Book Review · Books

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Oh my goodness, what a book! The Gilded Ones is the first book in the Deathless series, and it’s already much talked about! Get ready to dive into a YA Fantasy that will brutally show you what happens when society believes oppression is okay. And how one girl, who is deemed different and therefore, cast away from her village, will rise up and fight for her freedom!

I am so thankful to a few teams, for letting me be part of this experience and sending me a copy of this book. Thanks to LoveReading and LoveReading Kids, Usborne YA and Tandem Collective.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka grew up and lives in Otera, a kingdom with patriarchal values. The Kingdom has the Ritual of Purity, where every girl’s worth is being determined by the colour of her blood. When a girl reaches a certain age, she needs to prove she’s “pure”. If she bleeds red, she is “pure” and is accepted as part of the village and required to wear a mask.

When the day comes for Deka to undergo the Ritual of Purity, she bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. She faces a consequence worse than death, and is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature. Deka is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. And this woman offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with the other Alakis, or be destroyed…

“Giving us impossibilities and calling them choices.”

My Thoughts:

The Gilded Ones is everything I expected it to be and more. From the very first page, I cared so much for Deka. As the chapters went on, I couldn’t peel my eyes off the book. Firstly, the world building is spectacular. Namina Forna created this fictional world, and society so cruel that it made me hurt for Deka and the other Alakis.

These people don’t really appreciate and accept the worth of a woman, even when she is considered “pure”. The women in the village are only there to bear children and be housewifes. They are also required to wear a mask to cover their faces. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a housewife and staying home. But it has to be the woman that makes that choice. And in this society, the woman has no voice, no space to make a choice, no other option. And these are the “pure” women we are talking about. What about those that are deemed “different”?

The Alaki

Deka and the others like her bleed gold, and therefore, the society thinks they are evil. The society is afraid of anything that is different to them, and therefore rejects it. These girls are subject to terrible things, And through Deka and her friends’ experiences, we find out about the most gruesome and brutal things that can happen to women, in a society led by men and voiceless women. These girls now have to fight for the Emperor, having no other choice, and stay together. However, they have some unexpected powers, especially Deka, that with time, she will learn to use. Their training and battles will teach them things that will change them forever.

“The physical body – it heals. The scars fade. But the memories are for ever. Even when you forget, they remain inside, taunting you, resurfacing when you least expect.”

Remember your scars! Embrace them! Let them remind you where you came from, what you went through. Let them remind you how much you’ve achieved! Without those scars, you would never be the person you are today.

As a YA Fantasy, The Gilded Ones exceeds everything!

There is danger, adventure and magic. There is Deka’s main storyline, that drives the story forward as we learn more about her and her role in this world. But there are also the stories of her many Alaki friends she meets, all bearing their own weight, all powerful and emotional in their own way. I especially loved that we had a romance creeping into the book, but it so subtle and never took importance in the story. I loved how independent Deka was, and how well represented it was that love can exist in your world, and you can care about someone, but it doesn’t have to define you as a person, or affect your decisions. This is not the case with most of the YA Fantasy books, and I am so glad that this book focused on it.

Namika Forna wrote a masterpiece, and this book will go a long way! It’s all about that raw brutality and pure emotions dripping into every single page. My heart was breaking for Deka, Britta, Belcalis and the other girls! The Gilded Ones is a book that shows how to live past the stereotypes, and when oppressed, to fight for freedom! It shows in a brutal way what would happen if a certain behaviour becomes supported by the general public and becomes the new norm. It also shows that you can fight through it. And considering today’s world is not too far off from this fantasy, hopefully we’ll all learn a little bit more about important topics worth talking about!

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Books · Monthly Tags

February TBR – The TBR Raffle

February TBR - The TBR Raffle

Hello, fellow readers!

Welcome to the February TBR! January felt like it lasted for a year, and I’m already enjoying February way more than I enjoyed January. It’s nice to have a short month once in a while, isn’t it?

January was a very hard month, and I read only 7 books, only one of which was a 5-star. You can see my January wrap up here.

You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. And this month, there will be a lot of surprises there as well, which you don’t want to miss.

And with that being said, let the February TBR raffle commence.

The February TBR Raffle

I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check out the “Monthly TBR” highlight at the beginning of each month!

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the paper is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 6 prompts, which result in 6 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

My February TBR

✨ 1. Fantasy

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas is a book I have had on my TBR shelf since last April, but when fantasy came up, it felt like the perfect time to start it, and I can’t wait for it.

Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 2. LoveReading

LoveReading is a website that I have been an ambassador for about 2 years now, and they send me amazing books before publication. That is why I have a special prompt made just for the books they’ve sent me. This time, I am choosing The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna. I know I will definitely enjoy this book, and I think it will one of the most popular YA fantasies this year!

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…

Purchase Links:
 | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 3. Instagram Pick

This month’s Instagram Pick was The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I always love the Instagram polls that we do, and you seem to also enjoy it as well. It’s quite fun how we come up with a random title that most of you want me to read. I am in love with my copy of this book, and I know I will truly enjoy it!

Synopsis:

It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

✨ 4. Highest Rated

The current highest rated book on my Goodreads TBR is Unspoken by Guvna B, and I am so excited to read about his book that speaks about toxic masculinity.

Synopsis:

Men are bold. Men are brave. And men are strong in the face of fear. But what happens when that strength crumbles?

Growing up on a council estate in East London, rapper Guvna B thought he knew everything he needed to know about what it means to be a man. But when a personal tragedy sent him reeling, he knew he had to face these assumptions head on if he was going to be able to overcome his grief.

In this intimate, honest and unflinching memoir, Guvna B draws on his personal experiences to explore how toxic masculinity affects young men today. Exploring ideas of male identity, UNSPOKEN is an inspirational account of Guvna’s journey.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 5. TBR Jar

My TBR Jar picked The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice! It’s the perfect book to get me into a spring/summer mood, and it will be a light read to brighten up the gloomy rainy February days.

Synopsis:

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 6. Sent By Publisher

The Man I Didn’t Marry by Anna Bell was kindly sent to me by the team at HQ Stories, and this book is coming out this month, which is why I chose to read it. The synopsis is intriguing, and I have heard amazing things about Anna Bell’s writing, so can’t wait to dive into it!

Synopsis:

What happens when the man she married can’t remember her?

Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.

Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find herMax again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?

As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

There are also a few extra books I am planning on reading this month, as well as the ones from last month that I didn’t get to yet, but I won’t reveal these titles to you yet, as I have some special TBR mystery surprises ready. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.

And that’s (part of) my February TBR. Wish me luck, because this month, I’ll need it! <3
What is on your February TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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