Review: Vows of Gold & Laughter By Edith Pawlicki [Sunday (Tuesday) Book Club]

Hiya! I’m back for a non-Sunday Book Club special, in partnership with Love Books Tours and author – Edith Pawlicki who have provided me a free copy of her second publication: Vows Of Gold & Laughter in print format, in exchange for an honest review.

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  • No Spoilers

Let’s get into it! Vows Of Gold & Laughter is a high fantasy novel that details a story of adventure, betrayal, and romance between immortal beings.

Her voice so dry that Xiao was tempted to empty a cup over her head to re hydrate it.”

Pg 220

Vows Of Gold & Laughter is an adult novel and as such there are themes within the story that may not be suitable for every reader.

There is reference within the book to alcoholism (and withdrawal), rape, forced pregnancy and infanticide which can be triggering to some readers. This is not written in explicit detail but is mentioned briefly within the story.

Vows Of Gold & Laughter by Edith Pawlicki was published April 2021 and is Tale One in The Immortal Beings Trilogy and currently averages on Goodreads, a rating of 4.40 stars based on 50 ratings.

Edith Pawlicki, an indie author, lives in Connecticut with her Husband and twin sons, dog, and rabbit. She fell in love with words in fourth grade and finds writing necessary to free the worlds and characters in her head. When she isn’t busy being a mom and author, she enjoys cooking and crafts. In addition to the Immortal Beings series, she has also written a YA science fiction novel, Minerva. 

Pawlicki majored in Computer Science & Japanese with a minor in History at the University of Rochester. Pawlicki also taught English in Japan before moving to the Seattle suburbs, getting married, and earning a Masters in Teaching.

The summary reads:

The meeting of four lonely immortals will change them – and the world.

High in the Heavens, an immortal court celebrates the betrothal of Jin, Goddess of Beauty, and Xiao, God of Pleasure. But as soon as the vows are made, the Sun Emperor collapses from a death curse.

Raised away from the Sun Court after her mother’s murder, Jin is called a useless goddess, but she is now the emperor’s only hope. The curse’s cure is locked in the Underworld, and even though the court dismisses him as a hopeless alcoholic, Xiao vows to help his betrothed find the lost key.

They hire a thief who is more interested in stealing the groom than recovering the key, and begin their search at the legendary grave of the Great Warrior – only it turns out he never died. Tens of millennia old, he is a master of everything but his own heart.

Their journey takes them from the icy peaks of the White Mountain and the lush banks of the Kuanbai River to the palace of the Sea Dragon and the halls of the Moon Deer, through court intrigue and bloody battles, power struggles and magical traps. The Heavens, Earth, and the Underworld will forever celebrate their triumphs – and mourn their mistakes.

I did struggle to settle into this book, mostly for my own reasons. My copy of Vows Of Gold & Laughter was received back in July, which was a super busy month and before I knew it August had rolled around and I found myself in a bit of a reading slump. Initially staggering through the pages, I decided on my next weekend off I would set myself a challenge & so I did.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Tik Tok then you will have already seen my mini read-a-thon and if you haven’t then you can find all my socials listed in my Linktree ! (What a shameless self plug.)

Once I gave Vows Of Gold & Laughter my undivided attention I breezed through the pages and was left on a cliffhanger so unbearable I almost wept. Almost.


Breaking my review down into 3 main aspects:

World-Building: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

With a high fantasy adult novel, there are big expectations for clear, detailed and imaginative world building and Vows Of Gold & Laughter does not disappoint.

For clarification, a high fantasy novel is classified this way as it is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by the ‘epic’ nature of it’s characters, themes or plots and is set in an alternative, fictional world, rather than the real world.

Vows Of Gold & Laughter takes place across Heaven, Earth & the Underworld. Pawlicki later explains in the Author’s note that when creating the towns and cities, that she drew inspiration from all across Asia. Every aspect of this world-building was elaborate, highly detailed and crafted with such care that I found myself easily immersed. At first it was daunting to be given such a vast amount of information, almost all at once, and it took some time before I truly grasped a lot of the groundwork that Pawlicki had been laying.

