“The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna

Thanks to Usborne Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I'm not really going to spend a whole lot of time talking about the plot of this book. It's a pretty generic YA fantasy story. A young girl finds out she has some mysterious powers, bad things happen, she goes on a journey of discovery in which secrets are revealed and there's a handsome boy of course. 
The events are quite brutal from the outset of the book so maybe not one for the squeamish. The author takes some risks with how dark some of the story gets which I appreciated. Deka herself is a likeable heroine, she is conflicted and overall pretty well rounded. The supporting characters were significantly weaker in my opinion except for White Hands who was fabulous and Britta…if I'm being fair.  I felt like the romance subplot and love interest seemed shoehorned in and I didn't feel any sense of chemistry between Deka and him (see, I've forgotten his name already).

The setting was pretty cool with some subtle world-building and I liked the backstory of The Gilded Ones and how we were drip-fed information bit by bit so that there wasn't some lengthy exposition thrown in. I did get a sense of where the story was going though. The pacing felt a bit off, I can't really place my finger on it and it can be hard to tell on Kindle how big a book is but it felt like a chonk as there were parts I felt it dragged.

Overall, I did enjoy reading it but I'm not sure I'll rush to read the sequel because I feel like I know where it is going and I didn't engage with any of the characters enough to really care about where they go next.

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