I love books, I mean, obviously I do. I’m also a huge watcher of movies and series (also obvious). But even more so, I love it when the two meet in the middle. Like say, a movie/series adaptation? Sometimes it can go pear-shaped, but sometimes it can go beautifully. Now I did have to google and check that The Gilded Wolves hasn’t had a adaptation notice (which it doesn’t, and that makes me sad); so I decided to mash my review and reasons why it needs to be adapted together. I hope you enjoy!
Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1 (#2)
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Imprint of St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: Young Adult ~ Historical Fantasy ~ LGBTQ+ characters ~ Romance
Disclaimer: I took this book out through the library with the intention of reading it. The quote edits used are my own and the featured image is also my own. All quotes given in the review are from the published book and therefore are accurate. The summary is my own and is summarised from Goodreads. All opinions expressed are my own.
1889, Paris. A wealthy hotelier by the name of Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is tasked with two missions: 1. To find the artifact the Order of Babel so desperately seeks; and 2. To either become so close to the team he’s put together, or stay the cold-hearted person he’s known to be.
As more and more secrets unfold about the mysterious artifact, Séverin, with the help of all his teammates must find the artifact, and all the secrets it keeps close.
Okay, you know I’m a huge fan of magic in books and the magic system. I especially loved that in here. The type of magic seen in this book is called Forging, and includes both mental and physical abilities – like I believe you would be able to change an object’s appearance, or be able to tell its history – who the owners have been, where it was made, etc., just by a touch. The amount of intricacy involved in the art of each Forging and how the character used it every time is definitely something I’d love to see on screen. Will the magic be conveyed by sparks? By swirls or streams of colour? Only visible to those with Forging abilities?
The book also showed what each forging ability could do and couldn’t and what their caster’s limits are too. I love it when magic has limits, because then it shows that magic can’t do everything; that in the end, we’re all so helplessly human.
If a movie/tv series gets a good wardrobe budget and costume designers, then you have outfits that are truly amazing. And because The Gilded Wolves is a historical fantasy, you’re able to have gorgeous historically accurate clothing, rather than what’s in style at the time that the book is set in (I’ve recently been watching Hannah Montana and… what was the fashion back then and why was it so bad?).
The outfits described in the book sound so elegant and fashionable and while we do get to see that with the occasional art, I would love to see that depicted on the screen. Great, swooshing amounts of fabric, each character showing their style – their way of dressing, their favourite clothes to wear when they’re just at home; all good things I must see.
Laila is the resident Mom™ Friend of the group and makes sure everyone’s eating. She also likes to bake a lot, which is amazing, because I always prefer to eat rather than bake (like if you ask me to help you roll out cookie dough and the recipe says makes 40, the tray will end up making 20 if I help).
The food was described in ways that just made me want to reach into the book and pull out the food. You could almost smell the fresh food, almost feel the piece of let’s say, donuts – did they have donuts back then? Maybe you could even imagine tasting whatever you were eating – I know I was thinking along those lines.
I would love to see that on screen, just be able to to see the food and it’ll be almost as good as actually smelling and eating the food. Or, can you imagine, if they released a cookbook made exclusively out of Laila’s recipes or recipes submitted by Roshani, something like that. Or maybe the cast’s favorite foods – I would buy that book and possibly make the food in there.
This group of characters is definitely going in my book as one of the best cast I’ve ever read. There were more than just characters in the book, having to perform jobs and missions together. They were friends, wanting to be with each other, have fun and laugh with each other. They felt more like a family than just a team working together – which is great, because the whole concept of the found family trope is that they want to spend time with each other. Sure, you can add a whole bunch of banter and Feelings™, but you can’t fake becoming closer.
I can’t even begin to think who is my actual favourite, because it’s ALL of them! Even Séverin who gets on my nerves a lot with how he thinks and treats the other characters, I still like to read his view. I loved reading how each character feels about Forging and what they think is their role in the group versus what their role is actually (which made for a lot of my comments to be ‘soft’).
I’d love to see Zofia and Laila become friends, everyone crowding around Laila and asking about the food. Hypnos just randomly coming over and making himself at home, sitting too close to Enrique and flirting with him. I want to see Enrique getting all excited over something historical or linguistical (same, Enrique. Same) and no one’s really interested. Tristin, even walking around casually with Goliath in his hands. is something I’d even want to see (and then he has to be back in his cage – Goliath, not Tristan, that is). And let’s be real, we all want to see Séverin moping, don’t lie. We all love the angst.
This review would have been shorter, but I couldn’t not include this, as it’s so vitally important. So, the entire cast is all super diverse and I think it’s extremely, majorly important that the casting respects and follows the representation. Maybe there’s a Jewish Polish girl who’s autistic and always thought herself to be extremely weird and unlikable – what if she sees The Gilded Wolves (with or without reading the book, we don’t shame here), sees Zofia on screen, sees herself in Zofia?
Titles, whether or not they’re book adaptations suffer a lot through whitewashing or dancing around labels. Either because they’re afraid how the audience will react, or the studio doesn’t want it; taking away a label, an identity, is something that can be harmful, and shouldn’t happen. Whenever this book is adapted (I’m choosing not to say if), it should be correctly casted. Someone who understands why Laila’s dancing is so important should be playing Laila. Enrique’s actor needs to be played by someone who understands him and his heritage.
I’m not saying that the adaptation will be a total flop if the actors aren’t a 1000% copy of the characters. I’m just saying that you don’t know who’s watching and who sees themself in a character, and I think that’s an extremely important point to consider.
Okay, so, I have no idea how they’ll be able to transfer the sheer and utter art of the narrative and the storytelling – the way the paragraphs were weaved together and how they seamlessly followed another onto the screen. I invite them to try, though.
I suppose that’s one of the pros of the book over the movie/series. You’re able to see how the characters feel about a situation, whereas with actors, you just have to hope they can convey the same feelings. Or with dialogue – we all know our favourite lines in our favourite books, but who knows if they’ll be carried over 100% to the screen.
The one quote I used was so long I had to split it up, i.e. the 1 and 2. Also, the audiobook had an interview with Roshani, so I thought that was cool. It spoke a bunch about fantasy and creating the world, which I really loved!
This was a bit longer than most reviews, but I really enjoyed writing it like this! Have you read The Gilded Wolves? Please tell me if you have so you can yell about it with me in the comments! If you haven’t, but are looking for a highly action-packed read, filled to the brim with lovable characters and a plot that’ll keep you turning the pages until there’s no more, then this is the book for you!