Enne, naive and protected, arrives in New Reynes (The City of Sin) with nothing but her mother’s rules for life and a guide book to The City of Sin. She is there to find her mother who has been missing for some months.
Levi, lord of the Iron gang, is a gang leader with a charismatic air and a liking for both males and females. He is the best dealer in town and an expert conman. He is in way over his head with his latest scam and must pay back a dangerous casino boss or be drawn into The Shadow Game and his certain death. Levi’s charisma shines through on the page. The world building was expertly executed overpowering the two plot lines slightly in that I was much more invested in the town politics and the gang hierarchy than whether Enne actually found her mother or not. However I think the author’s aim was to have the reader invested in her characters and invested I was. Enne and Levi were strong and determined. They both had high morals that were expressed throughout the story. Foody’s choice of made-up curse words has been scorned and ridiculed by some reviewers but I thought it was a good move to keep the age appropriate level down. I know other Fantasy authors, in the past, have used their own forms of cussing for characters. Foody has touched on some delicate societal issues, skimming the surface of drug use, drink spiking, paedophilia and gambling, leaving plenty of room for discussion. There is some sexual tension as Enne and Levi fight their attraction. But Levi, ever the gentleman, takes Enne’s lead and gives her space and time. ”Her guidebook had been wrong about one thing: the most dangerous part of the City of Sin wasn’t the beckoning of the card tables or the threat of gangs. It was the allure of Levi Glaisyer’s roguish smile.” There are characters to root for and characters to hate and it looks like Vianca, Donna of the Augustines and casino owner, may be in for some trouble in the next book, if the epilogue is anything to go by.