Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody
Enne Salta has arrived to New Reynes with one purpose, find her missing adopted mother and return back home. Except in the City of Sin Enne has no connections except for one name, Levi Glaysier, and he is none other than the lord of one of the gangs of New Reynes. The more time Enne spends in the city, she seems no where closer to finding her mother and more closer to losing herself.
Okay. First of all, people need to stop comparing this book to other books (particularly Six of Crows). This sets expectations and just leads to so many people being disappointed. I went in knowing next to nothing about this book except that it deals in a city with casinos and some gang/mobsters, and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.
The story starts off running with Enne arriving in New Reynes and ultimately being completely overwhelmed. As she learns things about the city the more we learn. So there is never a moment of info dump. On top of that, as the story progresses we learn more about her personality, history, and ultimately about the magic system that surrounds her (and everyone else’s) life.
What I loved about this book was that there was sufficient amount of twists that I wasn’t expecting to keep it interesting, as well as the type of twists that you get the feeling that are coming to make you say, “I just knew it!” With that being said, I eagerly look forward to the next installment, because I just need to know what happens next!
Trigger warnings: pedophilia, violence, gambling, drinking, kidnapping.
The World Building
At first the magic system is a little confusing, and honestly I was flipping between an audiobook and a ebook copy so I was really hoping for a chart to keep it all on track in a physical copy. If there is one in the physical copy then yay! However, with that being said I thought it was an awesome magic/world system.
First there genial magical traits that come from your parents. Dependent on your family you will have a certain type of skill. This is also denoted by your family name. Example: Anne Sulta is from the Sulta family, who are dancers. Now the magic isn’t limited to just talent, but some magic-y stuff, like omertas where you can bind someone as a servant of sorts, or a skill with fire.
Another unique aspect also plays along with the history of the world. People like Enne’s mother, Lourdes, were monarchist sympathizers. Meaning they supported the Mizers, who used to rule the city. These people could apparently also create volts, their form of currency.
Now the comparison with Las Vegas could very much be because of a few things. 1. It’s called the City of Sin. 2. There are casinos. 3. Within the city there were different gangs that one might associate with classic mobster-y movies. I loved the idea of the gangs all specializing in something and their hierarchy system.
Enne Sulta comes off as a snobbish, hoity-toity type of girl when we first meet her. I love her dedication to her mother, and admire the lengths she goes to to try to find/save her. Over the course of a few days, she isn’t exactly turned into a bad person. But I think she realizes what her own limits are to her morality. Her character arc isn’t big, but she definitely learns to adapt to her surroundings.
Levi Glaysier is a little cinnamon roll, despite his being a gang lord. All he wants is for his gang to thrive, yet he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. While he may be lying or swindling for survival, he still has a kind heart, particularly for Enne. He’s definitely the type of guy you want on your team, because he is loyal to a fault and pays back what he owes.
Looking for diversity? Not only do we have POC, but we also have bi-sexual and a gender fluid characters. None of which seemed forced or felt like it was used to just have that lgbtqia+ flag on it.
The Dear Hunter – The Oracles on the Delphi Express