BBNYA Review: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2020 BBNYA (Book Blogger Novel of the Year Award) and the BBNYA tours organised by @The_WriteReads Tour Team. All opinions are my own unbiased honest thoughts. More information about all can be found at the bottom of this post.

I almost feel as though I should write a further disclaimer to say I had actually already bought a copy of this book (the author had a stand at YALC previously and I was intrigued), and so whilst I hadn’t already read it, this was a book that independently of the competition I had taken an interest in and picked up on my own. But I’ll move on to the novel, which placed 4th in the finals of BBNYA 2020!

Only one city remains, Blue, walled in from the wilderness and forests of Red. But rather than Blue being a stronghold united, the city is split between the serving class humans and the less human nobility who choose their servants and feeders. An honour in the eyes of some, but for Julia it is a fate she doesn’t want. If she didn’t fear the death and disease suspected to kill in the Red, she would escape. Things start to change though when she meets Lucas…

Meanwhile, Cameron is a member of the nobility who doesn’t like to be restricted by the city walls as he searches the Red for a friend and lost Queen. His lack of humanity makes the task easier, until he finds an enemy that has been biding its time outside the walls.

I don’t think it is a big spoiler to say that this is a ‘vampire’ book (this is revealed very early on), but I promise to try and avoid later spoilers. I do enjoy some paranormal themes, but I feel like I haven’t read a lot of Young Adult vampire books (other than Twilight back in the day and more recently the first Vampire Academy book). Thankfully these vampires were less like the first example and the setting heaped a whole pile of dystopian into the mix, which is usually guaranteed to peak my interest.

Despite the two perspectives, the story is actually told in the third person, which initially I was a little uncertain about; I think I am realising I am a first person narrative fan more recently and often like to occupy the headspace of the core character(s). However, I felt the author managed to craft a level of character depth that didn’t leave me me pining for an alternative writing choice. In fact, for this particular story I think the third person worked really well.

There were a few occasions when I felt the character development was highlighted more than the world building, which I expect for romance or contemporary, but less from this multi-genre type of novel. Alternatively though, it did mean I was very invested in the trials and tribulations of all involved and meant that the ending left me with an intent to one day pick up the next book in the sequel.

Definitely worth looking into if you are a fan of paranormal, dystopian or apocalyptic adjacent stories.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website: or @bbnya_official and follow this link to enter. (Please make sure to read the terms and conditions before entering).

If you are a Book Blogger or reviewer and want to join an amazing panel, you can apply to be part of the 2021 BBNYA panel via this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up).

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (check them out if you love beautiful, special edition covers), and the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.

TLDR? A dystopian apocalypse in which humans and immortals alike find themselves facing a new threat to their walled city.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ellie Rayner says:

    Great review, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

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