ARC Review: The Gilded Wolves (+ I got to Meet Roshani Chokshi!)

Are you my book_(2)

***I received this book free from a Goodreads giveaway***

39863498THE GILDED WOLVES

by Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: January 15th, 2019

(yes, I know I’m late in posting this)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Publisher: Wednesday Books

 

At first, honestly I wasn’t that intrigued by this book. I tend to prefer high fantasy over historical fantasy and I tend to avoid books that have 3+ perspectives. But after the first couple of chapters of this book, I was hooked! I read this book in last then 2 days (which I consider fairly impressive because the book I had read prior took me 9 days). This book was amazing on so many accounts: diversity, the constant intrigue, the magic system, etc. Though I was a little surprised by the pacing at the end, I can’t wait to see where Roshani Chokshi will take this story in the sequel!

The Gilded Wolves follows five characters who have become their own make-shift family in this magical 1889 Paris: Séverin, Enrique, Laila, Zofi, and Tristan. The five of them live at the luxurious hotel that Séverin owns and together they “reacquire” objects that use to belong to Séverin’s family. One day, an opportunity arises for Séverin to reclaim his inheritance, in exchange for a magical object hidden deep in the vaults of a House of the Order of Babel, a powerful, secret society. As the group crafts a plan that could lead to all their desires, they realize that there are hidden forces at play that could change their world as they know it.

One of the best things about this book was the cast of protagonists. Chokshi does not disappoint in providing a lovable, diverse group (diverse in terms of ethnicity, sexuality, and neurodiversity) of characters. I loved their bickering and how they worked together as a team. Picking favorites is hard, but if I had to choose, my top three were Laila, Zofi, and Enrique. I will say though, that I got a lot of Six of Crows vibes and parallels from these characters, especially from Séverin and Laila (though keep in mind when I say this that I’ve only read the first book in the SoC duology). Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the reader. Nonetheless, these characters did not fail to sneak their way into my heart!

Something that was really unique about this book was the magic system. In The Gilded Wolves, using magic is called Forging. This ability is genetic, and is separated into two affinities: mind and matter. A matter affinity is tied to a specific type of material state (solid, liquid, or gas). These abilities offer a wide range of potential outputs, thus resulting in a magical steampunk-esque historical Paris (think holograms, magical statue guards, dresses that are “alive”, plants that produce glasses of wines, etc.). This world was so fascinating with its seemingly endless possibilities, that I did wish that Chokshi had explained more of the limitations of Forging, but this could have perhaps been a slight underdevelopment of the ARC I read.

And as I briefly mentioned above, I was slightly thrown off by the pacing at the end of the book. The climax scene seemed to happen too early, and the following scenes felt a little rushed in order to set up the sequel, leaving me with multiple questions. Again, my issue with this aspect may be due to the fact that I read an ARC and not the final copy.

A quick side note: As I was reading this book, by complete luck, I found out that Roshani Chokshi was having a book event close by. The event was with Melissa Albert (author of The Hazel Wood), and S.A. Chakraborty (author of The City of Brass). Hearing them all speak about their books and writing experiences was so amazing and inspiring, especially Roshani Chokski. She was so sweet, funny, and pure (ahhhhh, why can’t she be my friend??). She seems like such a fabulous person and all I want to do now is go out and buy all her books to support her!
(And yes, I was very awkward and totally stammered when I talked to her as she signed my ARC.)

Overall, Chokshi’s writing and her beautiful characters led me to really enjoy this book. Anyone who loves YA fantasy should give this book a try. Personally, I can’t wait to read Chokshi’s other works because I can totally see her climbing up to my favorite authors list.

Rating: 4 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I’m an exciting new book whose series might stalk its way into your heart!”

Attending the YA Fandom Frenzy

Have I exponentially become obsessed with bookish events? Yes, yes I have.

This past weekend, my friend Kelsie and I road-tripped over to Illinois to attend the YA Fandom Frenzy sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop on Sunday, November 5th. The event was free and entirely dedicated to teens (bless the coordinators who considered those 22 years and under to be a teen).

Dozens of YA authors gathered for the event. There was a wide range of authors who attended, from semi-local authors, to numerous debut authors and even a few big & upcoming YA author names. I was in awe! To name a few of those in attendance, there were: Adam Silvera, Morgan Rhodes, Kerri Maniscalco, Ann Brashares, and Sara Sheperd!

The day was filled with panels and signings followed by a YA Quiz Bowl. The Quiz Bowl consisted of randomly dividing attendees into groups of five and then pairing them with two authors to lead their team. The Quiz Bowl was composed of three rounds. The first was guessing the book based on its opening line. The second was guessing the book title from two or three emojis (I pride myself in correctly guessing Wintersong from snowman and music note emojis). The final round involved guessing the author with the vowels removed from their name (my team killed it in this round).

(Look at all these freebies & goodies they handed out! Only slightly bitter though that I got a t-shirt instead of a book.)

