Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Publication Date: April 23rd 2018
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Series: The Shadow Game #1
Blurb: 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 is the kind of book that creeps up on you and before you know it you’re in too deep to turn back and leave with your soul.
For the first 100 pages or so I wasn’t so sure Ace of Shades was going to be a book for me. It wasn’t necessarily bad per se, it just wasn’t particularly gripping. In saying that I am very very glad I kept reading because hoo boy was it good.
Amanda Foody has created a memorable world, full of excellent characters in Ace of Shades. The vibe of New Reynes was everything. I loved the old school Las Vegas with gangs and street lords feel. Add a dash of magic (called talents here) and I’m all for it.
Starting out I wasn’t particularly enamoured with Enne but her character growth was beyond excellent. When she starts to realise who she is and that she could be powerful in her own right, going from meek and naive to stone cold brilliance, I felt that in my soul. I am always down for women embracing their power and taking charge of their stories. Levi was a black, bi mess and I love him. A street lord with a heart of gold and a penchant for trouble. These two together are a recipe for trouble and I loved every second, I’m really looking forward to seeing them at work in King of Fools.
The slow beginning aside I ended up loving Ace of Shades. I recommend it if you’re looking for a book full of old school noir vibes, great characters, mystery and a plot that has you on the edge of your seat and breathless.
King of Fools has a later Australian release date which is high key torture but the excitement is real.
“She was the girl who’d come afraid to the city that could smell your fear. She’d faced the witch. She’d poisoned the wolf. She’d strolled into the land of death with her head held high and left it a lord. She was an impossible player in a fixed game, the only person not playing to win.”
Content warnings: gore, addiction, pedophilia mention (dude gets what he deserves – he dies)