Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Alright, as you can probably tell by the fact that I gave it two stars, Ace of Shades wasn’t really for me. There are lots of people that love this book, and I give kudos to Amanda Foody for even publishing a book! As always, there were good and bad aspects, and the following is just my opinion.
Also, minor spoilers ahead because I need to vent about some things.
“If I’m not home in two months, I’m dead.”
First, this book is about Enne (pronounced like the letter “N”). Her adoptive mother disappears on her, and she decides to try and find her. She ends up in New Reynes which is controlled by gangs, but also by the Families, and maybe also by the councillors – I am not entirely sure (and yes, I read the whole book).
Enne went to boarding school. She is very focused on becoming a lady, and making her debut into society when she graduates. She is “prim and proper”, and well, like a “lady”. So obviously, on her first day in New Reynes, she follows a random stranger into a dark alley because he says he can help her?! Cool. Anyways, she ends up meeting Levi, the Iron Lord, and he goes about helping her find her mother, sort of.
“All you know are stories… And not all stories are true.”
I was looking forward to learning more about the gangs and the magic/talents that different people have. What I got though was that the gangs are full of little kids or old men, and the magic is based on your family names BUT if your family lies to you about your name then you might spend your whole life working on the wrong talent…
So Enne and Levi have this adventure that spans about ten days. She is trying to find her mother. He is helping her to find her mother while also lying to everyone about stealing money from his gang, while they basically starve no less, to pay off a debt that he has been forced to deal with.
“He looked like a warning from her guidebook.”
I didn’t like Enne, and I didn’t like Levi. Enne’s character was so random at times, I had to re-read parts to make sure it was about the same person. Like I mentioned above, she has spent her whole life preparing to become a lady, but all of a sudden she’s poisoning gang members? And Levi, who is supposed to be a gang lord, acts like a child all the time. We are TOLD that he is smart and all-that, but I can’t recall him doing anything to SHOW that.
The world they were in has promise. New Reynes is the City of Sin, and I imagined a glitzy Las Vegas filled with old school New York style gangsters. There were pieces I liked and didn’t like, but overall the world sounded interesting. It could have been fleshed out a little more, but not in info dumps (which is what the first part of the book is).
Okay. What the muck is up with fake curse words that look and sound like real curse words, but aren’t? In order to avoid real cursing, the author created “muck” and “shatz”. I hated these.
“Her guidebook had been right about the City of Sin. It was morally decrepit.”
Overall, Ace of Shades missed the mark for me. The two stars were because 1) despite being slightly let down by it, I still really liked the idea of people having specific talents based on their family names; it was an interesting concept, and I would have loved to see it be explored more; and 2) Levi is bisexual and open about it, and not once is it questioned in this book!
It was just announced that the sequel to this book will be called King of Fools. I’m not sure if I will read it or not, but that is a great title!
Trigger warnings: pedophilia, addiction, violence.