Title: Ace of Shades
Author: Amanda Foody
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April, 2018
Erinne (Enne) Salta, raised as a proper young lady on her way to finishing school, journeys to New Reynes, the so-called corrupted City of Sin in search of her missing mother, Lourdes. Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer, who unfortunately is a street lord and con man. Levi is 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, seems to 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, ensuring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. In order to save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city an will need to play.
This book was an exciting and dark read! I really liked the dual perspective chapters from both Enne’s and Levi’s points of view. Levi Glaisyer is a wonderfully impulsive and compelling character, who is also black and bisexual, and the representation there was something that really added to the story. What made this story extremely thrilling was the danger and uncertainty surrounding card games which, later in the story, manifested itself in the Shadow Game. I also loved the setting of New Reynes and the writing in this book is also incredibly descriptive. I could clearly see every place that the main characters Enne and Levi traveled to. I especially liked how the Shadow House was described and even when I read the book, I could feel the sinister and suspenseful atmosphere of that particular place. I felt that the author, Amanda Foody, did an excellent job of making the entire novel fast-paced and unexpectedly suspenseful. I found myself engrossed and totally stuck in the world of the story.
However, what I certainly didn’t like was the fictional profanity that Foody came up with. Many of the characters say ‘muck’ or ‘mucking’, and while I appreciate how Amanda Foody took the liberty to invent profanity for her characters, I felt that it took away from the dialogue between the characters and it seemed really awkward and unnecessary. I also wished for more depth and background for Enne’s character. While she underwent a major change throughout the course of the book, from a timid, delicate young girl to a strong, capable, and self-assured young woman, I felt that I wanted more from her character in order to make her more 3 dimensional. Regardless, it was a well-executed book and it was utterly captivating.
Ace of Shades is certainly a dark, thrilling fantasy read that will keep you flipping the pages until the very end. This book is also the first in what is supposedly going to be a trilogy and I would recommend it to older young adult readers as there is mild alcohol/drug use in this book. I would also recommend it to those who have read Amanda Foody’s first book, Daughter of the Burning City and those who are fans of Stephanie Garber’s and Virginia Boecker’s books. I give this book an 8.5 out of 10 stars.