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The Gilded Ones: 1 Hardcover – 9 February 2021

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,155 ratings

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Product description


“Namina Forna could be the Toni Morrison of YA fantasy.” —Refinery 29 

“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore this one.” —BuzzFeed

“The girls are powerful, the danger is real, and the characters are engaging and diverse. Forna has accomplished something really special here, equal parts subversive and fun.” —Tor 

“Namina Forna introduces readers to an intricate, West African-inspired fantasy world.”—POPSUGAR

“Total book candy for fans of Tomi Ayedemi's Children of Blood and Bone.” —PureWow

"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold, The Gilded Ones lifts the veil of violent patriarchy and burns the idea of purity to the ground. Must read!" —Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times Bestselling author of The Belles

“Haunting, brutal, and oh-so-relevant. This book will suck you into a world where girls bleed gold, magic fills the air, and the real monsters hide behind words instead of claws.” —Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

“An enthralling debut. The Gilded Ones redefines sisterhood and is sure to leave readers both inspired and ultimately hopeful.—Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
“The Gilded Ones is a fierce, unflinching fantasy that marks Forna as a debut to watch.” —Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken 

"Phenomenal and extraordinary! Forna's breathtaking use of language depicts a thrilling journey through an epic world, rife with danger and deception, as an obedient girl survives the patriarchy and becomes a warrior. Unquestionably, the best Fantasy of 2021." —Kim Johnson, author of This is My America

An epic new fantasy with heart-stopping stakes and a fierce, persevering hero, The Gilded Ones is a dazzling and powerful debut.” —Elizabeth Lim, bestselling author of Spin the Dawn

A poignant examination of patriarchal oppression that ensnares its reader and doesn’t let go. With a compelling main character and fresh magic system, it takes you on a journey of self-discovery through a fantastically built world with a burning mystery at its heart.” —Kalyn Josephson, author of The Storm Crow

“While elements of action and social justice are strong, there is also mystery . . . readers will find themselves awestruck with satisfying revelation, leaving both a clean ending and desire for more.”
Booklist, starred review

“Female-led YA fantasy is an overcrowded genre, but Namina Forna brings a fresh perspective in her stormingly good debut . . . Action combines with an intense feminist story of sisterhood, where strength is found in female friendships and alliances.” —The Guardian

“Brutal, brilliant, and ultimately hopeful, The Gilded Ones takes readers on
a stunning sci-fi fantasy ride.” —Nerdist

“Formidable heroines and a thoughtful feminist myth-ology distinguish debut author Forna’s West Africa–inspired fantasy trilogy launch. Abundant action drives the pace, while a nuanced plot advocates social change by illustrating the myriad ways in which society cages and commodifies women.” —Publishers Weekly

“All of the alaki girls have realistic and moving trauma as a result of actions wreaked on them both as human women and alaki, and strong female friendships stand at the forefront of this novel that will have readers thinking about it long after the last page.” —The Bulletin

About the Author

Namina Forna is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Ones series. She has a MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. Namina now works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads. Visit her on twitter at @NaminaForna and on Instagram at @namina.forna.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Delacorte Press (9 February 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1984848690
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1984848697
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 - 17 years
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 544 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.11 x 3.86 x 21.69 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,155 ratings

About the author

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Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the 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 loves building fantastical worlds and telling stories with fierce female leads.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,155 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 14 February 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gods and Monsters in West African Fantasy
By Sapphire Bubble on 14 February 2021
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

Content Warning(s) for the book: graphic descriptions of violence and murder, mutilation, torture, death of a family member, death of a family member due to illness, disownment, reference/discussion of rape, reference/discussion of child rape, fantasy bigotry/othering, racism, sexism

Representation in the book: west African inspired setting and cast, sapphic side character

Are we girls or are we demons? Are we going to die or are we going to survive?

The Gilded Ones is a brutal look at how religion is used as a tool of misogyny, queerphobia and other bigotry in a deeply patriarchal society. It deftly explores how humans twist and corrupt religious ideas to suit their own agenda; how greed and malfeasance run in the veins of those very institutions. It is daring with it approach, giving us graphic details of violence inflected upon Deka — violence that continues to haunt her and yet one that she accustomed even as she vows to never let it happen again.

