The Gilded Wolves

464p. Wednesday Bks. Jan. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250144546. POP
Gr 9 Up–Paris, 1889: Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is well known throughout Paris society as a wealthy hotelier—a persona that helps him acquire secrets and artifacts from the French faction of the Order. The Order is composed of powerful houses that manage all Forged artifacts and guard the secrets of the Babel Fragments that make Forging both materials and minds possible. Over the years, Séverin has created a loyal team to help with his acquisitions: Tristan, his brother in everything but blood; Enrique, a Filipino historian eager to champion his own cause; Zofia, a Polish engineer with obligations of her own; and Lailah, an Indian dancer with a secret that could be deadly. The Order has taken everything from Séverin, but if he and his crew find an ancient artifact for a rival, he could get it all back and change their fates. This series starter is a sumptuous historical fantasy that perfectly evokes the luxury and unrest of Belle Époque Paris alongside a carefully detailed world where Babel fragments allow Forgers to create wonders. Séverin and members of his crew alternate chapters in close third-person, introducing readers to their faceted backstories while the narrative unfolds. Chokshi has created an inclusive and authentic cast with obvious chemistry and affection for one another and infuses the tale with witty banter and twists. In addition to solving ciphers and riddles on the hunt for the artifact, these characters also interrogate the troubling history of European colonialism and cultural appropriation.
VERDICT A delectably intriguing adventure for all teen shelves.

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