Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)by Published 10 Apr 2018
|Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1).pdf|
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.
"Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)" Reviews
I was so glad to get this book in my Owlcrate! Click on link below picture to see the unboxing.
Well, I'm freaking bummed! I loved Daughter of the Burning City but this book didn't do it for me. Oh well, hopefully I will love her next book like I did her debut book!
This is one of the most interesting books I've read in my life. Its has the feel of Caraval and Six of Crows all mixed together with a hint of fantasy. AMAZING and maybe even going on my favorites list. I'm in shock I can't get over how great this book is. The whole concept is fascinating and kept my interest peaked at all times. The writing is amazing, the world is very well thought out and the City of Sin is one of the most exciting places I've read about. I like this more than Daughter of The Burning City.
The plot picked up very quickly and maintained a pretty good pace. The book has a vibe of mystery about it and has a very engaging plot. The mystery was a major aspect of the book but the fantasy wasn't overshadowed and played a major role in maintaining the intrigue surrounding the story. I love the characters and how each of their personalities played a role in revealing more of the story. The book is written in two perspectives and both play a very important role as one person is intimately familiar with the City of Sin while the other knows nothing. So watching the story play out in the eyes of two people with very different life experiences enhances everything they go through in the book.
Enne once aimed to be the perfect lady and dreamed of her entrance to society, sounds very snobbish doesn't she, but she's actually a really fierce girl with a great personality. Enne was raised in Bellamy which is full of the most snobbish people in the world and is never taken notice of as she is neither rich nor talented. The only person she took comfort in was her adoptive mother who is now missing and Enne sets out to the City of Sin to find out what happened to the one person who was her family. But turns out her mother is not who she thought she was and was leading another life entirely. And that may not be the only thing her mother lied to her about.
Levi is the Iron Lord. He makes his living leading the Irons, who are one of the three gangs in the City of Sin. He knows nearly everything there is to know about the city but his life is not as simple as it would seem. He was dragged into a scam that is most likely going to get him killed and in working his way to save his life he hasn't been able to benefit the gang he is supposed to lead.
Both Enne and Levi are going to work toward their goals but as they do so they both get dragged into something they may not be able to get out of.
The fantasy element of this book is that every person has 2 talents one blood talent and one split talent. The blood talent is stronger and the split talent is usually weaker. And the talents can be like singing, dancing, acrobatics, and some rare ones can be magical like being able to summon a fire or cast a
I wish I was in this world because about right nowthe only talents I seem to have are all related to books.
This is an absolutely amazing story and I urge you to try it. I give this book 5 stars and CAN'T WAIT for the next one.
"People do not play this game to win, my dear. They play this game not to lose."
So if Six of Crows gave birth to a baby, this would be that baby. I thought Ace of Shades was a great start to the series. I really liked these characters. Enne and Levi are no Kaz and Inej, but I still loved them and their distinct personalities, especially Enne's cookie eating fetish!
The world building was unique, and the author's writing drew me in right away. Plus, talk of game cards, acrobatics, and magic, I was then completely sold. The book's romance is more on the side, but I was annoyed every time the characters wanted to kiss and then was like well... Come on!
I also loved Levi's friend Jac. Can he please get some of his own chapters in the next book? It doesn't really end on a bad cliffhanger or anything but enough to want me to need the next book!!
“The City of Sin was a game, but not everyone was a player.”
Ace of Shades was for sure not what I was expecting. Some said it was like one of my favorite series of all time, Six of Crows, but I didn’t see that. A lot of people said it had a setting like the city I live in currently, Vegas, and I suppose I see it, but it is a stretch and for sure a very big fantastical interpretation and based on every stereotype you think of when you think of Vegas (which are mostly all untrue). I mean, maybe like Old Vegas, Fremont Street style, but for sure not my Las Vegas in 2018. Yet, if I honestly had to compare this story and its feel to anything, I’d compare it to Caraval, but I even feel like that’s a weak comparison. But regardless of what people compare this book too, I thought it was its own unique concept, and it was overall an enjoyable read.
This story starts out with a girl and her guidebook and a city filled with sin and mystery. We get to follow her during the span of ten days, while also seeing if this new town will ultimately make or break her. And Enne Salta was forced to come to New Reynes, because her adoptive mother went missing, but not before she was able to send a letter to Enne letting her know where to go and who to trust.
And the only name on the letter is Levi Glaisyer, a boy who has only been hardened by this unforgiving city. Also, Levi is black and bi and warmed my heart throughout the entire story. And, Enne’s missing mother, Lourdes, is gender-fluid, which was such an amazing addition! But Enne and Levi quickly realize that Lourdes was living a very dangerous secret life, and they are quickly trying to unravel the secrets. And even though, Levi is not the easiest person to like at first, we soon find out he is a leader of one of the three gangs in New Reynes!
➽ The Scarhands - the largest gang, ran by Reymond Kitamura, and specializes in counterfeits, forgeries, and weapon trading.
