Title: The Bronzed Beasts
Series: The Gilded Wolves #3
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 21st, 2021 (Wednesday Books)
Synopsis: In love they breathed. In destiny they believed. In the end, will divinity be their demise?
After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin.
Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass.
With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.
“In your hands lies the gate of godhood—let none pass.”
Following the events in the Sleeping Palace and the revelation that Séverin alone is capable of playing the Divine Lyre, he now plays a dangerous game as he balances a delicate alliance with Ruslan, the Patriarch of the Fallen House to discover the location of the temple where the lyre can be played. Meanwhile, Séverin’s seeming betrayal has driven a wedge in the team even as Laila, Enrique, Zofia and Hypnos make their way to Venice to find him with only the barest of clues. Laila has only ten days before she expires and the crew must set aside their doubts to reach the temple in time. Playing the Divine Lyre in the temple promises divinity, which for Séverin, would be the power he needs to keep his friends safe. But will they be prepared to pay the price this apotheosis demands?
“History might be shaped by the tongues of conquerors, but it was not a fixed shape or story, and with every object they repatriated, it was like adding or recasting a sentence in a book whose pages were as wide and infinite as a horizon.”
I don’t think I even need to mention how high up on my most anticipated list this book has been all year considering the number of times it has appeared in my posts. The story once more picks up right away and there was little to no recap, which made the first couple of chapters quite hard to follow as it has been well over a year since I read The Silvered Serpents. It would definitely be worth it to reread the previous books before picking up this finale. The adventure that started as a heist in Paris comes to a close against the backdrop of Venice as the stakes are higher than ever. The Bronzed Beasts was not the same high powered adventure as the first two books, though it did have its share of action packed moments. But on the whole, the pace of this book was much more languid, and by the 75% mark I began to wonder exactly what all the build up had been for, since things seemed to be going more or less as expected with nary a plot twist in sight. Ultimately, while the plot took its own sweet time getting to the point, it was the characters and the beautiful writing that held things together.
“There was power in knowing not just how to move through the world, but how to make the world move around you.”
Séverin’s arc has been absolutely beautiful throughout this series, and this finale was no exception. I loved that we got to see the fallout of Séverin’s betrayal and how it affected everyone, that it wasn’t glossed over the minute they realized it was all part of his plan. His actions really affected them all emotionally and it was a breaking of trust that they had to work through even as time was running out, and this conflict made his arc all that much better. On the other hand, I felt like we barely got any time with Laila as compared to previous books which was more than a little disappointing since I expected as much out of Laila’s arc in this book as Séverin’s.
As for Laila and Séverin, no spoilers, but I really liked the way their relationship progressed throughout this book and I am very happy with their ending. The crew of The Gilded Wolves is without doubt one of the most beautiful examples of the ‘found family’ trope that I have ever come across and I love their dynamic that remained intact throughout this book despite the tense mood. It’s quite the feat to have so many POVs and even more impressive see such significant and meaningful development in all their arcs. Enrique’s in particular was excellent and I really enjoyed his part in this book. But I am also very annoyed that Hypnos didn’t get a POV in this one, because he is pretty much the only character we haven’t seen in depth throughout the series.
I debated long and hard on what to rate this book, because I’m still conflicted about how…gradual the ending was. It wasn’t until I finished the book and gave it some thought, setting aside the fantasy reader in me that expects a heart-stopping finale, that I realized how naturally the book had ended and really, all things considered, it was a very satisfying conclusion to this series. I finally decided to knock off half a star because while the ending was rather poetic, I feel like the first two books have set the reader’s expectations way too high to completely accept this ending, especially considering the minimal foreshadowing for most of it.
I’m sad that this series is over and it’s once more time to bid a beloved set of characters farewell. Despite how unexpected this book turned out to be, this is a story that has always been strongly character driven and they definitely shone in this last installment, making this a truly heartwarming conclusion to the series. Roshani Chokshi did not disappoint with this finale and I would highly recommend this series for any fantasy fan!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: