-novel! So sorry Kathy! You probably don’t want War & Peace!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gerry. Gerry. Oh my god I’ve never had to SCROLL down a comment before on my sidebar!! I don’t know why this excites me so much but it does AHHHHHHH. You’re awesome!!! And I see your War and Peace and raise you…uh, a novel that’s not quite as long. 😀 And I’m rather sleep-deprived right now so sorry if I seem to jump from point to point.

        Right, first of all, I had no idea Kelly had taken that post down! That is rather worrying. People can be so censor-happy on the internet. If they want to burn us at the stake, they should take me since I’m the one who brought it up in the first place! (And there’s nothing wrong with saying “minority group”! :P) And I think it’s good for everyone to have an opinion on this whether they’re minorities not (as long as they’re being respectful), so don’t worry!!

        Second of all, this reminds of the author Fonda Lee made a tweet last year about “retroactive diversity” with regards to J.K. Rowling and how she’s been like, “Oh, Dumbledore has always been gay!” and “Nagini’s actually a Korean woman,” when they weren’t in the original text.

        Now, here’s point I’m conflicted about: like you said, I WANT diversity in stories to be meaningful and actually a part of who the characters are–and I’m so glad to hear Gilded Wolves IS like that–but I also want to see a world where stories with casual diversity is the norm. And in order for it to become a norm, I feel like we have to accept that there’s gonna be a range of quality with these stories when it comes to characters. Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t critique them! But sometimes I worry that I’m being too critical with these books BECAUSE they’re diverse and I’m setting my standards too high. Like, there’s a YA book coming out this summer that’s based around Korean mythology, and I want it to be good SO badly. But if I find it disappointing and give it a low rating and so does other people, what does that do for possibility of future Korean-YA fantasy being published?

        Would I rather see 1000 diverse books published each year, all with great character work, or 10,000 diverse books and have them be a mixed bag of good and lazily written characters? I’m…still not sure.

        I also think we have to keep age ranges in mind. Like, with kid’s books I don’t think there’s such thing as forced diversity. Because 1) I don’t expect stellar character writing in a Berenstein Bears book and 2) I think it’s especially important for young kids see themselves however they can in the books they read. Or for non-minority kids to see characters who are different from them, because that fosters empathy and understanding.

        And I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Gillette commercial controversy, but I think whole thing is a little bit like that. On one hand, sure, it’s a multibillion-dollar corporation being like, “Okay, so THIS is what’s trendy right now and has people talking, so let’s use it,” and it’s a bit on-the-nose. On the other hand, yeah, it DOES have people talking (and that’s a good thing, isn’t it?) and it’s a step forward in creating a society where messages like that are the norm.

        And never apologize for long discussion comments!! You know how much I love talking about these things 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m such a pain in the ass aren’t I?!

          Honestly, I love long comments. This is what I started book blogging for, the discussion and comments and general musing over books and book related ‘stuff’.

          I think Kelly has taken the post down because I searched for it again this morning just to see whether I had missed it but nope. Gone. And I agree, it is rather worrying. I thought some valid points were raised and the discussion was brought to light as just that… discussion. Her views were shared and the way she presented her views were clear, well explained and well thought out. I don’t like feeling that someone isn’t allowed to share their opinion. Of course people can come along and disagree and that *should* be encouraged *because* it’s a discussion but when we enter the world of self censoring or online pressure it makes me nervy.

          If I ever say anything that differs from other perspective I wholeheartedly encourage the disagreement and conversation (my perspective *should* be challenged if I put it out there) but sometimes it moves from online conversation into bullying quite easily.

          I don’t know Fonda Lee or what she said but it’s interesting that she mentions JK Rowling because I think JK is doing diversity in a weird way. She’s saying, ‘I have diversity because this character is X’ but then the narrative doesn’t support it. I understand that this might not have been needed in HP but with The Crimes of Grindelwald the diversity she claims she has included is buried deep.

