This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and I was lucky enough to got to read an advance copy and it definitely didn’t disappoint!
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, her only lead is a 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.
Similar to Amanda Foody’s debut, Daughter of the Burning City, the worldbuilding is so well done. It is set in a city called New Reynes and from the first chapter I could perfectly picture how it looked like and smelled like. Not only does Amanda Foody use amazing imaging and writes such immersive stories, she is also really good at creating worlds. I loved how realistic it felt and at the same time really new and original. The magic system was unlike other magic systems I’ve read about and it really surprised me!
“Everything was sharp, a place designed to cut. To draw blood. It was the kind of dark where shadows didn’t exist. Wherever she was… she shouldn’t be here.”
I love the characters in this book. They’re so well-written! The characters were rounded and complex but most importantly, so much fun to read about. My favourite was definitely Enne, who is the main character of the book. She starts off as someone who is a bit lost, out of place and afraid, but she grows into such a strong character, with lots of development. She’s strong and outspoken, yet feminine and kind. Levi, the other main character is at first sight reminiscent of Kaz from Six of Crows, but is such a different character when we get to know him better.
“And it smells foul.”
“What? This city? He inhaled deeply through his nose. “That’s the smell of opportunity. And maybe a little piss.”
I don’t really know why I wasn’t expecting it, but there was some romance in this book. And damn, Amanda Foody is good at writing romantic tension. I ship it so much! I think we can all agree Amanda Foody just did everything good and we should all read it, okay? Haha, anyway. I loved the diversity, Levi is bisexual and black, there’s an important gay side-character and a genderfluid/genderqueer (it’s not given a name) character. I loved how it was just fluently integrated in the story and it was just very casual… nobody really cared what someone’s romantic/sexual/gender-identity was and that was so refreshing to read.
“She’d spent her entire life fighting for next to last. So if she had to play, she would not lose. She would not break.”
I think I made it pretty clear that I absolutely loved this book. So therefore I am also giving it 5 stars. Amanda Foody has shown again what an amazing writer she is and this definitely convinced me even further to keep an eye out for everything she publishes in the future. I think this book is perfect if you like Six of Crows and books similar to it. I highly recommend this book if you like morally grey characters, subtle romance, great world-building and anything that has to do with criminals.
“She was a pistol wrapped up in silk. She was a blade disguised as a girl.”
Ace of Shades releases April 10th in the US and in the UK on May 17. Pre-order now for awesome goodies!