Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades

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 wh...

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Title:Ace of Shades
Author:Amanda Foody
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Ace of Shades Reviews

  • Emma Giordano

    I LOOOOOOVED

    so much. What an exhilarating, fantastical start to a fantasy series!

    CW: violence, pedophilia (it’s totally condemned in the story)

    I adore Amanda Foody’s writing style. It is so descriptive and easy to engage with. The entire time I felt as if I was traveling New Reynes alongside Enne and Levi. The world is extremely vivid and atmospheric. The history of the world was a tad difficult for me to retain at first because there’s quite a lot of info and it is ALL so importa

    I LOOOOOOVED

    so much. What an exhilarating, fantastical start to a fantasy series!

    CW: violence, pedophilia (it’s totally condemned in the story)

    I adore Amanda Foody’s writing style. It is so descriptive and easy to engage with. The entire time I felt as if I was traveling New Reynes alongside Enne and Levi. The world is extremely vivid and atmospheric. The history of the world was a tad difficult for me to retain at first because there’s quite a lot of info and it is ALL so important, but I noticed a distinct improvement in worldbuilding as compared to the author’s debut. I personally consider Amanda Foody to be one of the most talented YA authors to have been published in the last two years.

    The magic system/talents of this world were FASCINATING to me. Each person is gifted with two talents based on their family names. The talents extend anywhere from classic elemental magic to protection to dancing/acrobatics and even COUNTING. The variety among talents was very unique in my opinion and unlike many other magic systems, but I also enjoyed seeing the social view of different families associated with the same talent. (For example, Enne is a Salta which is a dancing talent, but Salta’s are considering among the lower class of dancing families therefore she is treated differently.) I found this system to be immensely complex and intriguing and I cannot wait to see it develop more throughout the sequel.

    The characters were so wonderful and loveable. Enne has fantastic character development, transforming from a girl of etiquette and virtue to a rebel and ultimate BADASS in the City of Sin. Levi strikes an interesting balance between sweet and protective while committing some immoral acts against those he cares for. I love that we have a black bisexual protagonist, but even more, I love that we have a male lead that does not shy away from being fragile and scared. Lordes is another interesting character, as Enne’s adoptive, genderfluid mother who has gone missing. I was impressed to see how much development she was given despite being a non-active character in the story. The villains are another fantastic addition to the story – Although this is a fantasy story, I adored how they were terrifying for more human/realistic traits instead of possessing a stronger magical power. All around the characters were well-developed, intriguing, and addictive. I love them all and cannot wait to see more.

    The only real critique I have for

    is that there were a few moments where I had to sort of just accept facts of the story as true without fully understanding the basis. I wouldn’t necessarily consider them “holes” in the plot, I just wished they were a little bit better explained. I noticed a similar issue with the authors debut, but I feel

    is more finely executed compared to it’s predecessor, so there is still progress that deserves to be noted! That being said, these moments are not deal breakers for me when it comes to reading and the positives of the story HEAVILY outweigh my minor critiques.

    Overall,

    was amazing. Please read it. I am totally obsessed with this story. Now excuse me while I spend the next year of my life anxiously awaiting book two.

    *Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

  • softlykaz

    a fantasy Vegas setting. magic. murder. an orphan girl wandering into the City of Sin. a black bisexual gang boss who gets asked why his closet is full of girl dresses and men clothes that don’t even fit him, and casually goes, “yeah well the boys and girls I sleep with sometimes leave their clothes behind what’s up”

    you really do want to read this book.

    (on a side note, I genuinely don't understand why this book keeps getting compared to six of crows. the only slight similarity is that both bo

    a fantasy Vegas setting. magic. murder. an orphan girl wandering into the City of Sin. a black bisexual gang boss who gets asked why his closet is full of girl dresses and men clothes that don’t even fit him, and casually goes, “yeah well the boys and girls I sleep with sometimes leave their clothes behind what’s up”

    you really do want to read this book.

    (on a side note, I genuinely don't understand why this book keeps getting compared to six of crows. the only slight similarity is that both books feature street gangs. that's literally

    .)

