The Bronzed Beasts
- Author: Roshani Chokshi
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: September 21, 2021
- Publisher: Wednesday Books
- Series: The Gilded Wolves #3
CONTENT WARNING: murder, violence, blood, racism, gore
After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos, and Sofia 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, deadly masquerades, unearthly songs, and the shining steps of a temple whose powers may offer divinity itself … but the price of godhood could cost them everything they hold dear.
I’ve been such a fan of this series since the very beginning, and it absolutely breaks my heart to say this, since I was honestly looking forward to this book for so long, but … this book is definitely the weakest in the series. There were some redeeming characteristics, though.
First of all, Chokshi’s writing is lush and gorgeous, as always. She paints the most beautiful, vivid pictures with her words, and it allows me to really put myself into the setting of the book with little effort. We’re brought to Venice, where we get to see both the beautiful and ugly sides of the city in all it’s magical glory.
Some of the character arcs were absolutely nailed in this story. Séverin, Zofia, and Enrique really stood out to me — their development really stood out to me, and I was so happy to see them really come into their own throughout this book. All through the previous books, all of the characters are struggling with their own issues, but these three really grow and change dramatically during the story. For Enrique, he finds his place in the world, just like he always wanted to. Séverin discovers how his actions affect others, and not only develops a sense of humility, but learns how to let down his walls. And Zofia has finally learned how to accept who she is and relate to others in her own way:
“Laila was a fulcrum, the point around which all things in their group seemed to pivot. Séverin was mass, the weight that changed their direction. Enrique gave them depth. Zofia hoped she offered light. She was not sure what Hypnos contributed to the group, but she could not imagine it without him. Perhaps that made him perspective.”
But it felt like Laila and Hypnos just kind of got lost in the shuffle. Although much of the plot centers around Laila’s time running out, the urgency surrounding that just wasn’t really there. We don’t really get any additional insight into her character. And poor Hypnos! I wanted to get to know him better and learn what made him tick, other than just his desire to be accepted and make others laugh, but apparently that was his entire role in the series. It made me so sad for him, and felt like so much wasted potential. This quote really summed up how I viewed his character arc in the series:
“There was something intoxicating and dreamlike about Hypnos’s beauty and verve, the way it lulled one to imagine impossibilities within reach.”
Another thing that I struggled with is that the story is a lot slower paced than the other books in the series. It seemed like I was constantly waiting for something major to happen, and it just took forever to finally happen. And when it finally did, it felt … anticlimactic. While I got a better understanding of Forging, the magic system was never fully explored or explained. And the ending left me feeling disappointed. So, while I was in wonder of much of the story, it honestly didn’t leave me with the same vibes as the rest of the book. But I’m always a sucker for a good found family story, especially one with such a diverse cast – including ethnicity, religion, neurodiversity, and sexuality.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 12
Categories: Book Review