THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST – IF YOU DO NOT WANT ELEMENTS OF THIS STORY REVEALED THEN STOP NOW (come back when you are done the novel and let me know what you think)
I enjoyed every second of this novel. Roshani Chokshi has written an incredible novel that is extremely detailed and keeps you on your toes. From the very first page I was hooked.
“In 1889 the city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure hunter and wealthy hotelier, Severin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Severin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Severin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother of arms if not blood.
Together they will join Severin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history – but only if they stay alive.”
Each Character in this novel is so unique and brings something to the table. They are very different people with different goals in life but they work together perfectly.
He is the leader. He came across each of the other characters throughout his journey to reinstate his family name. Severin is relatable in the sense that he needs something to fight for. He needs to be reinstated but to do that he needs proof that he is actually the heir.
While he struggles to get the proof he needs. Severin and his crew steal objects or clues that are leading them to the bigger picture.
He is young in age but an old soul is the sense that I get from Severin. I believe that he wishes he could just be a young adult but he takes responsible for Tristan at such a young age and then each of the other members of the group. He is a protector.
He represents the voice of reason. He questions most things but eventually comes around to help the team out.
Enrique struggles with his race, his identity and his sexuality. I honestly love Chokshi for this character because it shows that even way back in our history everyone struggles with identity and self acceptance.
Enrique’s ultimate dream was to be apart of an elite group of men but they decline him time and time again because of his skin colour. Also, Enrique is attracted to both sexes. He doesn’t understand why and he doesn’t know how to navigate this confusion until we are introduced to Hypnos.
Of course Hypnos plays a larger role than making Enrique explore his sexuality but he does.
Hypnos is a flamboyant man who is undoubtedly himself. He flirts, says what he wants to say no matter the situation and gets what he wants. One of those things was a kiss from Enrique and Enrique accepts.
This is the moment in the novel where Enrique realizes he doesn’t need to be an group (one that discriminates against him) in order to be happy. He only needs to be himself.
She is a young woman struggling with identity. Laila was a dancer that went by the stage name L’Enigme. She wore extravagant costumes and do things to cause drama and excite the crowd. However, that was only a part of her.
The scar down her spin is another magical element to this story and contributes to Laila’s struggle with identity. From a young age her body was altered in order to keep her alive. Her parents went to a magician or jaadugar because she was stillborn at birth. The Jaadugar was able to transfer her consciousness to a new vessel using his gift of Forging.
She also takes on a maternal role, taking care of Zofia, Tristan and the others. Plus, her and Severin have a connection that try their hardest to ignore.
In the end Severin and Laila’s relationship is not exactly off limits as they plan to set out on a new adventure where they need to pretend to me a couple. If only there was more to the story to find out of each of them find piece!
I enjoyed Zofia’s uniqueness. The way her brain works is awesome and different than most. Her characteristics and interactions with others bring to light her struggles with communication but her love for numbers and patterns.
She struggled in the beginning with being accepted. She was teased and bullied at school because of her inability to communicate the way society deems normal.
However, by the end of the novel she makes huge progress. She acts before she analysis. Normally, Zofia would look at every angle of a situation before she began but she grew into herself. She trusted her instincts.
Lastly, we have Tristan. He is the youngest one and the reason why Severin is fight so hard. Tristan is quirky, quite and innocent. He stays hold up in the garden working on things. He has a passion for tarantulas which I DO NOT relate to. Also, he loves to garden.
Tristan’s fate is sad but understandable. Tristan is killed. He is killed in a scenario where Severin had to choose between Lalia or Tristan. He chose Lalia, shielding her from the attack when Tristan was the true target.
Severin will forever blame himself for this. But this loss of innocence was needed for Severin to gain a new perspective. A new mission. He wants to take down the Fallen House and burn it to the ground completely.
Overall, each of the characters struggle with their past and are trying to obtain a future they think they deserve.
The idea of Forging is genius. It has enough magically qualities to suspend disbelief as a reader but it is also routed in science as well. Chokshi does an incredible job of integrating the past, history and fantasy into this unique world.
The Seven Deadly Sins
The 7 Sins are first mention as a garden that is at L’Eden – Severin’s hotel. In the part of the garden designed as Envy is Tristan’s workshop.
Now, the English major of me wants to analysis the crap out of this but I will simply leave it with this. I want to think that Severin is Envious of Tristan’s innocents and lack of constant conflict. Tristan found his passion and knows what he wants to do with his life. Every other character is struggling with an inner demon or two.
Also, each of the seven deadly sins make up Severin. Throughout the novel each family that Severin and Tristan lived with represented a sin.
We do not hear much about Sloth but it is implied that Sloth would be Severin’s first father. Sloth is characterized as lazy and choosing not to pursue ones talents or gifts.
A father who mistreated and abused him because the boy was unable to give the family wealth. Severin was only seven at the time and simply wanted to be loved. However, Wrath took it a step farther and tormented the boys. He tormented them just enough that no one would find out.
Severin and Tristans next stop was to a family with a loving wife, a husband and two other chidren. Severin was excited because the woman welcomed them with open arms and made them feel at home. However, the woman believed the boys had a fortune that the family would have their hands one. The moment the boys were worthless they were discarded.
The next father took what he wanted whether or not it was his. He took care of the boys by feeding them and helping Tristan learn more about his forging abilities. However, he showed them the world of thievery and this was something Severin thought about often.
Pride was the father that taught the boys how to steal what was once rightful yours. Similar to Severin, Pride lost his fortune and title and was very bitter over time. He showed the boys how to plan a heist and take artifacts from secure locations – sound familiar?
Severin was station as the lookout with this father while he stole things he didn’t need. Greed was very wealthy but enjoyed the rush of a steal. Unfortunately, Greed wanted one too many things on a particular night and ended up dying.
The last father Severin had was Lust. This man taught him to use a broken heart as a weapon and to never let anyone get too close. A broken heart is devastating and Lust learned that the hard way when his love fell for someone else.
Severin chooses to decline the test that would reveal to him if he is the true heir to House Vanth. In his mind it is a given. However, the reader is left with the fact that he is not the blood heir.
If Severin found out this information everything he has done up until this point would be for nothing. This entire adventure started because he wanted to reinstate his families name and represent House Vanth.
Unless I am missing something. What house does Severin belong to, if any at all?
Overall, Chokshi does an incredible job of weaving history, fiction and adventure into this book. Plus, the puzzles! I love all the puzzles!
Have you read The Gilded Wolves? What are your thoughts?