Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 10, 2018 (expected)
Series: The Shadow Game, #1
Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 384
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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 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 was initially drawn to Ace of Shades because of that amazing cover, combined with the fact that the blurb really intrigued me. So I was super excited to be approved for an advance copy through NetGalley! In the end, this wound up being just okay for me.
Starting out a bit on the slow side, it took me a while to get into Ace of Shades as I found it easy to put down in favor of reading or doing something else. With characters that were somewhat lackluster and inner monologues that became repetitive, this is clearly more of a plot driven story. It just took a while to really get going and it did improve as it progressed, with the last quarter leaving the best impression.
More than anything, I really enjoyed all of the unique concepts Foody introduced throughout this book. From a magic system based on talents and cards that had magical properties once touched to the idea of games within games and a world that is a fantastical version of Las Vegas, there were a lot of ideas within these pages that were truly fascinating. Unfortunately, there were too many gaps that didn’t quite pull all of these ideas together in a cohesive way in my mind.
I’m giving this one a 2.5 rounded up to a 3 for all of its interesting ideas. I really wanted to like Ace of Shades more but I suppose you can’t win them all. With all the books out there to be read, I’m not sure if I’ll pick up a copy of the sequel when it comes out.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.