Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 3
Genre: historical, fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

In love they breathed. In destiny they believed. In the end, will divinity be their demise?

After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin.

Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass.

With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.


Review

No one is more devastated than me – because I gave the first two books five stars. I LOVED this series. I’m a little upset that I am only giving this book 3.5 stars. If you want to know why, please read on! 

I want to cover what I enjoyed about the book first. Because there were aspects of the book that were enjoyable. Chokshi is a talented writer. I’ve loved everything that she has written, and the writing in this is no exception. I thought it was fabulous. Chokshi has a way with words and they melt into your brain as you are reading. 

Another aspect I liked is that this is historical fantasy, and I found it well done. Much like the first two books there were lots of puzzles and action in this book. 

The characters are another facet that Chokshi is a master at. She is able to craft characters that are so wonderful and feel as if they can step off the page. I did enjoy the overall character arcs in this book for the most part. 

The major thing that brought this book down was I felt that this was just a repeat of events in a slightly different way from the first two books. It felt rather repetitive. And while I do think the characters had depth, I didn’t feel that they were as well done as in the previous books. I also would have liked more from Hypnos character. He was a side character, but he also was a main character? Honestly, that was a little confusing. 

To be honest I was going, plot, what plot? Throughout this entire book. I felt that this book drifted around a lot, with no true purpose. It didn’t feel as if it was for character development either. I’m not sure what happened here, but it was not nearly as good as the first book was. The pacing was awkward for me too, and I felt that I was bored – and I was SO SAD because I wasn’t bored in the previous two books. I’m really not sure what happened with this book. It just didn’t work as well. 

I did however, love the ending. I was pretty happy with it. I knew it was going to be bittersweet, and it was in multiple ways. But I loved where all the characters ended up, especially my faves, Zofia, Enrique and Hypnos. 

Overall, the book was good, it just wasn’t as good as the first two books. I am excited to read whatever Chokshi writes next!

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Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 2
Genre: fantasy, historical fiction
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.


Review

When I was accepted for this ARC I was over the moon. So thank you to Netgalley for the ARC. Yet, I didn’t read it right away. Why? Because the release date is so far away! But, I decided I might as well read it now before it burns a hole in my pocket. It has also weaseled its way into my heart like its predecessor. It is not only going to be a long wait for this one to come out, but for the third book to come out as well. HOWEVER, I read a character I thought was coded into the aro/ace spectrum, and that took a turn and I am severely disappointed. I was really hoping it wasn’t going to go that way, and in the end, it sucked some of the enjoyment out of the book for me.

The Writing
Chokshi’s writing is beyond amazing. I’ve always loved it, and am always happy to read it. There is something that clicks with me, and it resonates so strongly that I can’t even believe it…I just can’t. Chokshi is great at putting a mix of dialogue and description together, and it comes together beautifully. The world comes alive as she writes it, and it is a lovely one to boot.

The Pacing
The pacing in this book was good. Saying this as someone who liked the first book (5 stars) I felt the pacing was even better in this one than the previous one. It all felt that it flowed smoothly together and I really enjoyed that. There is little that I can despair about in terms of pacing. It all came off without a hitch. And the pacing, is what helped make this book. You were anxious to know what happens next…

The Plot
And that is part of the superb plot! This book is a lot more straight forward than The Gilded Wolves was. It is far less confusing, and not nearly as daunting. It isn’t so much a heist in this one as a treasure hunt. Which is almost as good. As the plot moves on you’re left wondering what is happening, what is going, on and OH MY GOD every ten pages. You never know what is going to happen. I loved that, and I loved that about the first book as well. There is something satisfying when a plot brings in characters and it works for them all. And this plot worked for everyone. As they hunt for this mysterious book, lots happens, and I prevaricate because I do not want to spoil this book at all! It is so much better left unknown and you just sit down and read it!

