Enne is a proper girl. She attends finishing school and has an unblemished reputation. This changes when her mother disappears. Enne starts a search that leads her to New Reynes, the City of Sin. Enne's values don't mean anything here and she has to adapt quickly. Survival means more in the city than a flawless reputation. Her mother left one lead, the name Levi. When Enne finds this person he isn't what she expected. Levi is a scheming street lord, a gambler. Levi also has a problem, he needs to pay off a huge debt and he sees Enne as a way to gather funds. Has Levi made the right decision to look after Enne?
Enne and Levi start looking for Enne's mother. Their search leads them to dangerous places where nothing is as it seems. Enne has to leave her innocence behind. She's being introduced into the world of dark secrets, shadowy casinos and risky jobs that require every single skill she possesses. Her mother was hiding a lot from Enne and slowly she uncovers the truth. What will she do with her new knowledge and what will happen when she and Levi end up as pawns in the most dangerous game that has ever been played in the City of Sin?
Ace of Shades is one amazing adrenaline rush. I absolutely loved this magical story. Enne has been raised with clear rules and ethics. She was well protected and never encountered anything sinister and sinful. Being in New Reynes is a steep learning curve. Enne has to adapt quickly to make it, she needs to be tough and resilient to stay alive and she has to find allies among strangers. Because of her mother she puts her faith in Levi, but working together has a price and Enne has no choice but to pay. This makes interesting reading. From the moment she sets foot in the city her life becomes a gripping whirlwind that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Amanda Foody's world building is fantastic. Her detailed descriptions of the City of Sin are making her setting come to life in a terrific energetic way. I was dazzled and amazed by New Reynes, something I really enjoyed. Ace of Shades is filled with surprising twists and turns and there's plenty of mesmerizing suspense. The story is enchanting and unusual, a combination that works very well. I liked every creative idea Amanda Foody presents. I highly recommend Ace of Shades, it's a marvelous dynamic adventure.
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.
Ace of Shades is set in New Reynes, the City of Sin; a den of depravity like no other. Casino families hold lots of power and the streets are run by gangs. There are secrets in every shadow and it is said that the city will corrupt you, no-one leaves unchanged.
I really enjoyed this story, the pacing was pretty steady and there was always something going on. The characters were intriguing and well drawn, I was able to get a handle on them and grew quite attached. I found New Reynes to be very Las Vegas, with a magical bent; this distracted me a little in the beginning but before long I was totally entranced by the characters and the messes they kept getting themselves in and it didn’t register as much.
Ace of Shades is told in alternate points of view by Enne and Levi, though not always chapter for chapter. It is action packed with more than it’s fair share of the seedier side of life. Magic, massacres, monarchists and a plot to take over the city with a massive side order of gambling when games of chance can be deadly.
Intriguing, dangerous, magical, morbid and magnificent. I can not wait for King of Fool’s to see what the City of Sin has in store for this ragtag gang of unlikely friends.
I would definitely recommend this to readers of YA fantasy. You don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy the journey these young people take to discover just what they’re capable of.
My complete review can be read at: Beauty and Lace