          Gridnelwald and Dumbledore were clearly in a romantic relationship. This may not have played a part in HP but for Crimes it’s actually relevant and glossed over so I’m of the view of – if it’s relevant and plays a part in the story then why not actually use the words ‘love’ and ‘romantic’?

          Nagini makes me feel weird because I wish she was a snake that was always just a snake and not a woman who was forced to stay as a snake due to a blood curse, be used to house part of a genocidal megalomaniacs soul and then get cut in half by a teenage boy. I feel for her character because you know where her story is going and its just a sad one. Also, in the movie she was woefully underdeveloped and I hope the future movies do her better justice.

          Your point on diversity is an interesting one and I do think its complex. What, as you say is this trade off? More diversity in the hopes that someone, somewhere does it right or less books wth diversity but they present excellent representation? But then why should one be sacrificed for the other? Can’t we have more diversity and all of it be excellent?

          What is the responsibility of the writer, agent and publishers in ensuring that they are delivering quality representation?

          I don’t know if there are quick answers to these, no is probably the shortest answer!

          No-one is immune from reader bias and your point on the Korean mythology YA is also an interesting one. Is it more likely that people might rate higher than they would otherwise because they want a particular culture or ethnicity to be represented more in fiction and the only way to do this is to ensure the books get bought? Or is there the possibility for a harder critique than usual?

          For me I think this goes back to writer/ agent/ publisher responsibility. If they are publishing something using certain representations than they need to make sure they have done the best job they can do. Not everyone will be satisfied but if it comes down to the best job possible then its a start.

          Unfortunately I think there is higher standards and more pressure on certain groups getting published. There shouldn’t be but there are. If you’re #ownvoices than it could be that all the eyes are on you because you’ve *got* to do well because you’re representing a voice that wouldn’t otherwise be present in the book sphere. It’s not fair, it’s absolutely not because the starting position is already stacked more favourably than others.

          I don’t know if you’ve heard of all the twitter controversy surrounding Amelie Wen Zhao and Blood Heir? That’s all kicked off recently and I feel really conflicted about it. I also feel for Amelie herself. I’d love your viewpoint on it if you have the time?

          Sorry for such a long comment again Kathy!!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. So sorry I’m getting to this so late, Gerry! I’ve been a bit busy with life stuff and have been neglecting comments. WordPress need to have an “hey, idiot, you still haven’t answered this comment yet!” alert. And then I had to take a day to do research for the whole Blood Heir debacle and gather my thoughts. I love that you’re making me do homework!! 😛

            Before I get to that, I think the biggest problem I have with JKR is the half-hearted way she goes about adding diversity. Like, if you’re going to throw in LGBTQ+ rep, own it and go all the way. And, as you said, don’t have it be buried so deep like you’re ashamed of it. And she’s so dismissive of all the criticisms. Ugh. I wish someone else would take the HP world and do something new with it.

            As for the Blood Heir stuff, I had to dig for it because I’ve been on a sabbatical from Twitter and am utterly blind to any bookish controversies that are going on.

            And oof….that’s a…bit of a minefield.

            So if I’m getting this right, people have been criticizing the author for including a narrative where slavery is colour-blind (so both white people and PoC are slaves) and also the fact that a black character gets killed off?

            I…do have an issue with the second bit. “Token PoC/LGBTQ character gets killed off for emotional manipulation” is a trope I’ve seen far too many times in media–especially movies and TV–and it’s tiring and demoralizing and I think, by now, something all writers should be careful about. Though I haven’t read the book and don’t know the full context behind her death!

            As for the colour-blind slavery being anti-black… I think, to put it diplomatically, that’s a very Western-centric way of looking at this. Slavery of black people has been such a looming thing in the U.S. and obviously it’s an issue that still hasn’t been resolved. But Asia doesn’t share that history and so slavery in Asia (and the author said that she based the story on the history of slavery in East Asia, right?) was and IS very different. In the past 100 years we’ve had Japan taking slaves from Korea and China but also the “white” countries. In North Korea, they still kidnap and/or imprison white people for various reasons. And with them, especially, it’s very much an “Us vs. Them” deal–either you’re with us, or you’re not. It’s about control of information and status quo; colour doesn’t factor into it.