Thankfully there is a super handy Glossary that you can refer to at the rear of the book, as well as multiple diagrams and charts throughout that add to the high fantasy vibe (- think Lord Of The Rings – esque.)

“May fate smile on you.”

“Good fortune.” Nanami & Xiao echoed back

Pg 167

Pace: 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have said this before and I will say it again, the pace in the first book of any series will naturally suffer with the world-building that the author has to detail and Vows Of Gold & Laughter is no different. We, the reader, go through a lengthy prologue and a slow pace for two thirds of the novel as we are introduced to the huge variety of characters and backstories that is needed to create a believable world for the action to take place in.

Every character that is introduced is enriched with details and their own personal story that ties in with the wider narrative. It might seem overwhelming to have, what seems, an endless list of characters but Pawlicki does a stellar job of making every character important and well-written. Admittedly, there were points that did become confusing when we moved from simpler names to a character’s traditional name. I understood the purpose but, for me, I got a little lost and had to re-read passages a few times over which slowed the pace down further.

The later third of the book picks up in pace quite rapidly and I reached a point where I had 77 pages left where I realised just how dramatic the cliffhanger was going to be.

“You think I’m naive because I trust people, but actually, truly malicious beings are the exception not the rule.”

Pg 109

Romance 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a pretty high rating from me when looking at romance in a non-romance novel and this is simply down to the writing style of Pawlicki. Pawlicki does an incredible job at developing her characters and building relationships between them that we, the reader, cannot help but to ship.

! Big big fan of Nanami and Xiao.

The relationships between the four main protagonists are beautifully written, realistically complex and the romance is subtle but present. This isn’t a smutty novel and any of those scenes are fade to black scenes that leave any spicer details to your own imagination.

“You don’t earn love. Love is a gift, and gifts aren’t earned.”

Pg 151

For Vows Of Gold & Laughter specifically I would like to discuss the:

Magic System

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve not come across a magic system that operates quite like this. If you have, drop a comment with the rec so that I can add it to my (never-ending) TBR.

Essentially, the system works based on colours and this power stems from the original nine immortals, known as the nine colours. Each immortal was assigned, I guess embodies is a better word, a colour that they can then draw power from and manipulate. For example, a red immortal can draw on/manipulate blood when necessary as this corresponds with their colour.

Taking a deep breath, she pricked her finger and squeezed until the blood welled up.

You will free me, she told it, forced it to her will.

Pg 282

When two colours (A.K.A original immortals) then marry and create immortal children, the children draw on this power and inherit the ability to manipulate both colours inherited from the parents – giving these immortal children twice the power of their parents.

It is a nifty – did I just use the word nifty non-ironically, I think I did…wow – ability that the characters utilise in a super creative way.

Overall: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vows Of Gold & Laughter is one of the most enjoyable stories that I have read in a long time and despite a slow start and struggling to settle into the novel, by the latter third I was enamored. The characters are well thought-out, incredibly well written and the character development is amazing.

Vows Of Gold & Laughter is an indie book that could easily compete with traditionally published books in terms of it’s quality. I found myself imagining how this could translate to the big screen and would love to see this as a movie.

Want to know if this book is the one for you? Do you enjoy mythology? Perhaps, a lover of Asian culture and/or epic quests? Happy to read Game Of Thrones style writing & length? If you’ve said yes to any of these then Vows Of Gold & Laughter may be the book for you.

Thank you to Edith & Kelly, from Lovebookstours, for sending me a copy; it was a delight to read. I wish Edith all the success with this trilogy!

Vows Of Gold & Laughter can be purchased here. Loves Of Shadow & Power is the second book in the Immortal Beings trilogy and is currently available for pre-order before it’s release on 14th September 2021 here.

P.s. I am trailing a new engagement feature on my website. If you enjoyed this review – or perhaps you really didn’t – hit one of the buttons below & let me know 🙂


Em x


By the way of general updates, I know I said back in May that I would next be reviewing Shadow & Bone from the hit YA fantasy series but life has been escaping me recently. It is in the pipeline, as well as a few other collaborations with Lovebookstours X a variety of authors! (See Below) Almost all of these will fall outside of my scheduled Sunday posting so hit the follow button or subscribe, via email, below to not miss any new updates!

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9th September
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