This was like a magical, alternate history version of the Ocean's Eight movies, where a gang of people with different specialties/abilities are gathered by a charismatic leader who hired by a potential enemy in order to steal an exclusive item in an elaborate scam. Woo, that was a mouthful.
I had a very hard time getting in to The Gilded Wolves. I continued to read, even while I was lost on the world building and a little overwhelmed by the many, many characters and flashbacks. Slowly, the pieces started to come together and I finally connected to the story and rooted for my favorite characters. There were plenty of plot twists, betrayals and misadventures to keep me on my toes, this is for sure a story that cannot be predicted- there is no way these twists could be guessed (heck, half the time I felt lost let alone ahead of the game). It seemed as though a LOT was going on in the book for not a whole lot to actually happen.
I would say though that I would not specify this as YA, more just as historical fantasy, since the content and language is adult, where as some of the characters may be on the border of YA age (aka 18 and up).
The story is told from many character perspectives, with four main views. We have Severin the outcast lord who wants nothing more but to redeem his family name and protect his people; Laila the girl who doubts if she is real and can use her sexuality as the most dangerous of weapons; Enrique the flirty historian who is trying to pay off his debts; and Zofia the incredibly intelligent girl who can't understand a single human interaction and has a fascination with fire. Each character was so different and completely unique, with their own quirks, skills and motivations. I will say that Laila was the most intriguing for me, so intuitive and mysterious, basically the glue that holds them all together, and I want to know more...
Hypnose was hands down the best character in the entire book (in my humble opinion)- and he was not even considered a main character ... and he started out as a villain. But yet, he persisted in my heart. He was the comic relief in each desperate situation, the flamboyant character that had a effervescent personality that never failed and I hoped every scene that he would be present. Yep, he made the book for me.
I did not know that this was going to be the first book in a series, I wrongly assumed this was a standalone. But, geez, can Roshani do endings! I was blown away by the last few chapters of the book, it was so stressful and surprising and now I need the next books asap! I have questions!
Review can be found at https://smadasbooksmack.blogspot.com/