- Author: Namina Forna
- Books Published: Debut, 1st in a trilogy
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Background: Sierra Leonean
- Social Media Accounts: IG–@namina.forna, Twitter–@NaminaForna
- Website: www.naminaforna.com
- Release Date: 2/9/21
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- My Favorite Character: Britta! I love how loyal and attentive she is…also, homegirl got jokes! My second favorite is Ixa…he is just so adorable!
- Favorite Quotes: “Ye ever kissed a boy, Deka?” “I did once, during one of the village festivals. It was bad, very bad. His mouth tasted like sour milk.”-Britta I laughed SO LOUD when I read that!
I’m a little late with putting up this post for the Hear Our Voices Blog Tour but I think it’s better late than never! I have to say that The Gilded Ones had been one of my most anticipated reads since I saw the cover revealed in 2019 or early 2020…then my world was destroyed when the date got pushed back to this year (so I can’t even imagine how Namina may have felt)! I will say though, this book was WORTH the wait! It was so beautifully written and it so vivid in its imagery! It’s going to be amazing on film (this was announced recently)! *UGH*! I just loved this book so much! The characters were so amazing…just *gahhhhhhhhhhh*…okay, that was my moment!
The characters in this book are simply amazing! Deka has the most amazing crew and after what she deals with in the beginning of the book, she definitely deserves a dope a$$ crew! They all bond in such a way that was superficial at first but became so much deeper and meaningful as the book goes on, it truly becomes a sisterhood (I love a good sisterhood). There were quite a few members of the crew but I’ll only talk about a few of them especially since I don’t want to give away anything (y’all know I’m about that spoiler free lyfe).
First, I freaking LOVE Britta! She’s so sweet as well as hilarious and she just says what is on her mind or it shows on her face. Even though her name is Britta, she really doesn’t have a filter and I’m here for it! She’s not ashamed to speak on things that are a bit taboo in their world and she is also honest about what she has or hasn’t experienced (take from that “experienced” what you will, lol). I seriously enjoyed her character and definitely wouldn’t mind a book from just her perspective or at least chapters from her perspective in the next book (*wink* *wink* Namina).
When Belcalis first stepped into the book, I was like “I don’t like this chick” because she was so brash in her initial interactions but over time, she really won me over. She is such a strong and proud but also angry character, which is how so many Black girls are viewed. As angry as I have been in recent months, one would think I would’ve connected with her right away but it took reading more situations with her (#NeverForget) to connect to her and really see myself in her. Belcalis is such an amazing reflection of Black Girls who are viewed one way because of how strong they come off as but not acknowledged for why they must be that way. She was definitely the character who broke my heart but mended it throughout the story. She’s also always down for a good fight and as a sometimes aggressive short person, I connected to that as well (hey, it is what it is)!
Of course, I have to speak about our main heroine Deka… and y’all, DEKA IS AWESOME! Her progression and development throughout the story is nothing short of incredible! When the book first started, I was a little concerned for her but she completely BAWSED UP and pleasantly surprised me. Deka had these “Eff It, I’ll Do It” moments that many of us, especially Black Girls & Women, know about and it was GLORIOUS! I felt those moments so hard and definitely screamed “YESSSSSSSSSSSS” at my tablet a few times! I could also envision her shrugging her shoulders in a few moments like “okay, and? Were YOU going to take care of this?!” I also feel like there were a lot of times where she was side eyeing people without it actually being stated. Those are my favorite of moments with characters since I have that sort of tendency *shrugs*. I just loved how layered her character is and how she endured through all the shenanigans!
I really loved how empowering this book was overall. It felt real because it very much so is like how our society currently is but was such a beautiful reminder how we can take hold of our circumstances…that either we can fold to them & deal or choose to say “eff this” and take the reigns of our destinies. The Fierce Warrior Energy was so real! The world is so rich and quite the adventure once you step into it! So, if you haven’t pick up this book, you need to get your life together because you DEFINITELY SHOULD! If you have it, you are on the right track my friend! If you need any further convincing to pick it up or get started reading, the book info and Namina’s Bio is below!
Happy Reading and as usual sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic for more bookish banter! *kool-aid smile*
Book Info: 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.
Goodreads| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org
Author Info: 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.