Book Review

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna | ARC Review

Title: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

How did I get it? I received a review copy via Netgalley from Random House Children’s, Delacorte Press.

What’s it about? The Gilded Ones is the first book in a new YA Fantasy series about a girl named Deka who has always been the outsider in her village. After her blood proves her to be impure she is sentenced to death, except Deka can’t die. Then a stranger comes to her town and she is given a choice, stay in the village and submit to her fate of being tortured to death over and over, or leave and join the emperor’s army of Alaki. The Alaki are nearly immortal with rare gifts and they are the only ones that can defeat the empire’s greatest enemy.

Trigger warnings: graphic violence, gore, graphic death, murder, war, misogyny, mentions of rape and sexual assault, mentions of forced prostitution.


The Gilded Ones is one of the best YA fantasy novels I have read in a while. It pulled me out of my reading slump with its wonderfully diverse cast of characters. Along with its strong female empowerment vibe set in a rich and vibrant world. I was hooked from beginning to end. This book has a little bit of everything: romance, great friends, and an adorable baby dragon kitten. It is a thought-provoking, fast-paced and exciting read due to the high-stakes situations that Deka finds herself in.

I absolutely loved this book. The characters were so well fleshed out. The friendships found within the group of Alaki that Deka was assigned to were so endearing. The Alaki supported and empowered each other to rise above their circumstances. The strength of these relationships just made me connect with this band of outcasts even more.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate how exceptional the world-building is in The Gilded Ones. The explanation of the magic system and the world-building were done so in a way that integrated seamlessly with the story. I never felt like I was overwhelmed with information dumping as I sometimes do with other fantasy books. The world just came alive for me and sucked me in.

This was an incredible reading experience and I could not put this book down. I can’t wait to see where this series will go from here. I would recommend this to lovers of YA fantasy. I would also recommend this to readers that are just beginning their reading journey in fantasy because it is written in such an accessible way that this would be great for someone that wants to try out the genre.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!


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