Friday, April 23, 2021

Book Review: "Ace of Shades" by Amanda Foody

Title: Ace of Shades
Author: Amanda Foody
Series: "The Shadow Game" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 411 pages
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

*Content Warnings for Ace of Shades: violence, death/murder, addiction and drug use, torture, gambling, pedophilia (it is completely condemned in the novel but there are mentions of it occurring off-page)*

Do you ever have those books that you know you'll enjoy but put off for ages? Ace of Shades is one of those books for me. I've been following the author since her debut novel, Daughter of the Burning City, released and was interested in Ace of Shades from the beginning. Now, three years later the trilogy is complete and I have just now finally started it. 

Ace of Shades was somehow completely unexpected and exactly what I needed and wanted. I didn't really know what I was expecting going into it, but it was not what we got. I loved every single minute of this book and it definitely will on my top favorite books list for this year. 

For me, what makes this book special is the characters. Our main characters, Enne and Levi, are very far from perfect. They make mistakes, are morally gray, and go through a lot of trials throughout this book. I loved both of their developments but I think I loved Enne's even more. She's very much a prim and proper lady who gets thrown into a world of debauchery and sin. It was wonderful to watch her navigate it all.

We also have an eclectic cast of side characters that really added an extra layer of depth to the story that I very much enjoyed. I won't get too much into them, either, but just know I loved how unique and well-written each one was! 

The magic system in this book is another reason why this book stands out to me so much. Magic is currency and everyone has different talents in this story. Magic is also passed down through family and some is more rare than others. I won't dive too deep in because you really do have to read the book to understand fully but I will say that it's one of the most intriguing magic systems I've ever read about.

When it comes to the world and setting, I think Amanda Foody knocked it out of the park. There's gang politics, a corrupt city, a terrifying game, and a sinful feel. In fact, the city is literally nicknamed the City of Sin. I was getting magical Las Vegas vibes if I'm being honest. I'm really intrigued to learn more in later books about how the city came to be the way it is.

Lastly, the story itself was fascinating. There were humorous moments but there was also a lot of tension, action, etc. I loved how we had a bunch of small storylines along the main plot line as well. It was also a lot darker than I had originally anticipated, which I'm very glad for. This book is definitely more upper-YA in my opinion, so make sure to take note of the trigger warnings I added at the top.

Overall, I just really loved this book. I'll also admit that I've already finished book two and am hopefully starting book three soon. I'll refrain from discussing either of those, though, since I will have a full review for the second book coming within the next few weeks. However, I will say that I am so intrigued and nervous for the final book. Amanda Foody truly knows how to write tension and high stakes in her stories.

Thanks for reading!

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