            So I don’t think it’s fair to say to an Asian author, “This needs to take Black history into account since most of your readers will be Americans and so you have a responsibility to represent U.S. culture”
            (Okay, I added that last bit–but that’s what this argument sounds like to me)

            And I have NEVER heard of such an author cancelling such a hyped book before. I don’t know how much flak she’s been getting, whether she’s truly been “bullied into cancelling” as some people say, but I guess ultimately it’s her decision. But I feel for her too! I can’t imagine having to do that as a debut author.

            What are your thoughts on it? Tell me all your conflicted feelings! *hands on chin*

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No apologies needed! I don’t have a set blogging reply schedule so I’m always sporadic with my replies! Ha! I can’t believe I set you homework, so sorry!

              JKR gets a free pass for a lots of things because of who she is but I’m beginning to notice more readers are calling her out on certain subjects because ‘being JKR’ isn’t an excuse anymore. She’ll always be relevant because Harry Potter is a phenomenon but I can’t help but wonder if that’s all she’s got in the tank now. The term ‘beating a dead horse’ comes to mind and she seems to be stuck in the past with how she once did things.

              But she’s JKR. If there’s anyone who can get away with anything it’s her.

              And I say this as someone who *adores* and grew up in the HP world. I’m planning on going back to the studio tour this Christmas (third time) so I’m still a massive fan, I just wish she would move with the times or stop trying.

              Yep, Blood Heir was both interesting and horrific to watch unfold.

              My understanding is the same as yours – debut author writing Russian Anastasia retelling with white main character and themes relating to magic = bad and magic users are discriminated against plus slavery exists (colour blind). And yes, a young black character gets killed and her death serves the purpose to motivate/ inspire the white main character to keep going.

              Your points are incredibly interesting and highlight something which I think crops up time and time again in fiction and that is the American-centric world view. Not that there isn’t a British-centric world view and lord knows historically and sadly even in recent times we’ve been massive assholes to the world.

              I think the concept of ‘young black character dies to support main characters quest’ is insensitive at best and sub-conscious racial bias at worst. It is a trope that fails to die; we had it in The Hunger Games (though that may be perceived differently somehow as context plays a part) but also in Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass series.

              I think if a character of colour is created to simply die with no other development and the point of their existence to serve a while character then yeah, I think criticism and concern is warranted. But personally, I think that criticism needs to be of the constructive and less destructive type which is what I felt happened across twitter with Blood Heir. There are ways to raise an issue to get the issue fixed then how it was done.

              I find America fascinating as a culture, I truly do. Britain is NOT without race issues and we also have a sordid and horrific history with slavery but there is a gulf between the impact in modern Britain and modern America. Not that there is NO impact in Britain with regards to race issues and historical crimes because there are but the scale is significantly different.

              From an outsider looking in it’s a complex history that hasn’t ever gone away and it’s permeated strongly in the identify of the country and its people. I could be wrong of course but that’s what I, an outsider, perceives.

              But as you point out – one culture/ country doesn’t have the monopoly on slavery. Humanity sucks. But yes, the author has used her own culture for inspiration of her story.

              Now, I get that she has displayed insensitivity towards her black characters and I understand that outrage but I don’t understand the whole, ‘you must write slavery only from the perspective of America.’

              Now I truly don’t mean to offend (I really don’t) but the world’s view on America and America’s view on America does… well… differ. The world has a rich and complicated history. Britain has helped f*ck over many people and many of those countries. Honestly, we’ve been sh*t. But there *are* other countries and sometimes the perception is that America as a whole tends to forget that other countries exist or that their histories are less complex.

