Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1) by Amanda Foody
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 10th, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Hardcover, 411 pages
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.
I absolutely adored this book, it was a fantastical start to a series that I cannot wait to continue very soon.
I offically adore Amanda Foody’s writing style, it was so descriptive and easy to engage with, it really conveyed the story and the setting with its vivid atmosphere. The history of the world was hard for me to fully grasp, this might be because there is so much info and it’s all important. I did notice an improvement in the world building compared to the author’s debut novel.
The characters were wonderful and very loveable. Enne sadly wasn’t my favorite heroine but I still really enjoyed her. Her development as she transforms from a girl of etiquette and virtue to a rebel and a complete badass who is completely at home in the City of Sin. Levi was most defiantly my favorite of this series and I looked forward to his chapters more than Enne’s, he strikes an interesting balance between sweet, protective, and caring and while also committing some terrible acts to those he cares for. I also really loved that he was a black bisexual protagonist, points for the diversity, and I adore a male lead who doesn’t shy aware from being vulnerable and scared. Another interesting character is Enne’s gender fluid adoptive mother Lordes who’s gone missing. As currently being a non-active character in the story, I was impressed by how much development she ended up having, I was constantly interested in learning more about her, and I think there is still more to learn.
At first, I didn’t understand how the magic system worked, but I have to thank Amanda Foody for taking the time to personally explain it to me. I did appreciate the diversity of the abilities, which ranged anywhere from classical elemental magic to protection to acrobats, or counting. The variety amongst the talents I found very unique, and it’s unlike any other magic systems. I also found that the social view of different families associated with the same talent (like Enne being a Salta which is a dancing talent, but Salta’s are among the lower class of dancing families so she’s treated differently). The system while I didn’t fully understand, I did find to be very complex and interesting and I cannot wait to see it developed more throughout the sequel.
Overall, Ace of Shades is an amazing book, I became obsessed with this book and I cannot wait to proceed on to the sequel, and you should all read this book.