The Characters
I love the characters. Not so much Séverin in this one though. Séverin was definitely my least favorite character of all this time around. Okay, that’s not quite true, but of the main cast he was. Enrique remains my favorite of all. Also Zofia is super amazing. And Laila. Let’s just go…with LOVE THEM ALL. All their characters in this have a little growth, and it adds to the plot.


There were a few things I was…unhappy with the direction they took in the relationship department. One of them at least – I’m a little unhappy about because I thought the character represented something else. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it honestly brought down the rating for me overall. I love a good relationship drama, but I felt this one was done poorly and it didn’t sit right with me. This is all personal preference of course, so I’ll be interested to see how it turns out in the next book. (As in…I hope it turns into a poly relationship. My heart would be much more relieved about that.)

Overall
I liked it a lot. There is a lot to love (except that one relationship aspect, it felt shoved in) in this book. And the next one will be amazing, no doubt!

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Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy, historical fiction
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

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.


Review

Treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is coerced into a mission for the Order of Babel. If Séverin completes this mission he will be given a prize beyond his wildest dreams: his inheritance. He calls together a group that all have specific talents to hunt down this artifact. They could change the course of history if they don’t die first.

…had called for a meeting once he and Enrique got back from their latest acquisition, which she knew was just a fancy word for “theft”.

This book was an absolute joy to read. I’ve liked Chokshi’s other works before, but this one was on a whole new level. She really upped her game with this book. There is so much to love about this book from the very beginning: it has a gorgeous cover, a very cool title, great prose and dialogue and an intriguing plot. I think this book was made for me to love. I really enjoyed all the characters immensely in this book. I didn’t find a single one of them annoying. Sometimes with large ensemble casts you hate a particular character, but that wasn’t the case for me in this book.

…this was like reaching for a match only to come out holding a torch.

Séverin – he is the guy who leads all these missions. Team leader and haunted by his past, he does his best to protect his friends. He cares deeply for Laila. Something happened between them years ago.

Laila – a dancer. She has dark secrets, and is able to look at objects and get feelings/ideas from them. She helps Séverin with the antiquities by getting information from them. She and Séverin have and odd relationship.

Zofia – was locked up for an incident. Séverin freed her in return for an oath. She is an engineer and a supremely intelligent young woman. She is great with numbers, and can figure out things quickly. Prefers to keep to herself.

Tristan – Séverin’s brother? He and Séverin have a close relationship. He is wary and runs experiments. He has a large tarantula named Goliath. Everyone is terrified of Goliath. Seems generally happy.

Enrique – a displaced historian. He is great at history and information. He also has a sense of humor. Also a thief? An intriguing character overall.

Hypnos – a sort of ally? He’s a very dramatic person. He is a Patriarch and is “helping” Séverin with his mission. And causing trouble. Generally an amusing character.

That boy looks like every dark corner of a fairy tale. The wolf in bed. The apple in a witch’s palm.

All these characters working in concert make for a truly interesting time with dialogue. There is always so much going on, and it is so fast paced. It makes the book fly by! And you’re always anxiously waiting to see what happens next. They all have slightly different interactions with each other, and slightly different relationships and it is interesting to see how they all play out by the end of the book. There is a whole lot to love in their interactions.

Plot wise I really liked the book. I think that despite some small subplots, there was a bigger overarching plot that we weren’t aware of until the end. There are little clues throughout the book, but it does make the ending a bit of a cliffhanger. (It’s a good ending though!) The main plot of searching and retrieving this artifact is a mixture of discovering clues, decoding them, and analyzing them. It is very focused for the most part, and as each new reveal happens you get curiouser and curiouser. I enjoyed the plot for that reason alone.

Chokshi is a great writer – and it comes out in her dialogue. She writes some absolutely amazing dialogue in this book, and you can’t help but laugh or cry at turns. She has a way with words that makes this world come alive. There was something magical about it.

People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.

Overall, this was an amazing book and I really want to read the next one in the series!

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