I’ve seen this book on Goodreads for such a long time now so when I saw it just hanging out on a shelf at the library I snatched it up. And guys, it was so. good.
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.
This is the second historical fantasy book set in France that I’ve read in the past few months. I didn’t love the first one so I was a bit apprehensive about starting The Gilded Wolves. It was a few weeks before I started reading it once I checked it out (thank god for renewals) but once I started reading I couldn’t stop.
I want you to know that I’ve been staring at this screen for 30 minutes trying to put my thoughts into words and I’m really struggling. For the sake of my poor brain, we’re going to go the easy way do bullet points for this one.
- This book has an awesome vibe to it. Every page is magical, mysterious, and delightfully infuriating (will they? won’t they? I dunno!). The setting and character descriptions added a lot to this. The hotel, the parties, the gardens, the catacombs, the Exposition Universelle… everything fused together so nicely and really transported me into the book.
- The setting! I loved the time, location, and magic/science in this story. It all combined so well with the history of this world. I did find it a bit difficult to really understand just how integrated society and Forging were. I kept thinking the magic and the Houses were secrets and it took me a long time to fully grasp the idea that Forging was commonplace and history as we know it was completely altered. Once I understood that concept I found myself enjoying the book a lot more.
- The characters were easy to tell apart and were all well-developed. Part of this is due to the different POVs (each main character gets POV chapters) and part of it is from the natural way the author integrated the character’s strengths and weaknesses into the plot. One thing I’m really excited for in book two is learning more about where our characters come from and where they will go.
- The plot was always evolving and building toward a grand finale. Some of the plot was predictable but a lot of it took me by surprise. The minor subplots like friendship, romance, character arcs, etc. were all well-written and contributed either directly or indirectly to the main plot line. The way the Big Surprise Climax was written honestly confused me a bit. I’m not sure if it was the way it was written or because I was reading it so quickly, but it took away some of the drama for me.
- I know I already talked about the characters but, seriously, the characters. I loved every one of them. So much. It was a lot of fun (and some pain) watching their relationships grow and change. Also, huge shoutout to Hypnos. I felt for him, I really did. I wish we had gotten at least one chapter form his POV but I can see how it might not have fit into the story or would have given things away. Fingers crossed for book two?
I feel like there’s so much more to say but I can’t put it into words and I definitely don’t want to spoil anything. If you haven’t read this yet you should really fix that. It’s a beautiful read full of mysterious intrigue, endearing characters, and a twisting plot.