Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. This tour is being hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: February 9, 2021
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
The Gilded Ones was one of my most anticipated releases for 2021. I preordered this a year and a half ago. So my expectations were pretty high and I was worried. I shouldn’t have been though. I loved this and read it over two days. That’s definitely quick for me with a fantasy.
In this world, women have pretty much no rights. Girls go through a ritual where they are cut to see if they are pure or not. If the blood is red, they are safe to stay at home. Deka lives in Irfut, but she’s never fit in. Her skin is darker and it made her stand out. She lived with her father. Her mother had passed away before the testing. If a girl is impure, they are taken away by priests. Deka was nervous, but she assumed her blood would run red. She did everything right growing up. But when she was cut, her blood ran gold. There are monsters called deathshrieks that invade and kill. Deathshrieks showed up during the testing and killed a lot of people in Irfut. Deka was taken away and tortured for being impure. Before that happened, she yelled at the deathshrieks and they listened to her. They seemed to obey her. She had no idea what that meant. Deka realizes she’s a demon once she wakes up. She’s been tortured and killed over and over. But she always woke up all healed.
After awhile, a woman shows up and tells Deka what she is and what she could be. They call her kind Alaki and they are stronger and faster than humans. The emperor is planning an army to kill all the deathshrieks and Deka can be a part of it. She’s taken with other impure girls to train. What Deka finds there changes everything. She makes friends. Real friends. She trains to kill and gets more skilled. She also finds out secrets about her parents and The Gilded Ones. Alaki are descendants of the Gilded Ones. They were told that the Gilded Ones were four ancient demons that preyed on humans for years. Before the emperor destroyed them, they had bred and had babies with humans.
This was a dark and gory book. I adored all the Alkali Deka became friends with. The sisterhood part of the story really stood out to me. I enjoyed the writing and the pacing. It’s a great start to a new series, but it also read well as if it was a standalone.
I gave this book 5 stars. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my earc.
Warnings for racism, sexism, cutting, blood, captivity, torture, death.
“NEVER FORGET HOT THE HUMANS TREATED US! NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY CALLED US.”
“There are no others like you, Deka. You should know that. There never have been, and there will never be.”
No man has ever offered me his hand before, as if we were equals, but that’s exactly what Keita’s doing.
No opponent is infallible, no matter how big he is.
All this time, I’ve been terrified of my ability, when instead I should have been regarding it as a treasured weapon-a sword to unsheathe when the situation requires.
Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.
Follow The Tour:
The Booksnom – Review, Mood Board, & Top 5 Reasons to Read The Gilded Ones
Thin Bookish Girl – Review, Favourite Quotes, & Mood Board
Mahkjchi’s Not-So-Secret Books – Review
Books of Amber – Review