Book Reviews

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna | Book Review

“Hey guys! Welcome to my YouTube channel” LOL I’m practicing for when I finally have the time and energy for youtube. Until then, you all will manage my Instagram stories and blog. Okay? Okay. So, If you’re a loyal reader of the “Books and Naps blog”, you’ll know I mentioned receiving an ARC of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna and how excited I was. Being a Nigerian book blogger is the ghetto because publishers outside my country are not even interested in what we have to offer but you know what? I digress.


“ Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

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 decides to leave 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.”

ᴍʏ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛꜱ

“Our whole lives, we’ve been taught to make ourselves smaller, weaker than men. That’s what the infinite wisdoms teaches — that being a girl means perpetual submission.”

I really liked how Namina wrote about the female characters in this book. From Deka, Britta, White hands, Belcalis to Ixa. I adored Deka and I think the author wrote her character in such a wonderful way making it easy to empathize with her. I also loved the friendships, how fiercely loyal they all were to each other and how everyone had a role to play.

It was easy to enjoy this. The diverse characters (they were all so different), how fast paced it was (although it dragged a little somewhere in the middle), the plot twist (I was so sure I had it figured out but I was so far off), the message of self acceptance and love and how applicable the entire book is to the real world in the sense that it portrays the importance of not just accepting problematic misogynistic traditions but actually thinking for yourself and dismantling the patriarchy made it a book worth adding to your shelf.

ᴡʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴘᴀʀᴛɪᴄᴜʟᴀʀʟʏ ʟɪᴋᴇ

I felt like some parts of the book were rushed like the little romance going on. Yes, I liked Keita but it progressed at such a weird pace. Also, the fact that we barely got scenes from the training camp while they were actually training was a little disappointing for me because I kept looking forward to it. Another thing that stressed me was the struggle to keep up with the different names that kept popping up.


Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and I gave it 4⭐️. If you like Afro-fantasy books, (tbh, even if you don’t), you will like this. If you like books showcasing how amazing women are and how important it is to never stop fighting the patriarchy, then this is also for you.

If you have read this book? I’d like to know if you enjoyed it?

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