The Bronzed Beasts is an epic conclusion to the Gilded Wolves trilogy

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi. Image courtesy Wednesday Books
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi. Image courtesy Wednesday Books /

Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves trilogy started out as what seemed to be a simple heist story.  (Albeit one that had magic involved.) That it ultimately grew into a tale of mystical powers, reality bending artifacts, and the very real possibility of our main character either destroying or ruling the world as a god was probably something none of us could have ever expected.

It’s true that on some level, we all might have been happier with the smaller world and stakes of the start of this trilogy, where questions of life, death, and divinity weren’t so frequently asked. But, to Chokshi’s credit, she does manage to bring this trilogy to a deserved and satisfying end with The Bronzed Beasts, an epic conclusion with lots of big, dramatic moments that will still satisfy the fans that care more about the emotional journey these characters have been on together for the past several years.

To put it more plainly: None of the other books in this series are the equal of The Gilded Wolves but Bronzed Beasts is a considerably stronger narrative than The Silvered Serpentswith the added bonus of not making me completely hate the trilogy’s primary character. That’s a win, if you ask me.

Part of the problem is that the idea of Severin as a god has always been a laughably bad idea Because despite his occasionally good intentions, he’s always been precisely the wrong sort of person to be trusted with that kind of power. And with most of us still angry at him for, well, the entirety of The Silvered Serpents, his really isn’t a mission that feels incredibly sympathetic or easy to root for. Particularly when he’s still so happy to keep the people he supposedly cares about in the dark about his true goals. (Plus, he could also stand to do some more groveling to literally every one of his friends but most and especially Laila.)

With a plot that’s slowly beginning to turn unbelievable, it’s the chemistry between the series leads and the stakes of the ongoing drama between them that carry much of this book. And with Severin sort of off doing his own thing for half the story, we get the chance to spend significantly more time with some of the story’s secondary characters in ways we haven’t  before.

Zofia gets the book’s – and possibly the entire series’? – most satisfying arc. Enrique gets to be righteously furious with Severin, Laila embraces unexpected honesty as the end of her life ticks down and Hypnos’ constant reliance on humor is irrevocably shown for what it is: A fear of being left alone.

In the earlier books in this series, it often felt as though this trilogy was the story of Severin and also some other characters who seemed to be sort of a rung below him on the ladder of narrative importance. That is absolutely not the case here, and I don’t think anyone should be surprised if they find themselves more invested in the story of several of the other formerly “secondary” figures than in Severin himself.

Part of the reason for that is that Severin doesn’t have a real adversary in this book. Though Ruslan was revealed as a villain at the end of The Silvered Serpents, he’s surprisingly one-note and dull here, showing up to do little more than make vague supervillain-esque threats and pine after his supposedly inevitable godhead. Yawn.

It’s difficult to buy him as a real threat to Severin – or anyone else for that matter – and there’s nothing about his story that reads as terribly compelling. This book might have been better served with no villain at all – or if it had allowed our favorites very human fears and flaws to simply stand in as the metaphorical bad guys they must battle.

As entertaining as the team’s adventure in an ancient plague city turns out to be, the fact all the puzzle solving and near-death hijinks winds up on a literal stairway to heaven is…well, it’s a choice. And though The Bronzed Beasts’ conclusion handles this as well as can be expected, it’s hard not to wonder what sort of story this might have been had it stayed a little more grounded.

dark. Next. Defy the Night gives Brigid Kemmerer fans plenty to get excited about

The Bronzed Beasts is available now. Let us know your thoughts on the trilogy’s conclusion!