Book 29 of My Book List 2019
”The world has a shit memory. It will never pay its debts unless you force its hand.”
Ahh! Where to start? Where to begin? Maybe I should just go for blunt honesty and say it like it is: I could bite myself for not reading this sooner!!! What was I even thinking to procrastinate for so long? This book was already on “My Book List 2019” and it took me until 2020 to read it. (Which is actually sort of typical me! *lol*) Still, if we stick to honesty I’ve to admit that I’m kind of torn about having read “The Gilded Wolves”. Why is that so?
Well, on the one hand I loved those characters and their diversity! The plot was so much fun and I adored the puzzles and the fact that this book kept me on my toes and forced me to pay attention to what was happening. In some way “The Gilded Wolves” felt like the unknown lovechild of Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons” and Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows”. With a dash of its uncle “Indiana Jones” and a pinch of its aunt “Ocean 11” mixed into it. XD Plus, let’s not forget about the tension that oozed from every single one of those pages! All those six characters have a painful past they’d rather forget and want to go into a bright future instead. And boy, is Chokshi a master at playing their weaknesses in order to build up tensions! XD Just amazing! <333 On the other hand I find myself faced with a huge disadvantage now. I read the first book, loved it and now I’ll have to wait until the end of 2020 until I’ll be able to read the next instalment. Which is just cruel! I mean after THAT ending!!?? >_< ADFKADKFAKSJFDLKASDFJASKDFJASKFD!! I need answers and I need them soon! So I’ll finally get myself a NetGalley account (Yes, I’m THAT desperate to get my paws on a copy) and hopefully my wish for an ARC will be granted. (I’m crossing all my claws here. *lol*)
This said, let’s begin with my fangirl/rant feast! There’s so much I need to get out of my system and since I had to shorten my review for goodreads (damn word limits, I didn’t even get to my infamous “The relationship & ships” category) I’ll make sure to let it all out on here! I’ll be nothing but thorough! I can promise you that! *lol*
Welcome to the “Palais des Rêves”, where dreams come true and spoilers become reality! ;-P If you don’t want to be spoiled I’d advise you not to mingle with the crowd! It’s a fair warning and in your best interest! Mark my words before you decide to linger. XD
Séverin – The Leader:
”He was deception steeped in elegance, from his sharp smile to his unsettling eyes. Séverin’s eyes were the precise color of sleep – sable velvet with a violet sheen, promising either nightmare or dream.”
Chokshi definitely has a way with words. I could imagine Séverin so well and in my mind he’s drop-dead gorgeous. *drools* Still, his habit of chewing cloves might be a turn-off. *lol* Not that I don’t like cloves, I really like the taste and the smell, but only in small doses. The way Séverin popped them into his mouth it must have tasted more than just intense. Not that I’d fantasize about kissing him… Nuhu… not me. ;-P Anyway! His character kind of reminded me of “Gansey” (especially the habit of chewing on something. With Gansey it was mint leaves though) and he definitely was not only the leader of the group but also some sort of responsible father figure. I hated to find out about his and Tristan’s childhood and I think he might have named his foster fathers after the seven deadly sins. My buddy and I gave that a lot of thought and we eventually decided that they had other real names and Séverin only called them like that in his mind. Would be such a typical Séverin move. XD Also from all the characters in the book he was probably the most driven and torn. To be shunned by his family and to be denied his legacy wounded him deeply and I have no idea what will happen to him in the next book. I just hope he won’t go all “dark side”. >_<
”Must you creep up on us like that? I didn’t even hear you come into the room!”
“It’s part of my aesthetic,” said Séverin, dangling a Forged muffling bell.
”Séverin closed his eyes. It wasn’t about enough. Tristan would never understand. He had never felt the pulse of an entirely different future, only to see it ripped from his grasp and smothered in front of him. He didn’t understand that sometimes the only way to take down what had destroyed you was to disguise yourself as part of it.”
”He wished he didn’t know what he had lost. Maybe then every day wouldn’t feel like this. As if he had once known how to fly, but the skies had shaken him loose and left him with nothing but the memory of wings.”
”Memories unsettled him. He hated the thought that he might have missed something, and he didn’t want time warping how he remembered things because he didn’t trust himself to remember without bias. And he needed to. Because only then, only with absolute impartiality, could he detect where he had gone wrong.”
Laila – L’Énigme:
”She hated seeing someone hold an empty plate and always thought everyone was hungry. She knew everyone’s secrets even without having to read their objects. At the Palais des Rêves, she turned that radiance into an allure that earned her star billing and the name, L’Énigme. The Mystery.”
