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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times Best Seller 

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Teen Vogue

"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" (Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times best-selling author of The Belles)

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.

The start of a bold and immersive fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.

©2020 Namina Forna (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"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)  

What listeners say about The Gilded Ones

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved It!!!

Great story from beginning to end, the plot and characters very entertaining. I rate this story on the level of Mistborn

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Netflix should grab this one

took a chance on this new author that I've never heard before. I really enjoyed this Fantastical story. it should be made into a series on Netflix I think many would enjoy it on the screen

18 people found this helpful

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Movie Please!

I really enjoyed the performance. I had search for a good audio book for weeks and this was just what I needed. The power of sisterhood, fighting the oppressor, and coming out of it with an identity and purpose. Amazing!!

13 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Immature Wtiting

This is a good idea unsuccessfully executed. The writing is immature. There are problems with characterization and pacing. The author relies heavily on telling rather than showing. Too often the characters do not behave in ways consistent with their backstories and previous behaviors. The protagonist is an unquestionable Mary Sue. The ending is predictable, and sadly misses any opportunity to draw a meaningful conclusion or life lesson. Without trying to spoil anything here, Having come to the end of one campaign of brutality and violence, the protagonist is poised at the end to embark on a new campaign of brutality and violence going the other direction. What a tragic failure.

12 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Perplexed by the unearned praise.

This book is like reading a poorly written, self-insert fanfiction. An overpowered, infallible character has her powers and plot handed to her. She makes very few choices throughout the book. She has no flaws to speak of. In this way, the author has created a bland, doe-eyed protagonist who is constantly rescued by deus ex machina moments. Each of her problems are solved almost the moment they appear. The lives of all the other characters revolve around her.

The vast majority of the plot happens in exposition, as if this work is an outline from the first draft of a manuscript. The dialog is weak and stilted. The antagonists are all easily handled. Nothing surprising happens here. It was frustrating to listen to.

I really don't understand how this book has garnered so much praise. Reading this felt like a bait and switch, reminiscent of fake Amazon reviews, where you expect a five star dresser and wind up with a box full of particle board and crooked nails. I wish I hadn't spent a credit on this.

12 people found this helpful

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Very heavy on torture and abuse

Hopefully, you don't enjoy torture and abuse. In that case, please avoid this book because it is disgusting and sickening without any literary redemption. There are heavy political overtones without any creative political intrigue within the plot. There is heavy anti-men sentiment without any significant hyper-masculine villain. This is a one-sided shouting match from a less-than-amateur author aimed like a firearm at the audience and the composition of that intended audience is very unclear. I'm not a squeamish reader, but this is just garbage with no golden treasure of any kind.

8 people found this helpful

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I was really disappointed by this book.

Flat characters, no arcs, "patriarchy", it could have been very good. Instead it was all bad dad tropes, all "men" are awful and all women are the best ever. i came ti this novel looking for actual african influences as that is a blind spot in my listening and the author claimed she wrote a book for children like her. I dont recommend this for anyone really. And that is also disappointing.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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the narrator is great. the story...

I enjoyed the narrator. the story has some MAJOR distracting plot holes. I won't spoil the story, but I found myself rolling my eyes throughout much it. I tried to let go and enjoy. I was able to for some parts, maybe because the narrator is so good, but damn, the plot holes are huge. like, I usually give grace to YA novels. I'm not saying it needs to be PERFECT, but I literally don't understand why people would try to say this is an amazing book. it's not. I spent so much time asking "why would you choose to do that, when you have a completely different option available that makes way more sense?"

honestly, I'm reading through the reviews and I think a lot of the positive reviews are from the author's friends or something. the 1 star review really detailed the issues I had with this book perfectly. it's predictable, no character development, way too focused on dialogue than actions, and the PLOT HOLES are so wide you can drive a semi through them.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good Idea Bad Execution.

Where to start this story feels like it is trying to hard to be political commentary. The story is actually okay when thats the main focus but ultimately has some very cringey and poorly written moments. Add that to shallow characters with little development and you can’t help but feel almost nothing for the characters. I could have lived with all of that but the plot twist at the end is really really bad. Without giving any spoilers it would have been better had they gone with what Deka though was happening as the end result feels shallow and unearned. Overall not horrible but this author has a long way to go imo.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Listen

An enjoyable story that I highly recommend that other listeners should spend the credit to purchase. Anyone purchasing this book will not be disappointed because the characters are exciting, and the listener will care where the story goes. 😎😂😁😀

5 people found this helpful