Not what I was anticipating | BookishFirst

Not what I was anticipating

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I adored Roshani Chokshi's previous books (The Star-Touched Queen, Aru Shah, and especially A Crown of Wishes), which makes the experience of reading The Gilded Wolves bittersweet. This book had an incredible amount of promise, but it did not deliver.

The setting and world-building ranged from generic to confusing; I didn't feel much turn-of-the-century Paris at all, in spite of the setting being prominently advertised. The plot was even more confusing, to the point where I had difficulty tracking the sequence of events and the goals of the characters. The antagonists were thrown in towards the end willy-nilly and had no explanation or motivation. I'm still really not sure who they were or where they came from.

The characters and their diversity are one of the better parts of the book, but they don't have room to grow naturally in the style of other big-cast YA books like Six of Crows. There are a couple romantic subplots; unfortunately, none of them resonated with me.

I love the way Chokshi's entire book revolves around a bold takedown of colonialism. It's a powerful theme and incorporated deftly.

All in all, this was a big gamble from Chokshi because many elements were way out of her wheelhouse. I think she would have delivered better if she had more room to build up the different elements of the story. As it was, most aspects of the book felt rushed, incomplete, and hard to follow.