Book tour review: The Gilded Ones (Namina Forna) | the feminist YA fantasy I was craving!

Today it’s my turn in another blogtour! The Gilded Ones is a debut I’d been looking forward to for a while since the synopsis sounds amazing and feministic! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be sharing all you need to know about this YA fantasy with you!

What is The Gilded Ones about?


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.

Interested? You can add the book on Goodreads or purchase it at Amazon, B&N, Bookdepository, Indigo and Indiebound!

What did I think of The Gilded Ones?

“Legend is what humans call the things that they do not understand.”

Namina Forna, The Gilded Ones (quoted from an advanced copy)

I am so, so, so impressed by this book! I had such high expectations so you could definitely say I was scared to be let down, but when I read the author’s note in the beginning of the book, I just knew. I knew this was gonna be exactly what I was craving: an amazing, feminist fantasy!

There are so many reasons to love this book, but let’s start with the world and concept. This was really interesting from the start. The more progress you make in the book, the more spectacular the world gets. Seriously, just wow. It’s really well-crafted and I love how the pieces just fall into place after a while. I left this book feeling so satisfied, but also just amazed by what I read.

And yes, the concept is just everything too. It’s very hard to talk about this book without spoiling anything (I won’t though, so no worries) because I just want to scream about everything that happened! Like, honestly: the synopsis of this book is incredible (it gripped me immediately) but still it doesn’t fathom what this story is. You begin the book in one world, but end it in another one because you’ve discovered so much about it.

What I also just loved about this world is, like Namina Forna said in the author’s note, is that it’s not that different from our world. Well, it’s a fantasy one, so that’s a big difference, but it has a patriarchy like ours. You might read this and think: wow, this world its system is so unfair. But the sad truth is that it isn’t hard to notice the similarities with the one we live in.

Moving on from that though: characters. Oh how I love to see women bond together! In literature (and basically any other fiction), we see girls tear each other down too much, as if we’re each others competition. I loved how Namina Forna switched it up and showed us how we’re strong together, how important these friendships are. The girls in this book are amazing, and I loved reading about them!

I would’ve loved to see a little more of some characters, since Deka (the main character) is the only one that was really, really in depth. I get that it was almost impossible for the author to do the same for other characters, but I just wanted to know Keita and Britta a bit more, you know? Nevertheless, I love them so dearly!

There’s also a romance in this book and it was really obvious who was gonna be the love interest but I don’t even care. It was a nice addition to the story and I actually really love how it wasn’t one of the main storylines. I mean, yes, I love these two together, but there’s so much more to this story and I’d hate for that to be swept away by a romance.

The feminism in this book made me scream by the way. I’m so happy this book exists.

Also, I’m just gonna say it: I cried. Yes, we’re all very surprised, I know. Either way, the ending really got my hopes sky high for the sequel. It was so good and gives the second book so much potential! And, always nice, despite Deka’s story not being completed, I felt so satisfied when I was done! Namina Forna is a master in storytelling for me from now on, you can argue with the wall…

As I said at the start of this review: I am so, so, so impressed by this book! It’s important, empowering and Namina Forna’s voice is such a bold one! It definitely is a rollercoaster, but one I highly recommend trying out! I haven’t been able to get this book out of my head ever since I finished it, and hell, I need the sequel! This debut gets a 5/5 from me! It was everything I wanted!

Thank you to Delacorte and TBR and beyond tours for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Who is the author behind The Gilded Ones?

Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

About this tour

If you’re interested in other fun content surrounding The Gilded Ones, be sure to click here for the tour schedule!

This tour was hosted by TBR and beyond tours! Thank you for letting me participate!

That’s all for today’s post! I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it and that I’ve encouraged you to pick up this bold book! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads for more updates! Now…

8 thoughts on “Book tour review: The Gilded Ones (Namina Forna) | the feminist YA fantasy I was craving!

  1. ahh alissa, i’m also on this tour and i LOVED the gilded ones so much!! i’m so glad you did too!! i actually just posted the top 5 reasons to read it, and i completely agree with all the points you mentioned in your review as well!! the friendships between the girls were so amazing to see, and it was so great to see them all supporting and looking out for each other 🥺🥺 the way they had such strong bonds with their uruni as well 🥺🥺🥺 i loved reading your review!! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

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