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The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna: Book Tour

Thanks so much for coming to my tour stop for Hear Our Voices’ The Gilded Ones book tour. Keep reading to see my review of this amazing book, a mood board, some of my favorite quotes, and links to where you can buy the book. To check out the other stops on this tour, make sure to check out the Hear Our Voices tour schedule.

Title: The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)
Author: Namina Forna
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pub Date: 1/09/21
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition: Hardcover
Goodreads Link

Rating: 5 out of 5.


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


I was only 2 chapters into The Gilded Ones when I knew it was going to be a 5 star read. It’s actually one of those books that you’re so amazed by that you don’t really know exactly how to convey that in words. Through Deka’s journey, we got to see her battle shame, self-hatred, abandonment, and what seems like PTSD or at least resurfacing of traumatic memories, but we also got to see the way she comes to love herself and her talents.

This book really reinforced why I tend to gravitate toward retellings and books that center women. With the religious aspect of this story, it reminded how in religion (read: Christianity) people tend to forget or purposefully ignore how vital the roles women played were. So, I love reading works where I get to see girls and women tap into their natural selves and not be afraid to be powerful.

There’s a lot I loved about this story like the platonic friendships, Keita, sisterhood, and the fact that titles and names meant things, and people wouldn’t let themselves be called anything besides what they should be. A lesson we could all learn from. Make them learn how to pronounce it right.

Also, I enjoyed the boys in this story, and one in particular ?, because even though they know the girls could handle themselves, they still had their backs. Ride or dies one could say. Literally. “Conquer or die.” The relationships between the alaki were even better to read, and I really would love to have a discussion with other people about the layers of this book. The characters were so fully fleshed out that no one seemed unimportant to the story.

Overall, this book was excellence, and I cannot wait to read more from Forna, and see how Deka blossoms more in the next book. If you love stories about found family, the book Raybearer, and trying to put puzzle pieces together, I would highly recommend The Gilded Ones.

Thank you to the publisher for the finished copy. All opinions are my own.

Mood Board

Mood board for The Gilded Ones with a picture of a cat, the color gold, two hands with their pinkies interlocked, armor, a cave, and water

None of the photos are mine. Credit to: Katie Harp, Nik Shuliahin, Pacto Visual, Sven Scheuermeier, ActionVance, Womanizer WOW Tech, Ivana Cajina.

Favorite Quotes

Refer to me with any other title, or mispronounce my name, and I will cut out your tongue for your insolence and put it in a jar to keep me company.”

Karmoko Thandiwe

The way I see it, we all have a choice right now. Are we girls, or are we demons? Are we going to die, or are we going to survive?


The emperors of Otera made a crucial mistake. They taught us alaki to suffer, but they also taught us to survive—to conquer.


Where to Buy

Bookshop | IndieBound | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon


Photo of author Namina Forna

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.
Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads


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