“The Gilded Ones” Review

The cover is mostly green with yellow gold glow in the top right corner. There is a young dark skinned woman on the cover facing towards the right with log black hair tied in braids with several gold claps holding it. She is also wearing a short sleeved gold and green tunic and necklaces in various colors. She has gold designs on her cheek and a gold earring.  The title is near the bottom of the cover across the woman.Written by Namina Forna
Published By Delacorte Press, February 2021
418 pages
Completed February 25, 2024

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.

This was a really cool story with a lot of interesting twists and turns in the reality of what was going on and why it was happening. I really enjoyed how it played out and how everything was revealed. I liked the relationships Deka developed with the other characters as they learned how to fight and more about what was going on as the story progressed. This is the first book in a trilogy and I’m excited to read what happens next.