ARC DNF Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I was honestly expecting something very different from the description and blurb. What we get is… basically the Handmaid’s Tale and Skyhunter smooshed together. While I thought both of those were very good, this one just seems lacking.

I don’t like the main character. She lives in an extremely patriarchal world and buys into it completely, even when she turns out to not be ‘pure.’ Even once removed from it she doesn’t really change and I don’t care at all what happens to her.

The worldbuilding is sparse and confusing. Why do women have to wear masks? What is up with the map and the layout of the world? Just why all of it basically?

I pushed myself to read a quarter of the book and I just can’t anymore. I don’t like it, I don’t care about the characters, plot, setting, anything. I’ve seen a couple reviewers call it grimdark, and that could be why I’m not enjoying it. There’s just so much pain and torture and rape and suffering and it all seems rather pointless – and I don’t feel like putting myself through any more right now. Especially since several reviewers say it gets worse in the second half.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for providing an e-arc to review

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