A heist, a band of misfits, a stolen inheritance and Bond-levels of gadgets. What’s not to love about The Gilded Wolves? Well…
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change—one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history—but only if they can stay alive.
The whole concept was what made me desperately want this book. Plus, Roshani Chokshi’s previous books were a smash hit–so that means The Gilded Wolves had to be great too, right? Not so much. When I was reading, I just felt lost a lot of the time. I didn’t quite understand the “magic” system presented in the book, and it felt a little flimsy at best.
The characters were a shining aspect to the book; I loved the diverse and interesting crew, and I was interested enough in them alone to keep reading. I just kept finding myself constantly shunted out of the story due to the lackluster worldbuilding and the ever-present deus ex machina that came up at every turn.
There were some interesting points that felt skated over, and few things were ever really delved deeply into. The writing itself felt forced and stiff, and the occasional French words tossed into a conversation that was otherwise written in English just made it seem like the characters weren’t speaking in French at all…in a story about (mostly) French natives.
I was never invested in the heist, and there never truly felt like there had been any sort of tension. I dreaded picking up the book to finish it, but I was determined and far enough in that I couldn’t just DNF it. It felt like a slog just to get through it, despite the intriguing concept and the hope that maybe it’ll explain something at some point instead of just this vague teasing of information hidden somewhere in the story.
All in all, it wasn’t a terrible book. I’ve read and reviewed some pretty bad ones in my time, and The Gilded Wolves wasn’t one of those. It had plenty of room to expand and be better, but there was some great prose and the characters were the shining stars of the whole ordeal. But it’s not something I’d be willing to read again.