A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Gilded Wolves is the start of a new fantasy series for teens by Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time). It takes place in 1889 Paris before the Exposition Universelle, which featured the building of the Eiffel Tower, but it's set in a world of magic. Problems are solved with magic, a deep knowledge of ancient history, and mathematical concepts like the Fibonacci Spiral, so this is a great fit for clever readers who like to solve puzzles. Readers will also run into some mature content: plenty of drinking from older teen characters, two bloody deaths, some mind-control torture, and other injuries. Two characters remember sleeping together, but in the main storyline there's only kissing, both straight and LGBTQ. Characters are diverse and talk of their experiences as mixed race (with one parent from the colonies) and Indian. One female character -- the math whiz -- is on the autism spectrum and is well supported by her friends.
What's the story?
In THE GILDED WOLVES, Severin is an outcast in the magic secret society of Paris. He was denied his position as the last heir of his family's house and schemes to reclaim it by any means necessary with the help of his talented friends: Zofia, who's amazing with math and inventions; Enrique, the historian; Tristan, who can magically enhance plants; and Laila, who can read memories off objects. That brings him to an auction at the House of Nyx, in disguise, to steal a magic compass. He thinks he's gotten away with the acquisition until a letter arrives from the House of Nyx saying "I know you stole from me." Rather than face the authorities, he returns to House of Nyx and is confronted by Hypnos, the young head of house. Hypnos doesn't care about his compass, it turns out. He has a proposition for Severin and his friends: Steal an artifact from the rival House of Kore, and Hypnos will make sure Severin reclaims everything that's his. Severin agrees before he realizes just how well guarded the artifact is, and just what kind of danger it will put him in.
Is it any good?
While this story has difficulty setting up its fantasy world with clarity, it more than makes up for it with its cool mix of puzzles, math, mythology, and magic. The characters are a plus, too, and will remind you of the motley crew from Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows. They're diverse, quirky, and very talented, and all have tough pasts to overcome. Each has an essential talent that comes into play when trying to pull off a series of nail-biting heists. Add to that the enemy you didn't see coming, and readers will stay engaged and guessing.
But that's once they're able to dive in. At the start of The Gilded Wolves, there's little explanation of Forged objects or the magical world we've entered. It's easy to get lost, and re-reading is necessary until you can get oriented. Let's hope readers have the patience for this, because there's a definite payoff for the rest of the book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Severin's struggle to belong in The Gilded Wolves. Why is acknowledgement and status important to him? Why does he think it's denied him?
What's real about Paris in 1889? What's part of the magic world of the book?
Will you read more in this series? What do you think happens next to Severin and his friends?
- Author: Roshani Chokshi
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Wednesday Books
- Publication date: January 15, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 22, 2019
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