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What: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody

Who: HQ Young Adult

When: April 23rd 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harlequin Teen Australia for review.

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.

First things first: I thoroughly enjoyed Ace of Shades. And here are five reasons why:

1) Levi, one of the two POV MCs, is a bisexual black boy

CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING? I didn’t know about this until just before is started reading Ace of Shades, and now I will be shouting it from the rooftops. Bi boys are so rare in any genre of YA, and to be honest, the same can be said for black boys. As for bi black boys? I don’t think I’ve ever read about one before now, which is truly saddening. (I hope one day I can read an #ownvoices story!)

Levi Glaisyer is just darn special. I don’t even know where to start? He cares a lot, but pretends he doesn’t. He’s out and proud about his sexuality. He’s trying to do something good by doing something bad. He wants to be better and provide for those around him. Levi was the perfect blend between total bad boy and soft boy, and I adored him.

2) Enne, the other POV MC, was… different

I say different because at the start of Ace of Shades I didn’t like Enne at all. I thought she was pompous, bordering on ridiculous. But throughout the course of the book Enne grows so much as character. She gains strength she didn’t know she had, she faces things she never thought she’d face. Girl got fierce, and I absolutely loved her character arc in Ace of Shades. She started off as a sheltered schoolgirl, and even when things scared her she was willing to do whatever it took to find her mother again. Kudos.

3) The romance was non-existent and also slow burn

I would not say that the romance in Ace of Shades took over any part of the plot. It was hardly there at all, really, and I loved this. There’s a bit of pining from both sides, but neither of them believe that the other likes them and this is painful??? Why are these people never honest with each other? But I also kind of liked that the romance took a backseat in Ace of Shades because this book was not about finding the love of your life. It was about finding your mother, your family, your money. So even though I was reading this and going just kiss already, I also really liked how the romance was handled.

4) The City of Sin was great

I really liked the world building in Ace of Shades. It was incredibly immersive, and I think part of that is because we were able to see the city through the eyes of someone who had never been there before, and the eyes of someone who had been living there for quite some time.

I don’t want to say too much about the world building because I think it’s best discovered alongside Enne, but I will say that it was unique and creepy and very dark. And I liked it a lot. *sunglasses emoji*

5) I’m excited for the sequels *gasp*

I am not inclined towards embarking on new series endeavours. I have too many series that I need to complete to make starting a new one anything but a little painful. But I honestly cannot wait to see where the story of Ace of Shades goes next. I can’t wait to get back to Levi and Enne, and the City of Sin. Colour me intrigued.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

death of adopted mother, reference to murder of mother, regicide, reference to multiple murders, torture, murder of friend (fire), physical assault, poisoning, multiple graphic murders, physical fights (graphic + burns), paedophilic themes, reference to bullying, forced drug use (in drink)

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Posted on: April 17, 2018 • By: Chiara

12 Responses to Five Reasons Why I Enjoyed Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

  1. Ooh yay for bi boys! That’s awesome. I’m glad the other MC grew on you too. I am curious about this one. I haven’t read the author’s debut, but I feel like I should. That’s awesome that you’re excited about the sequel – always a good sign. :)

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      Yes! I’m so excited to have this rep in a book :D Especially one that’s so interesting. This book is quite different to the author’s debut, but I liked this one better :D I think the world and characters were more to my liking. I hope you enjoy whichever one you read first, Lauren!

  2. Swetlana says:

    This was such a nice review and I 100% agree with you on Levi. He was this 17 year old gang lord who was himself still somewhat of a kid but already responsible for so many people and he really, really did his best to provide and take care of his kids. I feel like he is in for quite the ride in the next two books and I don’t think I’m ready for any of it.

    I actually quite enjoyed Enne pretty much from the get-go because she was who she was but like you, I LOVED her arc throughout the book! Seeing her discover more of her strength and walking into situations I would have run from made someone I was constantly rooting for! And then we have that last day and everything that happened there. New Reynes better watch out for Enne!

    Hahahaha, but aren’t those the best romances? The ones were you understand that they don’t need to take center stage because that’s just NOT what the book is about but at the same time you just keep yelling at these people to just KISS. I am so excited to see where Amanda takes this in the second book!

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, Levi was such an incredible character. He was trying so hard, and I loved him so much for that. I kind of just wanted to jump inside the book and help him out because he was struggling so much. I really hope that he gets a happy ending when the series finishes *crosses fingers*

      I’m glad you liked Enne, as well! I think it’s one of the best character growth arcs I’ve read in a while. It never felt fake or forced, it was such a natural progression because of what her life was becoming, and I loved it. I feel like Enne is going to get more badass with time and I can’t wait :D

      Right! You get me, haha. I liked that the romance wasn’t the focus, and I really appreciated the relationship between Levi and Enne that we got on the page. I hope that they realise what they mean to each other in the second book!

  3. Okay so I’m getting my copy of this SO SOON and I’m 5000% more excited now that I know you like it!! (I can’t help myself I trust your recs so much.😂) Afjsklad I just love thieving books and the author is SO lovely and I’ve gotten to chat with her a bit about panicked-new-author-stuff so that’s nice.😂And also so excited for the characters?! Expectations are so high right now. 😍

    • Chiara says:

      Yesssss. (Ah, that makes me so super happy!! I hope it lived up to my rec, Cait!) I really enjoy following her on Twitter, so it’s awesome that you’ve gotten to know her a bit more! The characters are pretty much the best part of this novel :D

  4. Ohhh I was already excited for this one, but you made me even more excited! I had NO IDEA that one of the two POV MCs is a black bi boy??? THAT IS SO EXCITING. Also romance not taking up too much of the plot? And being a slow burn with mutual pining?? Yes please

    • Chiara says:

      YAAAY! I’m glad to have let you know then :D I was instantly more excited after learning that, as well. And he’s also such a good character so double bonus! The romance is So Good and I am super looking forward to book two to see where it goes. I hope you enjoy this one if you read it, Michelle!

  5. Kelly says:

    I said the same to a blogger the other day too Chiara, is this the first black bisexual boy character in young adult? I think there was Latinx bisexual character in one of Adam Silvera’s books but that was breakthrough character for me as well. So sorely lacking. I LOVED Levi, more so than Enne who I also enjoyed. Gosh, I cannot wait for book two! Beautiful review darling, so thrilled you loved it <3 <3

    • Chiara says:

      I think it is, but I don’t want to make it a concrete statement because even though i have read a lot of queer YA I haven’t read it all! So there could be another bi black boy out there under the radar. But even so, it was so exciting to see him on the page! I really hope we still get Levis POV in the next book because I would sorely miss him if the chapters swapped to someone else. Thank you, lovely <3 I'm glad you enjoyed it, as well!

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