Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Summary from Goodreads:
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 a 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.
“Sometimes we’re not who we want to be because we are supposed to be something else.”
I kept passing this book up on NetGalley and now I wish I hadn’t. It was a great book that has a lot of reviews and ratings on Goodreads, but I haven’t seen it much on the blogs I follow. So, I highly recommend that you pick this book up and give it a read, you won’t be sorry.
The magical system in this book is quite unique. It isn’t really magic in the usual sense, but you inherit talents from your parents. One talent is your dominant one and includes things like being really good at dance or acrobatics without really trying, or knowing when people lie to you. Then your split talent is the lesser one and can be things like math or seeing people’s auras. Both of these talents make you who you are and influence what you can do with your life.
The world building outside of the magical system is also amazing. The city of New Reynes, also known as the City of Sin, is a fascinating place with incredible characters. The hierarchy of the many different gangs is hard to follow at times, but it plays an important role in the story. It was interesting to me that anyone could become a gang lord just by someone making an oath to you. Oaths are very powerful things in this world and are difficult to break.
There are also some great characters in this story. I really liked Enne (pronounced ‘N’). She is feisty and has a knack for witty banter. She is also naive about how New Reynes works, but she soon looses that. New Reynes makes you grow up fast or you don’t survive for long. She doesn’t trust Levi at first, but really has no other choice in the end. Many things happen to her because of her upbringing that maybe wouldn’t have happened to someone with more experience in the world, but she keeps going and does what needs to be done and ends up on top.
I really liked Levi from the moment we first meet him. He understands his town and his place in it. He can be ruthless when needed, but also tender and he really cares about the people under his care. He has an interesting talent in shaping glass, with his bare hands no less, fire can’t hurt him. But he has gotten himself in way over his head even before Enne shows up. The relationship that develops between them in also interesting. They are definitely attracted to each other, but they both hesitate to act on their feelings for various reasons. They also both misinterpret how each other feels which makes for some very awkward moments.
There are many other characters I could talk about in this book, both good and bad and many who are both. But I don’t want this review to get too long. I promise if you pick this book up you will find an entertaining group of characters and a plot that will keep you turning those pages long into the night.