REVIEW: ACE OF SHADES BY AMANDA FOODY

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Title: Ace of Shades
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 408
My Rating: 5 stars

 

FIVE_CATS

 

“Some say the City of Sin is a game, so before you arrive—ask yourself, dear reader, how much are you prepared to lose?” —The City of Sin, a Guidebook: Where To Go and Where Not To

 

Enne is a proper lady in the summer before her final year of schooling. She would have been content to prepare for the final year leading up to her debut into society, but her mother has gone missing in the City of Sin, and she has taken it upon herself to travel there and try to find her mother before the summer is up. If I had to describe this book in one sentence, I’d say that it’s a cross between Caraval and Six of Crows, but it’s also super different and totally it’s own story.

 

“So just how different is New Reynes from Bellamy?” he asked, even though he already knew the answer: completely.
“Well, to start with, it’s a lot dirtier,” she said, her nose crinkled. Levi was beginning to think that was her signature look. “And it smells foul.”
“What? This city?” He inhaled deeply through his nose. “That’s the smell of opportunity. And maybe a little piss.”

 

The combination of a City of Sin mixed up with all different kinds of magic was really fun. There was a family that could bind people to their street if they owed them a debt, people that can pull the air from someone else’s lungs with just a thought, and a unique form of currency that could be carried in your skin. The author did a really good job of describing everything; I never had any trouble picturing the characters or their surroundings. The streets were full of glittering confetti and drunken revelers, the casinos were adorned with velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers, and the theatres were full of cigarette smoke and shadows. A lot of the story revolved around street gangs and casinos, with a main focus on Enne trying to navigate this dangerous city while also solving the mystery of her missing mother.

 

Pros:
– a fun atmosphere that is dark at the same time
– lots of character development, interesting types of magic and a unique currency system that ties into it
– “Fishnets, cherry lips, black lace, scarlet nails. Satin bedsheet curtains; glow-in-the-dark artwork of lips and curves; dancers lounging in windows above the main gambling floor, their long legs and stiletto heels dangling from the bannisters.”

 

The only complaint I had was pretty small, but I think the story could have used a bit more information on the history and politics. There is mention of an overthrow of the government and of old rulers being exterminated- whole families are executed and chased down for who they are- but we’re never given much info on why all this happened. Some people are happy with the current leaders, while some are part of a rebellion, and it’s hard to say what side you as the reader are supposed to sympathize with.

 

“In the City of Sin, secrets are their own sort of currency, and reputation holds more power than fortune.” —The City of Sin, a Guidebook: Where To Go and Where Not To

Finding Enne’s mother, Lourdes, is the main purpose of the story, but it becomes much more than that. Enne quickly finds out that she knows nothing of who Lourdes truly is, and that she’s lived a very sheltered life. Even though Enne is ignorant to much about the City of Sin, she’s smart and is able to adapt everything she’s previously learned to better aid herself in this new situation. I enjoyed the characters of Enne and Levi- how very different they were, but at the same time how similar they were and how many personal struggles they shared. While they’re each dealing with issues of their own, they also have an adventure together, and there were plenty of moments that had me on the edge of my seat. The author didn’t hold back when it came to gore, and the characters found themselves in some very dangerous situations. Things got crazy in the end, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

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