Laila was such an intriguing character! She’s Indian, can read the history of objects (kinda reminded me of Tessa Grey) and is some sort of a sexy mother hen. Oh well, that sounded kinda wrong but it’s still true somehow? *lol* I think what I’m trying to say is that she cares about everyone and treats the crew like they are her children. XD I mean there’s a really domestic side to her. She bakes for her friends and listens to their troubles yet at night she’s L’Énigme and dazzles the crowd at the Palais des Rêves! She’s a temptress and no one seems to be more ensnared by her than Séverin! XD Just like with all of the other characters there’s something dark lurking in her past though, and to say this surprised me would be putting it mildly. As I understand it, she was a stillborn and forged into living with the help of the lives of a cygnet and a jungle cat? Which explains her dark fur-like hair and her black eyes. Apparently beings who are forged into life like that don’t live longer than 19 years or so though, so that’s the main reason why she’s trying to stay away from Séverin and working on finding a cure. And boy do I hope that she finds one! She’s way too young and too precious to die and her love to Séverin definitely needs a decent chance to thrive. Not that they are on good terms right now. Damn! >_< Also did anyone notice that “Laila” literally means “Born at night” in some cultures? If that’s no suitable name for her I dunno! ;-P
”It will fade,” she said.
“And then I’ll be real?” Laila would ask. Her mother’s hands always stilled when she asked that question. “You are real, my girl, for you are loved.” Her father’s hands had not always been so kind. He did not always know what to make of her. His crafted child.
”The almost painful exquisiteness of being unveiled by a glance. It made her feel aware of everything about her – skin stretched over bone, silk clinging to her limbs, her breath heating the air. The kind of awareness that makes one feel alive. It terrified her.”
”She didn’t want to glide through life, unfeeling. She wanted to know everything while she could. She didn’t want the ghosts of thresholds not crossed hanging over her. She didn’t want one night. She wanted a chance.”
“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‚Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”
Enrique – The historian:
”When he realized he didn’t have the talent, he chose to study the subjects that felt closest to Forging: history and language. He could still change the world… maybe not with something as dramatic or grand as Forging, but in more intimate ways. Writing. Speaking. Human connection.”
I admire that boy so much! Enrique is not only a revolutionary bisexual Spanish-Filipino (he could be pan too but judging by his thoughts I think he’s bi) but also an ardent historian! ❤ And I loved that mixture! It made him a really interesting character and even though he obviously isn’t all too good at socializing he still had a great humour and an even quicker mind! That man is the full package and I was so there for it! XD Unlike the other members of the crew he didn’t have any Forging powers but he made up for it with his sharp wit, resourcefulness and seemingly infinite knowledge. I really would have loved to read more about him, especially at the ending!!! Because damn, was it too much to give us more info??!!! Chokshi left us completely in the dark about what happened to him, Hypnos and Zofia which is so NOT OKAY!!! I need answers! *dies*
”There were Forged dragons out of myths from the Orient, Sirenas with heavy-lidded eyes, bhuts with backwards feet. And though they were not all his tales, he saw himself in them: pushed to the corners of the dark. He was just like them. As solid as smoke and just as powerless.”
”Nothing but a symbol?” repeated Enrique quietly. “People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”
”Enrique used to feel a twinge of shame when it came to his feelings… He used to pray that when it came to attraction, his body would just choose between men and women, and not both.
Zofia – The phoenix:
”A month later, ten students locked themselves in the lab with her. Again came the sounds, smells, laughing. The other students didn’t grab her. They knew the barest touch – like a feather trailed down skin – hurt her more. Calm slipped out of reach no matter how many times she counted backward, or begged to be let go, or asked what she had done wrong.”
Zofia is my precious, skilled phoenix! She’s Jewish-Polish and totally socially awkward. I really liked that she’s so shy and can get completely absorbed in her work. It’s kind of endearing and I always thought of her as the little sister of the group. I could picture her standing in her lab while she created new things, completely forgetting about the cookie Laila brought her. Apparently she was a victim of mobbing at the university and I despised her classmates for violating her that way. They might not have physically hurt her but they used her insecurity and aversion to touch to taunt and mentally abuse her and that’s just horrible! My poor little girl! Don’t hurt my Zofia or I’ll defend her like a lion! *grrr* Zofia is really great at maths too and her and Enrique were such a great team it was a pleasure to watch them figure out things together. I always had Beckett and Castle in mind when they threw their knowledge and ideas at each other. Just perfect. *lol* I can’t help but wonder what happened to her after Tristan’s death though. I mean Hypnos and Enrique kissed and judging by the hints that were dropped, to witness their kiss caused her to withdraw from the world again. Which is such a shame! >_< I really liked that she began to open up and I’d hate for her to be alone! *sends hugs to Zofia*
”What it could do did not seem within human grasp, but that was the thing about numbers. They weren’t like people, who could say one thing and do another. They weren’t like riddles of social mannerisms or conversations. Numbers never lied.”
”She could be like her parents. Like her sister. She could walk down a street or through a crowd. She wouldn’t know that tight, breath-pulling sensation of drowning, all because someone had asked about her day and she didn’t know how to answer.