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    3.5*

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    When this book’s synopsis first started circulating the YA book community, I was unspeakably excited for it. A book about dangerous gangs and gambling, with a bi young man of color as one of the protagonists? Sign me up! Unfortunately, this book suffered the same problem I have with the author’s debut,

    —it has a lot of cool ideas at play, but the execution leaves a little bit to be desired.

    When this book’s synopsis first started circulating the YA book community, I was unspeakably excited for it. A book about dangerous gangs and gambling, with a bi young man of color as one of the protagonists? Sign me up! Unfortunately, this book suffered the same problem I have with the author’s debut,

    —it has a lot of cool ideas at play, but the execution leaves a little bit to be desired.

    Amanda Foody proved with DOTBC that she’s capable of weaving some very aesthetic settings, whether it’s a twisted carnival city of sin, or a slum full of casinos hiding wicked gang lords and thieves. I love a good casino or gang slum setting, so that was one of the first things that piqued my interest about

    My biggest problem was that I couldn’t ever fully buy in to the characters. The story alternates perspectives, and first, we have Levi Glaisyer, lord of the Irons gang, orb-maker, and criminal genius. More than anything, I adored the diversity of his character being an unapologetically bisexual young black man, which is a role I have so rarely seen in YA fantasy. (Speaking of diversity, I’d also note here that Enne’s mother, Lourdes, is a gender-fluid character, which was a nice added bonus, despite not being a prominent piece of the story.)

    On the other hand, where similar YA fantasy characters would often seem vicious and hardened, Levi also stands apart in a bad way: he is a teddy bear to a fault. Despite the fact that we’re told he’s an infamous gang lord in “The City of Sin”, where he holds his own against multiple other gangs and crooks, none of Levi’s actions actually made me feel that he was capable, much less the ruthless criminal I was expecting. Levi is a really lovable and warm character—I just didn’t find him to be particularly three-dimensional.

    The other protagonist of the book is Enne Salta, who I unfortunately disliked from front cover to back, no matter how hard I tried to enjoy her chapters. She comes onto the scene incredibly uppity and snobbish, and never fully loses that trait, even though a week’s time in the story tries to transform her from a boarding school ballerina to a terrifying assassin. Again, much like with Levi’s progression, it all felt very insincere and forced to me.

    Another complaint I had about the story is minor, but applied to the entire cast of characters pretty evenly: the made-up swears in this book are nearly unbearable. I personally don’t usually mind when a book replaces curse words with made-up terms, as long as it’s used sparingly, but after a handful of chapters, I was sighing inwardly every time a character said “mucking” or “shatz”.

    On a happier note, I enjoyed quite a few aspects of the story. There are a lot of moving parts to the plot (almost

    many, to be fair), and quite a few of them felt very “new” and unique to me, such as the volt orbs for currency, or the inherited talents that each individual has (one from each parent, with one talent being stronger than the other). I was genuinely impressed by a lot of these details and would certainly be interested in learning more about the history of the world. I wish we had been given more back story to the world that New Reynes takes place in, but this is only the first book of the series, so hopefully, future installments will provide further explanation.

    All in all, I thought this book fell right in the middle of the scale—I enjoyed myself well enough to finish the story, but I don’t feel any pressing need to continue the series or learn what happens next. That said, I can easily see this story becoming a quick favorite for a lot of readers—especially anyone who enjoys casino settings, and does not mind slightly underdeveloped storytelling and world-building. While it wasn’t entirely my cup of tea, if the synopsis of

    interests you, I would certainly recommend picking it up and giving it a try.

    You can find this review and more on my

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  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)

    I will be doing a full spoiler-free review soon!

  • Emily May

    You know what else is mucking annoying? Made up curse words like mucking! Fictional profanity almost always has me laughing (and not in a good way) but it was especially bad here because “mucking” is almost “fucking” but also hilariously… not.

    But let's not get hung up on language. The bigger problem is that

    is

    's shallower, less interesting sibling. It wis

    You know what else is mucking annoying? Made up curse words like mucking! Fictional profanity almost always has me laughing (and not in a good way) but it was especially bad here because “mucking” is almost “fucking” but also hilariously… not.

    But let's not get hung up on language. The bigger problem is that

    is

    's shallower, less interesting sibling. It wishes it was

    . Levi Glaisyer wishes he was Kaz Brekker. But neither are.

