Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Kindle ARC
Release Date: April 10th 2018 from Harlequin Teen
*I received this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review for this blog tour. All thoughts are my own. No quotes from the book will be used*
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.
ABOUT AMANDA FOODY
Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and character grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters of Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the college of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.
DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY is her first novel. Her second, ACE OF SHADES, will follow in April 2018.
There’s so many stops on this tour! There’s interviews, book styles, creative posts, reviews and also a giveaway for 5 copies of Ace of Shades. It is US and Canada only and you can find the link below. If you’ve missed the other stops, here’s the link for the full schedule:
I decided to do a mini review, since not only is this a very anticipated release, I don’t have a ton to say either on the book. I haven’t read this author’s debut novel but I’ve heard many good things. Let’s break down the pros and cons!
- Interesting Background: The history of this world you learn about was quite interesting. It kinda reminded me of the French Revolution and the way all the intrigue played in was cool. I’ve always been fascinated by rulers being overthrown by the people and secrets of supporting nobles that are deemed treacherous to support. Also the background of something called the Shadow Game was also a bit addictive to find out more from.
- Some Magic: There’s a few magical spell type things in here that I found cool. I kept reading to see if I would learn more about them/expanded more upon
- Concept of the Main Plot Thread: There’s something that’s talk about in the book and you get to it at the end. The concept of it and the threads about it are really cool and this was another part of the story that convinced me to keep going to see what else would be revealed.
- Many Aspects of the Writing: For me, I had a lot of problems with the writing style. The one thing that makes me mad is the “fake” swear words. Using “muck” and “shatz” in place of certain swear words just irritates me. In intense situations, seeing them say these ridiculous words on the page made everything feel silly and nonthreatening. It’s a trend that I hate seeing; either say the actual word or don’t at all. Other parts of the writing that bugged me was that: descriptions of things was excessive, cheesy dialogue, telling too much of what characters felt and thought that left nothing to the imagination and another thing I call the “Caraval” phrases. If you’ve read Caraval, you’ll remember that the author uses colors to describe things, feelings and other nonsense. That type of writing never works for me and while it’s not everywhere in this book, I cringed whenever I saw it.
- Pacing: For once in a long time, this book felt like it was way longer than it originally is. According to GR, this book is about 400 pages but it felt like 700 to me. I never felt a sense of things reaching a climax and then ending. Things just kept happening and happening and I never felt a natural progression of the story. You get the chapter headings as Day One, Day Two, etc. Some of the days where things happened a bit unrealistic; for example, Day One at the beginning of the book had way too much that would happen in one day. The Days felt jam packed to be convincing.
- Rushed Ending: While I liked the main plot thread that the characters have to deal with, it was sped up at the end! What is supposed to be a high stakes thing ends up being a really rushed situation that was dealt with WAY too easily. There wasn’t much consequence from that and you can predict that everything is a convenient escape. This is something in YA that I never enjoy and it’s getting old.
- Main Character: While I didn’t hate Enne, she isn’t memorable. While I admire her love for her mother and trying to find her, that kinda fades over time. She never thinks at all; you never get her going over everything in her head/trying to plan/trying to figure stuff out. Her recklessness was a bit unrealistic, since she comes from a different background. That nervousness and being hesitant when she first arrives quickly disappeared. There really wasn’t much conflict for her as she goes throughout her journey. She also accomplished a couple very dangerous things with no problem at all.
- Confusion: There were two major aspects to this story that never felt explained enough: the card games and the “talents” which is the base magic system. The actual talent names and the abilities never felt like they correlated to me and for a first book and not explain how this magic works, that’s not good. I also don’t play poker and casino type card games, so the author’s explanation still felt like you got it if you played it. It wasn’t plain enough for me to get it.
- Personal Preference: Overall, I just don’t think this is a book for me in general. I felt like the author revealed way too much about the characters that you couldn’t leave anything to your imagination, very weak explanation of the magic and just overall kinda cheesy. Also, the whole Las Vegas rip off fantasy world was a bit underwhelming; it could’ve easily been a urban fantasy or historical fantasy because the similarities of our world and this book just didn’t work. I will try her debut novel Daughter of the Burning City, but right now at this point, I don’t think I’ll read the next book in this series.
Rating: 1/2 stars
There are 5 copies of this book up for grabs! If you want a chance to win, click on the link here to enter! Sadly it is only US and Canada only.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Would you read the sequel?