Knowledge would make her brave. And more than anything, Zofia wanted to be brave.”
”She was reminded of all that she could not detect. All that she could not do. She could storm into a room, but she could not command its attention through charm. She could face herself in the mirror, but she could not spark imaginations with her face. Zofia stepped back. She should stay in the world she knew. And not reach for one she did not.”
Tristan – The Botanist:
”His love and his fear and his own cracked mind made it easy to convince him that betraying you was saving you.”
Tristan was such a surprise. I mean he was clearly the crew’s baby brother who loved his tarantula Goliath and thought up little miniature gardens before he actually created them and made them a real and living thing. He was such an adorable boy and even though he shared his rather dark and twisted childhood with Séverin it seemed like he got out of it just fine. Well, at least it seemed like it. To be honest there was always something that troubled me about him and the words of Joux-Roubert certainly didn’t make it any better. The birds that disappeared from the garden… I knew there was something wrong with it. Hellz! I certainly didn’t expect it to end like that though! Sweet, precious, little Tristan did WHAT??!!! OMG! I really would have loved to find out why he did that but I guess now we’ll never know… Or we might find out in the next book? I hope we do because that ending left such a huge question mark over my head and the fact that we never got Tristan’s POV makes it even harder to fathom why he would have done such a thing. Also is it just me or was it some sort of bad omen that Tristan never got his own POV? XD
”What? I’m hungry. What about you, Tristan? What do you want?”
“This,” Tristan said quietly. “Just this.”
Hypnos – The Patriarch
”He knew the other boy’s skin, a deep umber like the rain-soaked bark of an oak tree. He knew the textured hair cropped close to his head. Even knew his strangely colored eyes, a blue so pale they looked like panes of frost.”
At first Hypnos was no part of the crew but I ADORED that boy the moment he appeared! His first meeting with Séverin and Enrique was so amazing; I couldn’t help but fall head over heels for him. I loved his flair for the dramatic and his quirky and strangely innocent (even though he’s pretty good at threatening people!) nature. He’s an adorable walking and talking disaster and all I wanted was more!! XD It’s kind of strange that he’s the Patriarch of House Nyx but I’m sure he has skills and responsibilities we never even got to see. Just like with Tristan we didn’t get a Hypnos POV (well only that short chapter at the ending) and I can’t wait to read his thoughts! Let’s hope we’ll get to see them in the next book. Also Hypnos seems to be bi? Just a guess here because he showed obvious interest in Enrique but also sort of charmed Zofia? Maybe that was just my imagination though and he’s actually gay and only loves to flatter pretty women? *lol* I suppose I won’t know until I read “The Silvered Serpents”.
Hypnos loosed a breath. “I hate when I have to do this! Flaring tempers, veiled threats, ugh. It ages me, mon cher, and I detest that.”
”Did you say fur ball?” asked Hypnos. “Like a puppy? How endearing.”
“She said fireball.”
“Oh. That is decidedly less endearing.”
”What’s going on here” – said Hypnos, his voice rising as a bizarre grin spread across his face, – “is that you care for me. We’re all friends. We’re friends going to save another friend! This is… this is amazing!”
”I had to choose, and perhaps the Order forced my hand in this. But what no one tells you is that even when you decide which world you will live in, the world may not always see you as you would wish. Sometimes it demands that you be so outrageous as to transcend your very skin. You can change your name. Your eye color. Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”
Laila & Séverin:
”When Séverin turned back to the room, he went still. Though the room was nearly dark, whatever light clung to its corners now raced to illuminate Laila. It seemed the world couldn’t help but want to be near her … every beam of light, pair of eyes, atom of air. Maybe that’s why sometimes he couldn’t breathe around her.”
Okay, there’s no other way than to say this in capital letters, so please bear with me: I LOVED THEM SO FREAKING MUCH, THEIR TENSION WAS EVERYTHING AND OMG THEY KILLED ME A THOUSAND TIMES!!! I swear the heat whenever they talked with each other was enough to destroy every thermometer! It was off the charts and could have burned down entire worlds! I absolutely loved their tension and I digged the fact that they had history together. Usually it’s always boy meets girl and they fall in love but in this case they spent a night together which both of them are trying really hard to forget. Of course they can’t stop thinking about it, but since neither of them wants to give into their feelings for each other (for very different reasons I may add) they try to avoid being alone instead. Without success because even though they are like NEVER alone their chemistry is STRONG! (And that’s putting it so lightly I can’t even!!!) I loved that Laila called Séverin “Majnun” and GODS did the ending kill me! I hate that they are like that now!!! Tristan’s loss changed Séverin so much and I just couldn’t bear to read those last 5 chapters! In my mind they don’t exist!!! I’ll only acknowledge them if Laila and Séverin end up together in “The Silvered Serpents”. Until then I’m in total denial! Which last 5 chapters??!! I dunno what you’re talking about! ;-P
”Oh, goodness, you care for Séverin! And why wouldn’t you? That boy looks like every dark corner of a fairy tale. The wolf in bed. The apple in a witch’s palm.” He winked.
