Title: King of Fools
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 stars
“They were good friends, I heard.
That’s why gangsters don’t have friends.
Because one day, you might have to put a bullet in their head.”
—A legend of the North Side
My one and only complaint about Ace of Shades was that we didn’t get enough info on the politics, and then comes King of Fools with all kinds of explanations and a political race at its center. The gangs and the hierarchies are explained much better, and we get to see the inner workings of the clubs and the politicians. This switch in focus to politics didn’t take too much away from the story, but it turned into a story about crime and gangsters instead of a mystery, and while I enjoyed the whole thing, I did feel like some of the magic from the first book was missing. We have a huge reveal in the last novel about who Enne really is, but we’re never told what exactly she can do, and she never ends up using/exploring her power at all.
– Jac has his own chapters
– Slumber parties with would-be assassins; an all female girl gang with a clubhouse in an abandoned finishing school; lots of cats, cookies, and pistols
– new characters, specifically Sophia who’s one of my favorites
“The whole damn building smells of nail polish.
There are cats everywhere named after murderers.
And all you eat are sweets.”
– the story turned away from mystery and magic, instead becoming more of a gangster book
– storyline was a bit disjointed
I love the moral ambiguity of the characters; they do bad things, but they also try to do the right thing, and it all gets jumbled along the way. ( “You killed Sedric, she reminded herself. You wanted to. He was despicable. He was a predator.” ) There are a lot of gray areas, and Enne has a hard time figuring out if she’s the pearl or the bullet, or maybe a little bit of both. In a City of Sin that’s full of corruption, it’s hard to figure out who’s on the right side, when everyone is making cutthroat decisions and stabbing their so-called allies in the back. Enne starts herself quite the girl gang, and there were so many perfect/funny girl power moments, like watching them argue about whether to kill an intruder or keep him hostage while standing around in their pajamas with curlers in their hair and clay masks on their faces. As much as this story is about pistols and gangsters, it’s also about friendship, and I enjoyed seeing how all the different relationships played out as things progressed.
“If someone wanted to call her naïve, then they would. If someone wanted to call her heartless, then they would. It didn’t matter whether she decked herself in knives or pearls. The world would always demand that a girl apologize for herself, but she would apologize for nothing.”
There were a lot of moving pieces and characters to keep track of, and you couldn’t be sure what small details would matter later. Everyone had a goal and a plan of action to get there, but when all their plans clashed and when more than one person wanted to claim something for themselves, things quickly fell apart and tensions quickly mounted. Nobody could trust anyone else, and even if they did, the other person could have been played against them by someone else and not even known it. This book is filled with gangsters and socialites and politicians, and when they all come together at the end it makes for an edge of your seat finale. Even though the ending was exciting, I didn’t necessarily enjoy it. I won’t give away anything, but it didn’t sit well with me how things ended, and I’m still hoping it will be revealed in the next book that some of the things we thought were true, weren’t. Enne took the morally gray thing to an extreme, and hopefully she gets some redemption and becomes a heroine we can really root for in the final installment of this series.