Book Review: The Gilded Ones By Namina Forna

It has been a few day since I finished reading The Gilded Ones. My mind still hasn’t recovered from what a ride that was. So what did I think about it? Read on to find out more.

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Read more here.

The Gilded Ones book cover. The side view of an African girl wearing gold armor with gold clasps in her long braids.  Three patterned gold stripes going down her cheek. A teal and green background with The Gilded Ones written in white.

About The Book

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself. 

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Details

Author: Namina Forna
Genre: Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Date Of Publication: 4th February 2021
No. Of Pages: 416
Format: E-ARC
Source: NetGalley

Let me start this review off by saying that this book was so good! I could not put it down for even a second and I finished reading it in a single sitting. The Gilded Ones was an amazing story and I never expected myself to love it as much as I did. This book is my first “five-star” read of 2021 and I cannot wait for the sequels to come out. There is so much that I want to know about the world and about Deka and the other characters from the book.

The Gilded Ones is about Deka, a sixteen year old girl who’s blood runs gold. Shunned by her village because of this, she is taken over by a mysterious woman who rescues her from her plight and who sends her to join a specialist force of similar girls like herself. She is an alaki, a woman with super human ability thought to have descended from supernatural beings. And together with the rest of her kind, they are the only ones who can defeat the Deathshrieks who have plagued their homeland for generations. During her time training, Deka discovers more about herself and the rest of the Alaki. And what her discovery would mean for the future of all of their lives.

Trigger Warnings

Instances of sexual assault, violence, gore, abuse, dismemberment and torture.

Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

I honestly cannot stop thinking about this book. The world-building is fantastic and very well thought through. I was surprised by how diverse the characters were. The author made sure to not leave anyone out. You had characters of all races and backgrounds. Every single one of them was written and developed beautifully. This book is full of strong female leads and I loved it! The Gilded Ones is a story about female friendship and sisterhood. It is also a story that talks about misogyny and the treatment of women by the patriarchy. While the book may be set in a fantasy world, a few of the instances described are all too real.

Final Thoughts

Fast-paced, exciting, and brilliantly executed, The Gilded Ones should be a must-read on everyone’s list. Would I recommend this book? Yes! I cannot recommend this enough. And can we talk about this cover for a sec? How stunning is that!? I have seen a few of the hardbacks with sprayed edges and I wish I could have them all.

About The Author

Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles and the author of the epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves building fantastical worlds and telling stories with fierce female leads.

Liked my review and want to buy this book for yourself? Find it available for purchase on Amazon (Paperback)*, Amazon (Kindle)* and Amazon (Hardback)*.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Gilded Ones By Namina Forna”

  1. I am so excited to read this book, and your wonderful review just added go my anticipation. Thank you and I’m glad that you enjoyed it!🥰

  2. I’m so excited to read this! I’ve heard such good things. I’m so glad to see that you loved it!

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