”She thought back to that evening… on her birthday… when she’d felt buzzed with a daring she almost never indulged. She’d cornered him in his study, more intoxicated by the way he’d looked at her than she had been from any champagne. Séverin hadn’t gotten her a birthday present, and so she demanded a kiss that turned into something more…”
”Laila could picture his eyes perfectly, even though she couldn’t see them. His dusk-colored gaze darkening, fixed on her. Laila knew she should look at the other audience members, but she couldn’t look anywhere but at him, and she didn’t want him looking at anyone but her.”
Séverin wanted to call a doctor, a retinue of nurses, declare war on pans if he could… but Laila refused. “It’s a tiny burn, Majnun,” she’d said, laughing off his panic. “I know,” he’d said. But I cannot stand to see you hurt.
”They let each other stand like this, mutually clasped. Maybe it was just because it was still dark out, and the memory of this moment would dissolve with the sunlight. Or maybe it was because in that vast silence of uncertainty, they could feel each other’s pulse against their fingertips, and that cadence meant they could be many things, but not alone.”
”This was what a kiss that meant nothing supposedly felt like. As if he could not touch her enough, taste her enough, as if this movement alone would leave his body riddled as an addict’s.”
Zofia, Enrique & Hypnos:
“You’re impressed. Admit it.“
Zofia crossed her arms. “No.”
“I dazzle you with my intelligence.”
Zofia turned to Laila. “Make him stop.”
Now I don’t know if I’m on board of this love triangle! *lol* I gotta admit: I was shipping Hypnos and Enrique the moment they met and I just don’t see Zofia in the picture. I mean I want her to have someone that truly loves her because she really deserves to be happy, I’m just not sure if it should be my two boys. XD Zofia’s role in the group always gave me a rather sisterly vibe (like Tristan’s) and it was kind of strange to read that she seems to like Enrique more than just a brother. Her reaction at the end of the book said it all though and it’s pretty obvious that she has some feelings for him. Mhmm I dunno. Chokshi will have to do A LOT to convince me of this love triangle. *lol* For now I’m totally on board of the Hypnos/Enrique ship and I can’t wait to see where this is heading!!! ❤
Also: WHY WEREN’T THEY MENTIONED IN THE LAST FIVE CHAPTERS THAT (ACCORDING TO ME) DON’T EXIST??!
Hypnos was beautiful at a distance. Up close, he was just plain staggering. Enrique stumbled to his feet, hoping the other boy hadn’t noticed. When he looked up, Hypnos’s eyes looked darker. The pupils blown out, as if he was trying to take in all of him too.
“Had I known what pretty company you keep, I might have met with you sooner, Séverin,” said Hypnos, not taking his eyes off Enrique.
”Hypnos smiled, then whispered in her ear, “I do mean it. You are stunning. Though I did not quite like the look of your friend.”
“He’s not my friend.”
“Am I your friend?”
”I was only going to say that we make a good team, phoenix.” A corner of her mouth quirked up. “I know.” And that was true. Her math, his history. They were, he thought, a bit like an equation where the sum was greater than its parts.
Séverin & Enrique:
Enrique shuddered. „Honestly. Who looks at a vase covered in bull testicles and says, ‘You. I must have you.’?”
“The bored, the rich, and the enigmatic.”
Enrique sighed. “All my life aspirations.”
Haha! I really enjoyed their easy banter! Those two were obviously best friends (even though neither of them would admit it) and I liked that Séverin trusted Enrique so much. I mean he basically trusted him with his own life on multiple occasions and I’m glad they had each other. I’m kind of worried how their friendship is going to continue after Tristan’s death though. I mean Enrique and Hypnos seem to be on the best way of becoming a couple and even though Séverin accepted Hypnos in their ranks he did it kind of grudgingly. (At least it seemed like that to me.) I’m pretty sure he didn’t even talk with Enrique after Tristan died and this makes me really sad. =( Those two could have such a great friendship if Séverin would just allow anyone to get close to him. *sighs*
”You’re fondling it.”
Enrique rolled his eyes. “It’s an authentic piece of history and should be savored.”
“You might at least buy it dinner first,” said Séverin, before pointing at the metal edges.
“The Gilded Wolves” was everything I craved for and wanted to read! I loved to watch this story unfold, I adored the characters, their world, the diversity and all those puzzles! And I really, really want to read the next book! *lol* A huge thanks goes to my partner in crime Miri @ The Book Dragoness for reading this book with me! I enjoyed our discussions and I can’t wait for your comments on the second book!!! Let me live vicariously through you! ;-P