Review #46

Title- The Gilded Ones

Rating– 4.5/5

Genre- YA fantasy

POV- first person, present tense

Trope- dark, the chosen one, feminist

Similar Books/Comps– Children of Blood and Bone, Witches Steeped in Gold, Legendary

My emotions-  intrigued, curious


Deka- 16 years old without many people she can rely on in her village or origin. Her mother died a few months ago. She has never felt as though she belongs.

Ixa is awesome but I’m wondering why he’s given so much page time.


Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a permanent member of her village. Deka prays for red blood.  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 leaves 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.

Best part-

The concept that teen girls are demons is a new angle I haven’t seen before.


I definitely felt her desperation for belonging. And I was appalled by her fathers initial reaction. Great writing reeling me in and caring about her.

I’m not super into the “training” section parts of YA novels.

Her goal of finding the book with info about her mom doesn’t seem strong enough if her mom only died recently. I wish There was a stronger objective here. This seemed to go to nowhere.

Page 164 – oh shit that makes things more real.

Page 244- I can confidently say I can’t guess where this story is going, in a good way 

Page 304- This was necessary for things to work out later but this little section slowed down the pace.

Page 312- I guessed this might be the case at the midpoint. I’m still intrigued/curious what’s going to become of it. 

Page 329- Can’t really get on board with that part. Feels forced.

Page 359- Rough. Ouch. I’m wondering if this would’ve been more impactful if Britta did it?

Page 376- Perfectly done. This part made me like the book much more.

Page 391- dun Dun DUN!

Highly satisfying ending! (The sequel comes out May 2022)

What I’d change-

But I don’t understand how these teen girls don’t bleed once in their life until age 16? Do they not play as children and scrape their knee? Do they not start their period? It’s somewhat explained but doesn’t feel realistic.

Page 322- she hasn’t had much agency or choice. Deka has fought in order to survive. She has been thrown in this position, learning bits in pieces, but a lot of things have happened to her instead of her leading/ making choices. This is probably the only reason why I didn’t rate it 5 stars.

Pacing- quick read, flowing prose

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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