My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pacing: Normal to Fast
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: April 10th, 2018
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow. Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city… And she’ll need to play. – synopsis from Goodreads
“Are you a pearl, or are you a bullet?”
I got Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody in one of my Owlcrate boxes and was really thrilled to get it since I thought the synopsis looked so cool, plus it had the exclusive cover and it was signed. Not many authors to come to Canada so getting these exclusive signed edition is just amazeballs. I haven’t read her first book yet so I didn’t know if I would like her style. Turns out I definitely do!
How can I describe Ace of Shades? For me it was like if Caraval and Six of Crows had a baby, intrigued yet? It had a lot of elements that I love, such as a heist, who doesn’t like a good heist? These are generally fast paced and full of action, which is great when you are close to a reading slump. In Ace of Shades there is, in my opinion, a small heist but still a heist. The main characters go about the city looking for our main protaganist, Enne’s mother and uncover so many things that she didn’t know about the woman that raised her. I thought the pacing of the book was just right. The action didn’t go to fast or slow and there weren’t any moments where it stood still. It kept me interested in the story that was unfolding.
Between all the action, we do get to see some characters growth. Sometimes in books the character ends off at the same place that he started, this wasn’t the case in Ace of Shades. Most of the main characters do evolve and change throughout the story. Like for example, Enne started off as proper young lady and by the end of it she has become something completely different and badass. All the changes she goes through are natural and nothing feels forced. Sometimes I think that authors try to change a character so much that it doesn’t really make sense – they try to make them edgy and it feels forced to me but Amanda Foody found the right balance to keep this character genuine and was able to show how different and strong she has become.
One thing I really liked about Ace of Shades was the writing, the storytelling was nothing short of brilliant. The description of certain scenes or places in the book were so clear to me that I actually felt as if I was there. I loved the idea of New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin, it reminded me in parts of Ketterdam from Six of Crows but with some differences. It feels like a place I’d love to visit LOL
If I have one critique to make, it would be the magic system. Most of the characters have abilities/talents – a type of magic that permits them to do various things. Like Enne being a Salta gives her a natural talent for dance or some characters are said to read auras and even minds. I personally had a lot of difficulties in understanding how it works or what it was. These abilities come from their lineage and some can have a couple of them I guess. I just thought it was a bit of an info dump but we weren’t given a lot of context for it. Sometimes to not have all the explanation doesn’t bother me that much but in this case I would’ve loved to get just a bit more on this, since it sounded really cool.
In the end this was a great book and I cannot wait for our chat with Amanda. I will definitely be getting King of Fools that comes out this April. I might also grab Daughter of the Burning City and move it up on my TBR.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.