BOOK CLUB: Ace of Shades

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Author: Amanda Foody
ISBN: 9781489256560
RRP: $19.99
Publisher: HQ Young Adult Australia
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Last year we read the debut by Amanda Foody and I loved it, I was a little sad to discover it was a stand-alone. I have been excited about Ace of Shades ever since discovering it’s impending release and it certainly did not disappoint, and it’s book one in a trilogy so YAY! But Boo because book 2 isn’t due until 2019.

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.

Enne Salta is a proper young lady, raised in Bellamy and attending a finishing school, she’s looking forward to finishing and making her debut into society. Except that her mother goes missing and Enne sets out to find her, the trail leading her deep into the City of Sin with her only lead being a name, Levi Glaisyer.

Bellamy raised, Enne has no idea what to expect from New Reynes and she arrives with a suitcase and a guidebook telling her where she should and shouldn’t venture, and what to expect. She finds her first spot of trouble within minutes of leaving the boat and that ends in her being chased by those in authority and losing her suitcase.

It isn’t long before Enne discovers there is a lot more to her mother than she ever could have imagined and the secrets she uncovers are definitely hazardous to her health.

Levi isn’t a gentleman, he’s Lord of one of the gangs and up to his eyeballs in trouble of his own. He offers to help Enne track down her mother only because she offers a chance for him to claw his way out of trouble. The two make a formidable team but find with every turn they are each finding more trouble.

There is a lot of chemistry and angst between our leads, the desire is palpable, but they are both more focused on what they need to do. Enne spends most of the book determined that she will find her mother and return to Bellamy so falling for a street lord is a very disastrous move. Levi and Enne avoid the kiss that could seal their fate and quell their desire, but by the end of the book, I just wanted them to find that happy place together – if only for a while. I live in hope that book two will see them get at least a little bit of romance.

The supporting characters were interesting and diverse. Enne arrives with no friends, no anything really. She knows no-one. Levi becomes a hesitant helper, which also brings his second in command into the equation; then there’s Lola. Enne and Lola are an interesting combination right from the start and I like the way that unfolded.

Foody’s world-building is focused on New Reynes, we don’t really know much about anywhere else but New Reynes is intricately described, in the places we go, but the rest of the city is a bit sketchy.

The inhabitants of said city, on the other hand, are quite interesting. They carry the complete names of their parentage and those names come with them a gift, or a talent. Some of the talents are decidedly magical, others physical, mental – all sorts really. You carry a gift from each of your parents, one dominant and one more recessive. The thing with that is that as soon as someone knows your name, they know your talent. Some people use both of their talent names, others only one and some don’t use either because this is one case where your name really is quite telling. It certainly argues for pseudonyms if you want any hint of anonymity.

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.

Amanda Foody can be contacted on Facebook and Twitter.

Ace of Shades is published by HQ Young Adult Australia and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Young Adult Australia 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Ace of Shades so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.


18 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Ace of Shades

  1. The storyline revolves around Enne Salter a well to do young lady that goes to a special finishing school for ladies but suddenly finds herself searching for her missing mother in New Reynes or otherwise known as the City of Sin.

    Enne meets Levi Glaisyer who is not the kind gentleman that she thought he was on first meeting. Levi is a street lord and a very big con man. He has offered to help Enne find her mum but at the same time, he will not let it affect his own journey of what he is after.

    I found the storyline quite fascinating reading as I was just really wanting for Enne to find her mum and this is where I found myself reading faster. There are times when adrenalin kicked in within me as Amanda Foody takes us into the dark and sinister casinos, illicit cabarets, sleazy streets and along the way, we then know that we are delving into the mafia connections.

    I started to actually warm to the character of Levi not knowing if he was going to be nasty or nice but I had to keep reading to know the outcome.

    Of course with mafia and gangs involved you know that there is going to be execution style of killings but this just makes you want to read further along.

    It will capture your interest and is certainly a page turner. There are other characters in the storyline that I really liked. The storyline takes you to unknown territories.

    I have read other books in the past with gangs and this novel is just as high as those. I really liked how we had a map at the start of the book to show the places of interest that are in the storyline.

    Even now as I have finished the book, I seem to be turning around when I hear a noise in the house.

    Thanks Beauty & Lace for this fascinating book and Harlequin for this great, very interesting read.

  2. “Ace of Shades” is a young adult novel – albeit for the older end of the spectrum – that will also be thoroughly enjoyed by many adults. It stands alone, although it also clearly sets up a sequel or series.

    Enne Salta has been raised to be the perfect young lady, and should be poorly equipped to survive New Reynes, the City of Sin. And yet, when she goes there to find her missing mother, she quickly finds talents that help her not only survive, but thrive.

    Her one lead to help her find her mother is Levi Glaisyer, who, like much of the City of Sin, defies her expectations. He’s a street lord and a con man, and should repulse Enne. Instead, she finds herself drawn to him, and her unexpected trust in him leads her deeper and deeper into murky waters.