➽ The Doves - all the gang members dye their hair white to match their lord, Ivory, and they specialize in being assassins.
➽ The Irons - the smallest gang, lead by none other than Levi, and they specialize in gambling and opportunity, wherever they may find it.
“Do not reveal your emotions, especially your fear.
Never allow yourself to be lost.
Trust is a last resort.”
And with only Levi for Enne to trust, they embark on an adventure that ends up being even bigger than either of them expected. And they soon realize that there are much bigger problems in the City of Sin than these three gangs. There are two mafia-like families that truly rule this city: the Augustines and the Torrens. And Enne’s path soon crosses with a member from each of these houses.
“The worst hurt in the world was the kind you grew to accept.”
Also, in this world, all humans have a special ability or two that are inherited from their lineage. If you have one, you’re considered pure, but most people in this story have two. And there is a vast array of powers, in a varying scale of strengths! From specializing in dance, to being able to make the currency in this world, to be able to read people’s minds, there are so many different magical talents! And one of my favorite things about this book was learning what everyone inherited.
My problem was that I had a hard time connecting to the world and the characters right off the bat. But once I passed the half way point? I ended up really loving the end of this. It was so fast paced, and addicting, and I needed to know all the answers to all the mysteries. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I loved the ending so much, and I think it had the perfect setup for the next book.
I also want to mention that the main villain in this book is a grown man that has a fetish for young girls. We don’t get to see any of these terrible acts on the page, but there are many hints. But we get to see him sexually assault (unwanted touching) to a character we follow. He does some gross things, and insinuates a lot of even grosser things, so please use caution when reading this book, because I did not know going in. Trigger and content warnings for pedophilia, addiction, drug use, gambling, death, loss of a loved one, torture, and violence.
“Avarice, pride, and lust - these are all modest desires. What the city of sin craves is destruction.”
Overall, I really did think this was a fun and different story. I will for sure continue on with the series with King of Fools! Especially because I need more of Lola, who was my favorite character in this entire book. But I think this was a really great start to what I’m sure will be an even more amazing trilogy!
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♤♡ Amanda Foody’s Pinterest Board and playlist for Ace of Shades!
Buddy read with Courtney from Curly Book Owl, Julie from Pages and Pens, Jules at JA Ironside, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, Lourdes at Chapters We Love, & Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤
This was in the April 2018 OwlCrate box!
I LOOOOOOVED Ace of Shades so much. What an exhilarating, fantastical start to a fantasy series!
CW: violence, pedophilia (it’s totally condemned in the story)
I adore Amanda Foody’s writing style. It is so descriptive and easy to engage with. The entire time I felt as if I was traveling New Reynes alongside Enne and Levi. The world is extremely vivid and atmospheric. The history of the world was a tad difficult for me to retain at first because there’s quite a lot of info and it is ALL so important, but I noticed a distinct improvement in worldbuilding as compared to the author’s debut. I personally consider Amanda Foody to be one of the most talented YA authors to have been published in the last two years.
The magic system/talents of this world were FASCINATING to me. Each person is gifted with two talents based on their family names. The talents extend anywhere from classic elemental magic to protection to dancing/acrobatics and even COUNTING. The variety among talents was very unique in my opinion and unlike many other magic systems, but I also enjoyed seeing the social view of different families associated with the same talent. (For example, Enne is a Salta which is a dancing talent, but Salta’s are considering among the lower class of dancing families therefore she is treated differently.) I found this system to be immensely complex and intriguing and I cannot wait to see it develop more throughout the sequel.
The characters were so wonderful and loveable. Enne has fantastic character development, transforming from a girl of etiquette and virtue to a rebel and ultimate BADASS in the City of Sin. Levi strikes an interesting balance between sweet and protective while committing some immoral acts against those he cares for. I love that we have a black bisexual protagonist, but even more, I love that we have a male lead that does not shy away from being fragile and scared. Lordes is another interesting character, as Enne’s adoptive, genderfluid mother who has gone missing. I was impressed to see how much development she was given despite being a non-active character in the story. The villains are another fantastic addition to the story – Although this is a fantasy story, I adored how they were terrifying for more human/realistic traits instead of possessing a stronger magical power. All around the characters were well-developed, intriguing, and addictive. I love them all and cannot wait to see more.
The only real critique I have for Ace of Shades is that there were a few moments where I had to sort of just accept facts of the story as true without fully understanding the basis. I wouldn’t necessarily consider them “holes” in the plot, I just wished they were a little bit better explained. I noticed a similar issue with the authors debut, but I feel Ace of Shades is more finely executed compared to it’s predecessor, so there is still progress that deserves to be noted! That being said, these moments are not deal breakers for me when it comes to reading and the positives of the story HEAVILY outweigh my minor critiques.
Overall, Ace of Shades was amazing. Please read it. I am totally obsessed with this story. Now excuse me while I spend the next year of my life anxiously awaiting book two.
*Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*