Courntey’s Book Chat: The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

First Line: Severin glanced at the clock: two minutes left. 

Summary: In this YA Historical Fantasy set in 1889 Paris, when Severin is offered his true inheritance in exchange for stealing a precious artifact, he and four recruited experts work to hunt it down while staying ahead of a dark mystery.

My Thoughts: I didn’t want The Gilded Wolves to end.

I loved each of the characters. They were all fully developed and each had their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. My favorite part was how they all interacted with each other, complete with witty banter and genuine love. Chokshi pulls off an ensemble cast exceedingly well. The characters are also richly diverse, with the main characters being people of color, two fitting in the LGBTQ community, and one reading as neurodivergent. I enjoyed reading each of the four point-of-view characters’ chapters.

The plot is ripe with tension and twists. Each moment is suspenseful, intriguing, and replete with mystery as the characters go through their mission. The puzzles and codes the characters have to solve are so interesting, incorporating bits of world building, history, and math. I especially loved how each character’s interests and backgrounds help them solve the codes.

The re-imagined history is also intriguing, with the fantasy elements skillfully woven into the story. Chokshi writes incredibly lush descriptions, and though dense, the writing never feel tedious to read through and adds to the smart and sophisticated story, world, and cast of characters. This book also addresses colonialism, repatriation, and greed, which makes for an interesting and relevant read.

I found the end slightly disappointing, but The Gilded Wolves as a whole is a beautiful and stunning, filled with twists and turns, a delightful ensemble cast, and plenty of mystery.

Book Review: Origins

Origins by Dan Brown

First line: As the ancient cogwheel train clawed its way up the dizzying incline, Edmond Kirsch surveyed the jagged mountaintop above him.

Summary: Robert Langdon is back in his newest adventure. While attending a special screening at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, he witnesses the murder of his former student and friend, Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch, an outspoken atheist and billionaire scientist, is unveiling his most recent discovery that is going to rattle the religious communities around the world. Before he is able to reveal his research, he is shot on live television. With the help of the future Queen of Spain, Ambra Vidal, Robert has to evade the police and find out how to release Kirsch’s presentation before the killer finds him.

Highlights: As with all the Robert Langdon books this one is fast paced and filled with codes and twists. I would love to have his eidetic memory and knowledge. My favorite parts of Dan Brown’s novels are that he takes you to real places and uses facts for his story. I was constantly Googling the locations and facts to find out more and to see pictures. I have never visited or studied much about Spain but now I am very interested. I love the way the suspense builds throughout the novel. He keeps the reader invested and itching to learn more.

Lowlights: I struggled at the end when the science behind everything is explained. I skipped around during this chapter in order to keep myself interested. Since I have read all the other Robert Langdon books, I was looking for the shocking ending. I was able to guess some of the twists because I look for them. However, I was satisfied.

FYI: Book 5 in the Robert Langdon series.