I know a Quiz Bowl sounds really cheesy, but in actuality it was a lot of fun! My team was led by Michelle Hodkin, author of the Mara Dyer Series and Peternelle van Arsdale, author of The Beast is an Animal. Both the authors were so nice and friendly and I really wished I had read their books prior to the event.

So an observation that my friend and I repeatedly noticed throughout the day is that apparently to be a YA author you need to own a black leather jacket? Has anyone else noticed this at book signings? We attended a panel called “Get Real” which featured contemporary writers—so you would expect them all to be in brightly colored cardigans, right?— yet all but one of the 7 authors were dressed in black, each adorning their own leather jacket.

Being the poor college student who should really being saving every penny to avoid as much debt as possible, I only brought 2 books which I had purchased at a B&N sale prior to the event.

They were:

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Because Adam Silvera seemed so intimidating (he’s so tall in person!), I only asked Margaret Rogerson for a photo. As per usual, I was extremely awkward and taciturn when I got my books signed, especially since I have yet to read either of the books (is the semester over yet? I need winter break to get my reading life in order!). Bless Margaret Rogerson for being so sweet and just as awkward as me when we took our photo together (Can you please be my friend?).

Pic with Margaret Rogerson

Even though this was only my second book event (the first being a Sarah J. Maas signing), I’ve already discovered that my favorite part of events like these is being surrounded by other YA fans. There’s just something heartwarming about being able to look around you and realize there are so many others who know about and love the same books as you. It thrills me to find that sense of community among complete strangers.

I 100% recommend that all book-nerds attend as many bookish events as possible! I know, though exciting, book events can also be intimating and anxiety-inducing, but trust me (I’m an introvert too); do it! You won’t regret it. These events always leave me smiling for hours afterwards, and I’m sure they will leave you with similar feelings.

Selfie with Kelsie at YA.F.F.

As should be expected from a book event, my friend and I discovered so many interesting books at the YA Fandom Frenzy, and thus promptly returned with grown, groaning TBR’s.

Here are the books I added to my TBR:

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

A Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Yes, I know I already mentioned this)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (Same goes with this one)

 

Have you guys read any of these books? What did you think? Or are they also on your TBR?

MEETING SARAH J MAAS

GUYS I GOT TO MEET SARAH J MAAS THIS PAST THURSDAY ON HER TOWER OF DAWN TOUR!

When I found out that SJM was touring in Michigan this fall (and conveniently close to my college!), I couldn’t believe my luck! My friend and I bought tickets right away (as in I was on my computer waiting until 10 am would hit and the sale would open—Yes, I’m a total fangirl).

The event was 100% amazing and seeing SJM just cemented my love for her as both an author and person. She was kind, funny, intelligent, and just such a badass! She was so real and I found it refreshing how she would go on all these tangents about current events and her love for her family instead of only talking about herself and her work (though it reality I wouldn’t have minded that either).

And meeting her. The experience was surreal. But let me tell you what truly touched me:

So, of course with 500 tickets sold for the event, only a limited number of people were allowed to meet her and get their books personalized. My friend was lucky enough to be one of those few to win the raffle. And what did she do? She gave her ticket to me! (And I can’t even put into words how much that meant to me)

But the incredibility of the night didn’t end there. When it was finally my turn to meet SJM, and after she personalized my book for me (and we exchanged a few awkward words—I was of course a complete fangirl and blurted out “You’re my favorite author!”), I asked if my friend could hop in the picture with us. After we took the picture (she said yes of course), what did she do? She offered to personalize my friend’s book too!

This is what made me fall completely in love with this author. This small act of kindness, which meant so much to us fangirls. SJM was under no obligation to also personalize my friend’s book, but she did anyway. And were weren’t the only ones; I saw her do this for multiple other friend pairs!

This was the first book signing that I’ve attended (besides school sponsored functions) and I can’t help but feel inspired to attend more (alongside my best friend of course). Normally I’m one who hates crowded events and traveling, but I couldn’t believe how astounding and comforting it felt to be surrounded by other people who loved the same books as myself. It felt so connecting—if that makes any sense—to share inside jokes with complete strangers.

Okay, now I’m off to hopefully get some actual reading done this weekend (gotta finish my reread of Throne of Glass, and then let’s be real; I’ll dive right into Tower of Dawn). Thanks so much for letting me happy rant to you all! I hope you all get to meet your idols someday, whether it’s an author, actor, or speaker!

 

Also a P.S. for my fellow SJM lovers, here are a few of the things I learned from the event:

  • Nox with appear in TOG #7 (he was actually supposed to appear in EOS, but her editor decided that was one too many reunions)
  • The ACOTAR novella coming out in May is ~60,000 words, which is the size of a “normal book”, as she put it 🙂
  • All of Dorian’s dogs are okay and she guarantees that she will never kill a dog in any of her future books
  • TOG #7 will be looong ❤
  • TOG #7 will reveal Aedion’s haunted past
  • SJM’s 2018 Timeline (in case you didn’t know):
    • May: ACOTAR Novella (with Feyre & Rhys’ perspective :D)
    • August: Catwoman!
    • September: TOG #7