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Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

"Alaki do not yield. You conquer or you die. For an alaki - for any warrior - death should be a familiar friend, an old partner you greet before you step onto the battlefield. Do not fear it, do not shy from it. Embrace it, tame it to your will."

Deka is a young woman from a village in the north of the kingdom of Otera, a fictional land of emperors, monsters, angels and demons. She learns that she is dangerously different from those in her village, having powers others don't and an immunity to death that makes her powerful, yet exploitable. She goes on a journey of physical distance but mental fortitude to learn how far her strength can take her and what it means to be accepted, by others and by yourself.

I bought this book as a recommendation from a friend at a bookstore last month. Not knowing anything about it, she warned me that the protagonist and goes through some pretty brutal trials and tribulations early on, but that it's a good store of female power.

The story wove together themes of learning to be strong within yourself and learning to overcome pain and adversity. I particularly liked how it was set in the fantasy world and all components that came with it. I enjoyed reading the different descriptions of the world - what types of animals were there? Who are the monsters, and why are they seemingly intelligent? When injured, what happens to the warriors, and why? 

You might like this book if you are a fan of:

Black Panther - The fantasy and world building of Wakanda, and the pride of the African tribes, are similar to that of The Gilded Ones 

Harry Potter - Here, the fantasy and world building too (including mystical creatures and interesting student/teacher dynamics) are also similar to those told in The Gilded Ones

Overall, The Gilded Ones is a good read for those who enjoy a great fantasy rooted in very real themes. Being mainly set in a land similar to the feel of Africa, a great pairing of ours would be Kitamu, an East African roast. Drink, read, and comment below if you liked The Gilded Ones too.

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