              I do wonder where we start heading every time someone writes something someone doesn’t like. Like I said, I’m all for constructive criticism but this felt destructive. Where is the pressure of responsibility on agents and publishers? If they are buying these books and publishing shouldn’t they know the voice of the market and edit the stories accordingly? Or do they genuinely not see any problems?

              If it’s the latter than I would say there’s more of an issue as to the viewpoints of the people making these decisions. I didn’t like a lot of the personal attacks on the author because I think there’s a difference between going, ‘hey, something here isn’t right’ to going ‘OMG, the writer is a racist!’

              I also felt for the author as a human being. She’s young, she’s learning but if we want people to learn how best should we teach? Going on the attack is not an approach that sits well with me but I do think a mentoring/ educational approach is better.

              Also, she is NOT the only writer to have written similar material. But no one is going after those writers so I can’t help but wonder why this one was seen as easy target practice.

              I’m noticing a trend though where anything (and I mean anything) that people don’t like is labelled ‘problematic’ and then shut down but for me it all depends on the context and narrative.

              For example, if a character is homophobic and is *shown* to be a nasty homophobe in the story but the narrative treats that character as a delightful bubble of joy then there are some problems. But if the narrative treats that character as the disgusting piece of work they are then it’s not problematic – it’s the story. But I’m noticing that some readers can’t differentiate between the two.

              I do wonder if the prevalence of that has leant itself here too.

              Argh! Sorry for the length again!!!

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  2. This is very informative! Not rambly at all. I absolutely have had those moments where I was craving to understand characters because they were so compelling on paper, but I couldn’t be satisfied because I could tell the author was just ticking off a checklist. I think it’s that case where your brain is telling you that you should be invested, but your heart is letting you know when something’s not totally authentic.

    Perhaps I’ll give Gilded Wolves a go – at least I’ll go in with realistic expectations now. 🙂

    But wait, girrrrrl…you’ve never read Six of Crows?! And you’ve been spoiled about certain things already…*cries for you* I legit adored this duology (though I don’t wanna hype it up since it does have its dips), so I really hope you give it a go sometime. It does kinda undergo a checklist when it comes to the diversity aspect and “overly unique” characters, but it’s tied with Bartimaeus as my favorite YA series, so I may have to hunt you down if you don’t get a move on it. Seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it!

      Sadly I did feel like this at times, that the characters were there to meet some YA criteria. And even though I haven’t read SoC I also couldn’t help the fact that I thought they had been written to be some kind of ‘matching’ force. They all seemed very similar.

      As you’ve read and loved SoC it would be interesting to see what you think of The Gilded Wolves. Some have loved both and some have preferred one to the other. As I haven’t read SoC but didn’t like The Gilded Wolves I’m wondering if SoC is the one that does it for me.

      I read The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo last year and adored it so I’m very excited to read more of her stuff and this year is definitely the SoC year! But yes…. I am massively spoiled and I wonder if that may just interfere with me getting attached to some people. It will be an interesting test!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Six of Crows duology was what restored my faith in YA, but I admittedly haven’t read it it two years. I’m doing a marathon of that and the Grisha trilogy this week, so hopefully I’ll be able to better compare it to Gilded Wolves. (I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t be disillusioned by my re-read lol.)

        Language of Thorns was really nice btw! Fairy tales are always for me, so I enjoyed it as well. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Let me know when you do read The Gilded Wolves because it would be interesting to see what you think, especially as you’ve read SoC first and loved it.

          Yeah I loved it, I have a massive crush on Fairy Tales and those were just nicely done!

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  3. Really interesting review! I was so excited for this one, since I adored Roshani Chokshi’s writing style in The Star-Touched Queen duology. But now I’m not so sure. I don’t enjoy heist plots as a rule (Six of Crows being the obvious exception) and I passionately hate math. On the other hand, that line with the wold and apple and the witch… I’m so easily seduced by pretty prose.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely give it a go! I think I’m on the outlier for this and I had no problem at all with her writing style, in fact she’s a good writer and her prose was one of the most enjoyable aspects! I think the story just lost me at times and when I’m that level of lost there’s no hope of finding me.

