The Gilded Ones is Namina Forna’s debut young adult novel and the first in her new West-African inspired fantasy series entitled Deathless. As someone who loves elegantly crafted epic fantasy worlds, The Gilded Ones did not disappoint!
Deka is a mix of emotions. As a sixteen-year old, she is now eligible for the blood ceremony that will determine whether or not she will become a member of her village. This ceremony fills her with both fear and anticipation because if her blood runs gold, she will be forced out. Gold blood means that you are impure and the consequences of that are worse than death.
The day of the ceremony arrives. When it is Deka’s turn, she is stunned to see that her blood runs gold. Deemed impure, Deka’s life is effectively over. A mysterious woman shows up in her village offering Deka a choice: stay in her village and succumb to her fate or leave and fight in an army of girls just like her. These girls are called alaki. They are near immortals who have a myriad of rare gifts. The only ones who can stop the biggest threat to the empire.
Deka decides to leave the village and travel with this mystery woman to the capital to begin her training. The minute she reaches the walled city, Deka realizes that not everything is as simple as it’s made out to be. Nobody is quite who they say they are, including Deja herself.