The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Blood, Crime


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

My Opinion

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) Isn’t that a beautiful cover? It’s the cover that drew me in. The story starts out strong and you’re immediately thrown into a world where women are lower than men. It is a very patriarchal world but so much so, that I cringed many times. Deka is claimed to be a demon during a ceremony and so begins her journey. While her journey is full of growth and perseverance it is also full of trauma and pain.

I loved watching her grow and become strong and confident. There was a great message about strength and where to find it and I love that in teen novels, I think it’s so essential. Deka grew and learned about love and trust and the strength within. It has a great message about strong women.

There are many twists and turns in this novel and while I enjoyed most of them, some fell a little flat for me. I have a lot of unanswered questions and don’t feel I have a full grip on the huge twist. There is a very small romance that felt a little forced but was cute and innocent at the same time. I feel I will be in the minority with a mediocre review, I believe most people will love the high fantasy and revelations at the end. 

The content is very low for language and high on violence. The violence seemed to be more descriptive or more harsh than I would expect in a YA novel. There were a few details that might make some uncomfortable and there are many triggers with racism, inequality/sexism, abuse, trauma and more. 

Thank you Delacorte for the opportunity to review this through NetGalley and for the author Namina Forna. This release date has been pushed back to February 9, 2021.

The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)

Namina Forna

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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings. 

Detailed Content Review



H***- 2



B****- 6

D***- 1

Bas****- 5

Religious Cursing-





Derogatory terms etc-

Oyomo is the god and is referred to many times, usually respectfully. 






Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

A woman drinks wine. 

A woman regularly smokes a pipe. 

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

*LGBTQ+ elements. (Mild)

A man and young woman bump. He grabs her calling her a “little morsel” and grabs her cloak to see her body. 

Some young women are forced to work at pleasure houses, especially if they don’t have a male guardian. 

In delivering young women to a center, many were forced to “lose their virtue” and were sold to men to use on the way. 

A group of young women training to be soldiers, are commanded to disrobe. They do, one mindful to not look but still sees hair and skin.

A young woman tells of being sold to a brother and being kept for men that liked to hurt children. 

Two women sleep in the same bed and are assumed lovers. 

A young woman complains about sand in her “delicate bits” and they talk about delicate bits then a man gets made fun of for virginity claiming he’s waiting for marriage. A young woman claims it’s the greatest thing to “feel a girl up” and makes squeezing motions. They decide virginity or not is a personal decision and many admit to it.

A young man kisses a young woman.

A young man kisses a young woman. 

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

Young women are cut across their chest at an aging ceremony. The color of their blood is crucial. 

A deathshriek monster screams and a man falls to the ground, blood coming from ears and nose. The creature backhands a man sending him flying, blood gushing. The creatures attack soldiers and pull out their insides with their claws, blood is everywhere. Heads, limbs and bodies are severed. A man stabs a young woman with a sword, blood spilling over her. 

A young woman is taken captive and tied with metal clasps.

A father slices a sword across his daughters throat. 

Men try to kill a cursed young woman by “Beheading, burning, drowning, hanging, poisoning, stoning, disemboweling, bloodletting, dismemberment …” they bleed her multiple times to use her golden blood for profit. 

A group of young women are “gilded” with gold on their hands. They smell and feel burning flesh during the process. 

A young woman is hit in the back with a barbed stick for punishment. Blood spurts down her back. The woman steps on her wound and pushes. She already has a massive amount of scars. It’s obvious she’s used to beatings. 

When a young woman talks out of turn, a woman throws a hairpin at her, cutting off the top of her ear as it sticks to the wall. 

“The novices who didn’t kill their share (deathshrieks) are being flayed.” Young women scream as their skin is peeled back, blood dripping everywhere. The young women heal quickly. 

A deathshriek claws at a young woman and pulls out her spine. 

A young woman tells of her family locking her in a cage and putting her underwater. Because of her abilities, she drowned over and over. 

Two young women fight with swords, one is knocked out. 

Deathshrieks are attacking villages and killing many. 

An eight year old goes on a deathshriek raid and vomits so much he passes out. 

A group of soldiers attacks deathshrieks. Blood sprays as many of the heads are cut off. Their bodies and heads resemble a mountain. At their living area, deathshrieks have piles of human body parts. 

A young woman tells of men cutting her and slicing her neck and anything they wanted because she would heal (due to her abilities.)

A creature throws a rock at a young woman, crushing her jaw, then at her hands. She gurgles blood. 

Deathshrieks take 12-13 year old girls from a village. 

Creature blood sprays a young woman’s face as someone stabs it with a sword. 

An attack on soldiers leaves many dismembered (but healing) and blood seeps into sand. Boulders are thrown at them. Spears are thrown at them. One young woman is speared and is bleeding out.

Fireballs are launched at soldiers and shrieks from the deathshrieks cause many to shake, piss and vomit. A young woman watches as a young man cuts off her head. She wakes as her body is still healing from being fully dismembered. She talks while her body comes together. 

A battle starts, a deathshriek claws a man’s throat open. 

A young man and young woman are tied and taken captive. One is beaten and bloody. 

A man throws a young woman into the wall. Then he grabs her by the throat, slamming her into the ground. He slams her against the wall and floor again and drags her. This happens multiple times, she’s starting to black out. She stabs him, blood dripping. 

Potentially Intense Themes

A disease has made a man age in a few months from robust and blonde to stooping and gray. 

A mother has died.

Deathshrieks are monsters that steal away “impure” girls. 

Women are the lower gender and are ruled by men. This is talked about many times. At a certain age they are required to wear masks covering their face.

Deathshrieks have killed a young man’s entire family.

Special blood is used for lots of things. Armor, money etc so some young women and daughters are used just for their blood. 

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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