    This is a really enjoyable novel. The world building is fantastic; readers will find themselves sinking into the City of Sin, and believing that this world exists. The characterisation is equally strong. Readers will engage with Enne and Levi and care about what happens to them. The supporting cast is also well drawn and believable.

    The plotting is also solid, although there were a few moments I found a touch predictable. These weren’t a big stumbling block, and I was engrossed in the action and in what would happen to the characters. By making Enne something of an innocent abroad, Foody has provided herself with a credible way to provide readers with a considerable amount of background information without clumsy explanations.

    I really enjoyed this novel. It hews to the conventions of both the speculative fiction and young adult genres, while also conveying a sense of freshness and liveliness. There’s a strong sense of closure in the novel, even while it clearly dangles a plot line or two designed to carry into another novel. You can read it as a stand alone, but it’s my bet that most readers will enthusiastically look out for the sequel.

  3. I really enjoyed this book. I also really hated it! I hated the fact that I could not read fast enough to find out what was going to happen. In fact I tried to read so fast that I ended up missing things and then had to go back and painfully reread the page to catch what I had missed (very frustrating but a testimony to how well this book was written).

    The character development was really good and I found myself flipping between not liking a character to then understanding them more, and well, not disliking them. The story was well detailed and brought to life the environment in a really vivid way which drew you further into the story with each passing page.

    For the genre it targets, young adult, this is a great book to read and as a ‘not so young adult’ I found this to be an enjoyable read which made you really think about how things really could be. I loved the fact that when you finished reading the book it felt like it was the end – no unanswered questions or dissatisfaction of something not quite complete although there is certainly scope for a sequel.

    Thank you for the great read!

  4. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Harlequin for the opportunity to review ‘Ace of Spades’ by Amanda Foody.
    It’s great to have such a wide and diverse range of books to read and review.
    ‘Ace of Shades’ is a young adult book.
    Enne Salta is on a quest to find her mother Lourdes Alfero a journalist and monarchist. Seventeen year old Enne is Lourdes adopted daughter, she is only five foot tall and very independent, despite the fact that she is from a privileged background and has been attending a private school.
    Lourdes has not returned as expected from New Reynes (City of Sin) so Enne packs up with her City of Sin guidebook on a search for her mother.
    When she finds herself in trouble with the law (whiteboots) circumstances lead her to become reliant and befrieded by Levi Glaisyer a street lord.
    The City of Sin is full of organised crime, the law of the streets, cruel mafia, casinos, nightlife, blended magical oaths and with a currency of volts.
    Here on her quest Enne discovers Lourdes has not been entirely truthful!

    Ace of Shades is not the style of book I would normally read and initially it took some getting into, however, it became quite exciting as I got into the story. There was plenty of action and adventue in this fantasy read.

  5. Ace Of Shades a good read all about the city of sin where anything could happen to you.

    Enne Salta and Levi Glaisyer are playing a game with their lives if they don’t win they with die.

  6. A Very interesting prose and concept was delivered within this story. The world building, and the magic intertwined within the story was a fresh delight while reading. The characters have spunk, danger and qualities of there own. Some not as much spunk – the made up swear words came across as tacky at times, but non the less an intriguing story.

    I really enjoyed some of the light hearted moments , but we are also delivered bad asses as well. The author does a great job of delivering us well fleshed out characters with depth, mystery and even intrigue. Bad assery included lol

    The diversity delivered was very refreshing and unknown in most ya books, It gave a little turn on the table so to speak and I think the author delivered this tastefully and with that romance some may like to see and read. Different is always enlightening you can like it or not. I really enjoyed this story, not my usual read but intriguing.

    A YA fantasy, Three gangs divided , Thieves, disreputable characters, simple yet not disappointing.

    A few trigger points that need mentioning – drugs, mild torture, violence; crime; pedophilia.

  7. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read Ace of Shade by Amanda Foody.
    Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But then Enne’s mother goes missing and she must leave her finishing school 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 unravelling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer could be the solution to all his problems.
    Enne and Levi’s search 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.
    I absolutely love the worlds and characters that that Amanda Foody has created with Ace of Shades. The City of Sin was so complex and interesting and I really enjoyed the politics within the story as well as the secrets and scheming and mystery.
    There is a budding romance that neither character wants to acknowledge and a wow ending! A great read for any young adult – or older adult readers for that matter.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the offer to review this book, Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody.

    The story revolves around seventeen year old Enne Salter who is searching for her mother Lourdes Alfero. Lourdes has gone missing in New Reynes which is also known as the City of Sin.

    Enne is far from her finishing school for ladies she was attending. While in New Reynes Enne meets Levi Glaisyer who says he will help her find her mother. Levi turns out to not be the person Enne first thought as he turns out to be a con man and street lord.

    The story takes us along shady streets, casinos, cabarets,mafia and nightlife. Although it is not normally the type of book I read I did enjoy it. It is aimed at young adults but older adults can enjoy it just as much.

