Recommended Age: 14+
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Tags: Drama, Heist, Magic
- Mature violence: Physical attacks, details of abuse, torture, and murder.
- Moderate sexuality: Kissing scenes, allusions to sex, and sexual manipulation.
- Moderate language: Some swearing, including some F bombs.
Severin was born to one of the great houses of France, but when his parents died and left him orphaned as a child, his inheritance was mysteriously stolen by the order. They claimed he wasn’t of his father’s blood, but Severin is determined to reclaim his rightful title. Over the years he’s collected friends with powerful gifts and a knack for trouble, and they hatch up a scheme to fool the most powerful families in France out of a treasure only whispered to be real. Soon Severin will be the most rich and influential person in Europe, and discover the truth behind his family and why he was disinherited all those years ago.
These vibrant characters light up a rich backdrop in this reimagined version of Paris. Set in the late 1800s, this world has a touch of magic called forging. Anyone with forging abilities has the power to bend things to their will. Zofia can command fire and metal, Tristan can control plants, and Laila can read the history of anything she touches. Enrique is not a forger, but a historian who can identify artifacts from their heists and help decipher clues that lead to treasure. Severin has taken them all in at his hotel, and they have the clear camaraderie of a chosen family.
While the plot is devious and riddled with intricate clues, and the imagery is breathtakingly gorgeous, the star of this book is the relationships. There are so many layers of friendship, whether it’s lifelong friends who’ve seen each other at their worst, old friends who bring up painful memories, new friends who are also coworkers, or best of all: new friends who are also potential lovers. No relationship is clear-cut, there is history and nuance and possibility. Even when these characters excel at their jobs, they are constantly pushing themselves towards a higher goal. It’s such a human trait to never be satisfied with life, even while draped in silk and jewels. There’s always more, and this author captures that feeling of an endless treasure hunt through her Gilded Wolves.
The characters are rich with personality and backstory, and the plot is just as twisty as a murder mystery party or escape room. The book itself is a work of art, and the audiobook is really well done. I love hearing the different accents and personalities as the book switches from each point of view. Sometimes different characters still sound the same when observing the world around them, but that isn’t the case here.
Laila sees so much potential and adventure in the world, just like her performances. She also shows her love through baking, and finds so much peace while making perfectly circular cookies for Zofia. Zofia is completely different. She doesn’t understand people, and thinks like an engineer. Her Autism is written so well, and the stark way she views life helps differentiate her narration. She is unintentionally funny, and always has a solution. Even without the different accents the audiobook actor gives each character, it’s easy to tell everyone apart and remember them. No one gets buried or lost in the crowd, they all stand out in their own way.
This trilogy is imaginative and breathtaking, and perfect for any fantasy lover.
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