The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Lovers of Children of Blood and Bone and All the Stars and Teeth will sink straight into this captivating feminist fantasy, which - in the vein of The Handmaid's Tale - slowly forces us to turn from the page and see uncanny reflections in our own society. Deka, the mixed-race daughter of a village farmer, has only ever wanted to be pure. The dark skin she inherited from her recently deceased mother has only ever earned her scrutiny and condescension, but she finally has her chance to prove herself when she turns sixteen and can undergo the Ritual of Purity. Once her blood runs red in front of the village, she can don her own mask of purity and finally belong. But when her ceremony goes horribly awry, Deka bleeds cursed gold - the sign of demons, alaki, women who carry superhuman abilities and can die many deaths. While the rest of the kingdom sees this as a death warrant, Deka is rescued by a mysterious woman who gives her a choice: continue to die in her village's cellar, or work as a soldier in the forefront of the war against deathshrieks, fierce monsters that slaughter any human in their path. Deka does so, praying for atonement...but begins to discover that perhaps being a demon has its perks, if she can only survive them.

— Cailey


“Namina Forna Could Be The Toni Morrison Of YA Fantasy.”–Refinery 29 

“An enthralling debut. The Gilded Ones redefines sisterhood and is sure to leave readers both inspired and ultimately hopeful.—Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

"The Gilded Ones is a fierce, unflinching fantasy that marks Forna as a debut to watch."Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken 

The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

About the Author

Namina Forna has a MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She now works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads. The Gilded Ones is her debut novel. Visit her on twitter at @NaminaForna and on Instagram at @namina.forna.

Praise For…

“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore this one.” —BuzzFeed
Product Details
ISBN: 9781984848697
ISBN-10: 1984848690
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February 9th, 2021
Pages: 432
Series: Deathless