16-year-old Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she’s “pure” and able to stay in her village or not. However, on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold showing that she’s impure. Soon after, a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice to either stay in her village and face a punishment worse than death or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls like her called alaki. Deka decides to leave her old life behind and journeys to the capital to train. However, Deka’s time in the capital reveals many secrets and she find out that nothing and no one are quite what they seem, not even Deka herself.
When I first started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, as I continued reading the book I became more and more impressed with the story Namina Forna put together. Everything from the character development to the plot twists was perfect. Throughout the book, I enjoyed seeing Deka develop as an alaki but more importantly as a person. The only thing I wish there was more of in the book is romance however that is just because I’m a big romance reader. I’m looking forward to reading the second book and I highly recommend The Gilded Ones if you enjoy adventure, fantasy, and thrillers.