      Also, math. I just can’t with it.

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    1. Thank you! I was worried it wouldn’t make a jot of sense as I wrote it late at night and I was seriously caffeine deprived. I haven’t read Six of Crows at all but still want to give it a go as I read The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo last year and adored it!

      I like when I find an outlier opinion though because it’s far more interesting then reading a lot of praise all the time! But then I could just be a massive cowbag in liking that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I actually love reading dissenting reviews! It makes me so happy when a really hyped book that consistently gets five-star reviews finally gets a negative review. Not that I necessarily WANT the book to get negative reviews, but it gives me more reasonable expectations.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Me too and I love a rant/ rage review even on books I enjoyed because I love knowing the differing view!

          Yes! There are books that could have all the 5 stars in the world but sometimes I think it’s a little unrealistic, like no one anywhere didn’t like it?! I tend to read the more negative reviews over positive ones anyway because I think people tend to explain *why* they didn’t like it more than why they did, if that makes any sense?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this review, and even though I adored the book I definitely understand your points. The unrequited desire repetition was bothersome for me a bit too because I generally default to not caring about romance except in rare cases, and this one I am not 100% sold on yet. The worldbuilding is a bit confusing and choppy, but I adored the characters and representation so much that it wound up being a 4 star read for me. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more, though!

    “The disclaimer I have is this – I haven’t even read Six of Crows but I swear to god I know every single thing about it. You can’t not, unless you live under a rock.”

    ALSO THIS!!!! I tried reading SoC twice last year and DNF’d the damn thing last month. Even I saw the similarities hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked the review (despite it being soooo rambly) and especially since you liked The Gilded Wolves. I always worry that I might offend people who liked the books I didn’t because I don’t mean any offense – I just get ranty!

      I found that I didn’t mind the romance between Severin and Laila (or non romance) and probably for me it was quite compelling (I think I’m a sucker for romantic love stories) but even though I enjoyed that part of the story I didn’t need to be beaten over the head with it all the time. I sometimes think less is more and if a writer can write well they can convey longing in more subtle ways. The end was the annoying typical, “I’m hurting so I’m going to act like an asshole and push you away” which just made me want to roll my eyes back into my head.

      The math put me off unfortunately. The second there’s math I want to cry but the representation *was* excellent and I have to say I thought the writer did a good job of conveying some of the cultural representations. I’ve decided that I want to start noting down what I learn from books, even if its a random fact. Nautch dancers is something new that I’d not known about before!

      I’m planning on giving SoC a read this year but I wonder if I’ll enjoy it as much knowing as much as I do! I’m seriously spoiled by it so I think they’ll be no suspense involved at all!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love rambly reviews, hahaha!

        The math made me sad too because I just don’t dig it, but I thought it was cool so I just skimmed over it. I was familiar with bharatnatyam dance from my studies and I have friends that dance, so I knew how big of a deal it was for Laila’s character – I thought it was really cool to bring that level of nuance.

        I… hated Six of Crows. So I hope you like it more than me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I skimmed the math as well sadly. It was very clever but just too clever for my brain.

          Hahaha! You are in the rare group of people I believe with Six of Crows! I read Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns last year and loved it so I have high hopes but then again, those have not always lived up to expectation! 😛

          Like

    1. Ah I feel like I’ve put you off! You might adore it because I can see how there is lots for people *to* adore, I just don’t feel like me and The Gilded Wolves were in it for the long term. Strangely though I will read the second one because the bits that worked really worked and I want to know what happens to some of the characters. It’s just that the bits that worked for me were far and few between and dispersed between bits I couldn’t physically understand.

      Liked by 1 person

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