    We are presented with a weird and confusing world. There's a lot of world-building infodumps about Mizers and monarchists, Talents of Aptitude, Talents of Mysteries, and the miscegenation laws that used to exist between those of different talents. A lot of information but, unfortunately, not a lot of depth.

    In this world, Enne Salta arrives in the City of Sin (alt-Vegas, basically) in search of her missing mother. Armed only with a letter in which her mother instructs her to find Levi Glaisyer, Enne must navigate this place of greed and gluttony, casinos and drugs, and uncover the truth about her mother's disappearance as well as her own past.

    When I read

    , I kinda forgot that the characters were supposed to be teenagers - I was able to suspend disbelief enough to shrug that detail off - but here it is much more glaring. Levi is not very convincing as a seventeen year old street lord and con man. It was laughable to imagine this guy ruling the streets of the City of Sin.

    And, in general,

    . Enne seems kind of stupid and naive to an astonishing degree - she walks knowingly into gang dens, purchases a guidebook that she barely reads (Levi has to inform her what’s in it), accidentally leaves her belongings behind, and a few chapters in and she is already eyeing up Levi:

    Cue the cheesy romance.

    Enne does experience some growth, but even that felt like nothing new. Enne’s story of sheltered-girl-turned-badass is one I'm certain I've read before. About a thousand times. Her initial prudishness is annoying, too.

    The third person, combined with the somewhat lackluster plot, made it really difficult to connect. The writing itself is nothing special and doesn't conjure much emotion, so I spent pretty much the whole novel feeling detached. I was just so mucking bored.

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  • Chelsea Humphrey

    2.5 STARS

    No one is more disappointed than I am that this rating is anything less than 5 STARS. I went in wholly expecting to adore this story; the cover is gorgeous and the comparisons to

    had me cautiously fangirling over this book from the moment I knew of it's existence. Throw in the fact that I absolutely loved

    last year and I was completely sold.

    I'm not here to deter anyone from picking this up, as I

    2.5 STARS

    No one is more disappointed than I am that this rating is anything less than 5 STARS. I went in wholly expecting to adore this story; the cover is gorgeous and the comparisons to

    had me cautiously fangirling over this book from the moment I knew of it's existence. Throw in the fact that I absolutely loved

    last year and I was completely sold.

    I'm not here to deter anyone from picking this up, as I think the main reason I didn't enjoy this was purely based on reading preferences and nothing actually harmful from the book itself.

    has some awesome representation and an intriguing premise, but I think maybe I was a little too old to appreciate this level of YA. In fact, even though some of the content was slightly unsettling, I think the younger side of YA may enjoy this more than those closer to the NA age. The language used felt on the immature side, and I just found myself constantly zoning out or dozing off while reading this.

    There, I said it. Again, I definitely think this is just a matter of opinion and I genuinely wish any and all readers more success with this book than I had.

  • Lola  Reviewer

    New Reynes is the City of Sin with lots of casinos and shady activity…

    So Las Vegas? ACE OF SHADES is not as original as it thinks it is.

  • Candace Robinson

    So if Six of Crows gave birth to a baby, this would be that baby. I thought Ace of Shades was a great start to the series. I really liked these characters. Enne and Levi are no Kaz and Inej, but I still loved them and their distinct personalities, especially Enne's cookie eating fetish!

    The world building was unique, and the author's writing drew me in right away. Plus, talk of game cards, acrobatics, and magic, I was then completely sold. The book's romance is more on the side, but I was annoyed

    So if Six of Crows gave birth to a baby, this would be that baby. I thought Ace of Shades was a great start to the series. I really liked these characters. Enne and Levi are no Kaz and Inej, but I still loved them and their distinct personalities, especially Enne's cookie eating fetish!

    The world building was unique, and the author's writing drew me in right away. Plus, talk of game cards, acrobatics, and magic, I was then completely sold. The book's romance is more on the side, but I was annoyed every time the characters wanted to kiss and then was like well... Come on!

    I also loved Levi's friend Jac. Can he please get some of his own chapters in the next book? It doesn't really end on a bad cliffhanger or anything but enough to want me to need the next book!!

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