This is TECHNICALLY the first book I’ve read by Roshani Chokshi. I’ve listened to A Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes but it’s a different experience reading a physical book and listening to an audiobook while at work. Now I want to go back and actually read ASTQ and ACoW just to fully immerse myself in Chokshi’s writing.
The Gilded Wolves is a historical fantasy story with a group of misfits who were drawn together and use their unique talents to accomplish complicated heists. They each have their own agenda but work together to help each other reach their own goals. Chokshi bounces between each character so we see the world and different situations through them. Each character was easy to like: Severin, with his cool and collected demeanor; Enrique, with his dedication; Laila, for being able to see through people’s armor, Zofia, who’s mind never stops working to figure out the puzzles; Tristan, with his big heart; and even Hypnos, who just needed friends.
The story in general has a fast pace. There aren’t many moments the characters have a chance to breath, and because of that Chokshi has limited space to fit in backstory amidst the action. The story doesn’t feel satisfying because it’s not complete. Where most authors ease us into the plot, let us get to know the characters and the world, Chokshi drops us off amid the action. I expect there to be additional backstory continued in the second book.
One quick mention of a side story I liked and hope to see more of, the love triangle. It’s not something I’ve ever wished to see more of but Chokshi does this one right. Enrique is bi while Hypnos is gay and Zofia is straight. The dynamics of this triangle were exciting to watch unfold. I think it’s because it’s one of the first triangles I didn’t feel had an obvious right answer. A choice was made at the end, but I don’t expect it to stick throughout book two and it makes me more excited to see it continue.
While the story clips along at a fast pace, it’s easy to get swept up in the action. The magic system isn’t so complicated that it needs too much explanation to pick it up. The Order and their goals and why they are in place in this society got a bit lost in the shuffle but Severin and the group had a clear goal and completed it, while Chokshi set up enough of a cliff hanger for us to anticipate the next book.