Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Release date: April 10, 2018
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 416
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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.
I haven't read Amanda Foody's Daughter of the Burning City, but if it's anything close to as fun as Ace of Shades, I'm here for it. I picked this up sort of on a whim, curious but without a lot of expectations, and it blew me away!

Enne is fresh off the boat in New Reynes, and it's obvious. Searching for her mother, who came to the city but who Enne hasn't heard from in months, she's willing to do just about anything to find her. Enter Levi, one of the city's street lords, who is beholden to others for more than he can afford. Enne's mother told her to seek out Levi should she need help, but Levi is in more trouble than he can handle already--yet Enne offers a way out. The two team up against what feels like the entire city to find her mother and save Levi.

And while that sounds like there's enough going on, it feels as if the city of New Reynes itself is a character. Foody draws the it as a sinister place, where one wrong step could be the last you take, any corner could hide danger. It's a palpable kind of feeling--and it's the kind I love. The city has more secrets than anyone, and it's a lot of fun to see what comes next.

There's an easy comparison here to Six of Crows, but I think it's important to differentiate this from it. While the feel of a gritty city is much like Ketterdam, that's where the similarities really cease. Levi is far from Kaz. He's a lot more open and while he does keep to himself in a lot of aspects, he's not someone who is keeping everyone in the dark. He doesn't have the same kind of damage that Kaz does. And Ace of Shades is far from the heist story of SoC!

While I wish the romance had been less frustrating (So many close calls--just kiss already, y'all! This could just be me...), I couldn't put Ace of Shades down. From the first couple of pages, I was hooked, taking a book I casually gave a try into something I took every minute I could to read. So, if this sounds like your thing, read it!

About the author:

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

ACE OF SHADES is the first novel of THE SHADOW GAME series, releasing April 10, 2018. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, released in July 2017.

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