The world of The Gilded Ones is smartly built, shimmering and splendid. It has a deep lore, the veins of it run through and pulse with bright imagination. It immediately draws you in with its morsels of information with the knowledge of much more lying dormant tickling your brain. The reader is eager to explore more.

I liked how this novel focuses so much on camaraderie, especially between the girls who have been ostracized and have faced the worst in society. As these girls learn not to fear but to embrace and, to an extent, celebrate the demons inside them in a society deeply entrenched in misogyny and controlling women, they also learn to trust and care for each other in a way that goes opposite to what that society expects of them. In the same vein, the romantic aspect of this book is developed carefully — giving it time and nourishment before it becomes a flame.

Even though I enjoyed much of the story, there were certain aspects that left me unsatisfied. Every time a new concept is introduced, its implementation happens instantly. I personally enjoy a training montage. It shows me that the protagonist and their associates worked hard for their skills and honed them with training. Even as we traverse worlds full of magic, the stories we read are deeply human. So, it is important that we see these protagonists go through the human process of learning and then becoming better, which was sorely missing from this book. Also, I found the ending to be a little rushed and confusing. Although it allows for this book to work as a standalone, it was unnecessary to wrap it up in a bow since this is indeed a series, in my opinion. There was also some mention of the author trying to subvert and oppose the gender binary that our world perpetuates so much, but I did not find much of that in this book. On the contrary, it seemed very much into the binary, as is expected of a patriarchal society, which was slightly disappointing.

Although, it does leave something to be desired, The Gilded Ones is a beautifully crafted piece of art that intrigued and delighted me. I found its themes of oppression, misogyny and racism to be presented in a way that resembled much of our present, past and future. I await the arrival of its sequel with bated breath, expecting it to also surprise and thrill me as this one did.

Thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on tour for this book and to Delacorte Pressfor providing me an e-ARC. All my opinions are my own and unaffected by this fact.
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Reviewed in India on 1 June 2021
Reviewed in India on 29 May 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars ~ “The GILDED Ones” is a fast-paced, bold, powerful, bold YA Fantasy Novel.
By thefurredreader on 29 May 2021
QOTD: “ The world we live in right now is not so different from the world in the GILDED ONES”.

~ What a delight it had been reading this book! This book managed to keep my heart racing throughout 💓

~ Set in the Kingdom of Otera, this story is about a sixteen year old girl named Deka from Irfut. There is a blood ceremony called the “Ritual of Purity” held for the village girls, if they bleed red, they belong. If they don’t bleed red, they are considered Impure and have to face the consequences. On the day of the Ritual of Purity Deka bleeds gold- the colour of a demon. Deka’s life changes in the most unforeseen circumstances, she has to deal with severe pain, suffering, violence from her father and the people of her village. While in prison, Deka is found by a mysterious woman who promises her an escape from her misery to a new life. Deka is expected to fight her way to join an army of girls like her with supernatural powers to protect the empire’s greatest threat. Deka’s journey to a new and free life is filled with mysteries, violence, trauma and love.

~ I love how powerfully feminist this book is, I also appreciate how issues of colourism and racism are dealt with in this story. I loved the development of female friendships, it’s positive and relatable. I liked the description and detailing of the world. This book does have a lot of graphic violence, but I truly enjoyed it. I would also like to mention that towards the end of the book, there is a letter by Namina Forna- Such a powerful and impactful the message to Young reader!

~ I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The GILDED ONES” and am eagerly waiting for Book 2- “The MERCILESS ONES”
I’d rate it a 5/5. Highly recommended for YA fantasy Novel Fans.
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful fantasy with heartbreaking moments
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 February 2021
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7 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and powerful and utterly gripping
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 February 2021
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5 people found this helpful
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David Jebb
4.0 out of 5 stars West-African inspired epic that lives up to the hype!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2021
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 February 2021
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3 people found this helpful
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Bluntly Bookish
3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed debut with a memorable cast of characters in need of some final editing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 May 2021
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One person found this helpful
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