Wow. That was... a wild ride, to say the least. This book started at 100% and then just kept on speeding up. And I loved it. With magic, secret organizations, and just a dash of thievery, this book had literally almost everything that I look for in my next read. And man, was I glad that I read this. Although I may not be getting any sleep for a while since I'm very much not happy with the cliffhanger ending and the second book isn't released yet. But who needs sleep when you can obsess over the ending, and how the next book could turn out?
The Gilded Wolves follows the story of a bunch of misfits, each one having experienced some form of hardship or trauma that has brought them to where they are today. But each of them also possess special skills, such as the ability to manipulate metal or plants, read memories associated with objects, furiously learn everything about an object in almost no time at all, or come up with conniving plans to steal (I mean repossess) said objects. And you all know how I feel about (fictional) thievery. Heck to the yes. But when an all-powerful (and slightly messed-up, but that is besides the point) society asks, the band for help all five of them wind up getting a lot more than they bargained for. They will have to combine all of their skills, talents, and intelligence to make it out alive--while figuring out their convoluted love triangles at the same time.
I loved the plot of this story. I could literally not turn the pages fast enough, and my poor phone may or may not have gotten whacked a couple of times when it wasn't loading the next page fast enough. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and every single time there was what I thought would be a story-ending event, the characters would manage to pull it off just by the skin of their teeth. All of the characters were just so likable yet convoluted, and I felt like I could connect in at least one way to all of them. My absolute favorite though was Zofia. As someone who also obsessively loves numbers and order and has trouble with social cues, it was awesome to see someone with those same characteristics kicking butt and taking names. I also loved the camaraderie that the group shared, because their friendships didn't seem forced at all. They all looked out for one another, were super sensitive to the likes and dislikes of every individual (custom seating arrangements, anyone?), and just in general worked like a well-oiled, loving machine. In case you can't tell, I really loved the characters, which is extremely rare for me. I tend to not be a fan of fictional people, so when I start gushing over them... you know it is good.
My main issue with this book is entirely predicable: the love triangles (rectangles? squares?). It just seemed a little cliché, with the exception of one couple that I actually enjoyed because of the representation that I will not spoil because spoiling is bad. But the main pairing (Laila and Séverin) just seemed so... been there done that. The romance seemed to detract from the actual plot, which was all about being amazing thieves/heroes/etc. My other issue was the very end of the book, after The Big Event (which you will only know about if you have read the book so... read it.), where the narration/story telling style switches dramatically. And I was not a fan. The writing wasn't as smooth, it seemed more rushed, and I was just not a fan.
Overall I loved this book, and I absolutely cannot wait for the second one to come out. I am not a patient person, so this is going to be one hard wait. I just want to know what happens! Darn cliffhanger...
Disclaimer: I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion on, review of, or feelings towards this book.