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.
The Gilded Ones is a book anticipated by a lot of people in the book community, and I must say that it almost lived up to the hype.
The beginning of this book was great. It was nice, pretty fast-paced and so immersive that I read the first 100 pages in one sitting -which I don’t do often when I start a book to be quite honest-. I really enjoyed the setting, the worldbuilding was fascinating, I really liked how it was explained and the plot moving really fast was everything I needed at that time. The writing was also good but nothing special either. Honestly, I was positively surprised by this beginning and it gave me high hopes for the rest of the book.
The overall atmosphere of the book was pretty dark. The setting was really interesting, with a world so against women that it made me think a lot of The Handmaid's Tale book by Margaret Atwood. Women in this world had no rights at all. They were almost servants, the adult women couldn’t show their face so they had to wear a mask, they couldn’t work, run or do anything that wasn’t seen as "graceful" or "delicate". And if by the age of sixteen, they had the misfortune of having golden blood in their veins, they were tortured and killed by their own villagers. So yeah, a pretty dark book indeed.
“The truth is, girls have to wear smiling masks, contort themselves into all kinds of knots to please others, and then, when the deathshrieks come, girls die. They die.”