The Gilded Ones

Delacorte. May 2020. 432p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984848697.
Gr 7-10–In this West African fantasy set in Irfut, Deka, 16, is awaiting the blood ceremony that will seal her fate: will her blood run red, indicating purity and guaranteeing a normal life, or will golden blood lead her to a life of unknown terrors and pain? To Deka’s despair, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity, starting her on a journey she could never have imagined. Everything Deka grew up knowing will now be tested and tried by war, friendship, and death. Forna’s debut novel is masterful in its world-building and character development. The setting is vast and full of wonders, while the protagonist is well-rounded, bold, and as real as any other 16-year-old who wants to be accepted and loved.
VERDICT Brutal, and occasionally graphic in its depiction of violence, this is nevertheless a must.

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