  9. Thank you for selecting me to read Ace Of Shades written by Amanda Foody
    Enne Salta is the main character in this book, she is a young lady who has been bought up properly,
    Enne travels to New Reynes a very undesirable place,to look for her mother
    Enne meets a character called Levi Glaisyer who she believes she can trust ( no spoilers )
    The City of New Reynes is a seedy place, full of corruption, organised crime and violence
    Even though this is a young adults book I enjoyed reading

  10. Ace of shades

    When I first started reading Ace of Shades I struggled to come to grips with it. Even for a fantasy fan like myself it was a little ‘weird’. However it soon had me enthralled and thoroughly involved with the sleazy and criminal world that young Enne Salta finds herself a part of in her search for her adoptive mother who had gone missing. The longer she is there and the more clues that she finds with the help of street lord Levi Glaisyer, the more she realises that her mother has kept information from her. Information about her past, information that changes her perception of who she is and what she is capable of. She and young Levi are the main protaganists in this world and their stories and problems merge and diverge, overlapping more and more as the story plays out, ending in near death and the two fleeing from a dangerous and wealthy death club. Of course, there is a love interest between them that they both initially deny but gets the better of them by the end although it remains undeclared. I am really looking forward to reading the next book and I am only disappointed that it won’t be available soon.

  11. I loved it so much I went to bed an hour or two earlier each night because I couldn’t wait to get back into it. Ace of Shades is one of those YA books that is just as enjoyable for adults which is fantastic. Suspenseful, interesting, with likeable characters, Amanda Foody really draws you in to the imaginative world she has created. I’m off to Google whether there is a sequel now …

  12. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody was indeed a book with many shades of characters and a great storyline.

    Enne Salta was a young woman in search of her mother, who she always suspected had many secrets and different “shades” to her life. Enne’s search led her to the City of Sin where she met many people of whom Levi would be a focal character in her search.

    The story touches on a street and gang life involving the mafia and ultimately the deadliest of games where everyone will have to play.

    A slight hint of romance is enough to keep an undertow in the storyline that sees the characters rely on each other for different reason, each for their own gain.

    An interesting read which is a little different from my normal reading genre but had so many plots and twists it was an great read and incite into the darker side of a city and life and what people are prepared to do to save themselves.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book and looking forward to reading other books by Amanda Foody in the future.

  13. Ace of shades by Amanda Foody is written from two aspects Enne salta a young lady searching for her missing mother in New Reynes the city of sin. Her world of finishing school and dances dissolves as she discovers her family’s past and talents, while being sucked into a game of survival.
    The other perspective is from Levi a 17 year old black bisexual and gangloard of the Irons. He has a softheart and the chemistry between the two characters builds throughout the novel.
    The slums of the city are run by gangs, corruption and thieves with pockets of glitzy casinos and magic. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading the next installment.

  14. From the moment I started reading Ace of Shades by Amanda Moody I was caught up in the books face paced, adrenalin pumping action and could not put it down. I enjoyed the evolving characters and complex story lines centering around Enne Salta and Levi Glaisyer. I felt myself getting lost in the City of New Reyes with Enne and it’s glamourous Casinos and seedy underworld. I enjoyed the unknown concepts offered to us by Amanda Moody in the form of Volts, Orbs, Omertas and Blood Gazers. These were offered in a way that was easily understood as they were explained throughout the book to the naive Enne but they were intertwined with known concepts like black magic, sorcery, legends of new and old, trust, hierarchy, rules and Family Secrets. Thank you Beauty and Lace BookClub and HQ Young Adult for the opportunity to read and review this book. I will most certainly be keeping an eye out for a possible sequel.

  15. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for giving me the chance to read Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody.

    An interesting and fun read aimed more towards young adults. This book was action packed and had a bit of everything… danger, violence, drugs, fear, hope, romance and lots of twists and turns. I had no trouble imagining i was right there in the action and i had my jaw drop quite a few times throughout.

    The whole time i really struggled to put this book down in anticipation of what was going to happen next. Ended up reading it in a few short days by staying up till 2am. Took me by suprise really as this isn’t my usual genre but may have found a new calling after reading this one.

    I loved the characters of enne and levi and how differential they are to most. Also like to add that the map at the start was a great bonus!!! Love that the ending tied up all lose ends but i somewhat feel this could be a sequel so will be patiently waiting.

    Ps. Told my husband about it and he thinks it would make a “wicked movie”.

  16. Once I got past all the politics at the start of the book I really enjoyed it. At first I was thinking New Reynes was some dystopian town with casinos, gang lords, corrupt officials and an over zealous policing system then I realised it was much like any major city today only with a slight magical element, an urban fantasy.
    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 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.

    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.
    I’m eager to get my hands on book 2.

    Recommended for ages 12+

  17. This ya fantasy wasn’t anything like any other fantasy I’ve read before. Revolutions, politics, gangs, casinos, performers, assasination’s and a magic system all rolled into one.
    At times it did feel a bit too busy and as though the author could have made a few different books just with how much was packed into the storyline but somehow it completely worked?
    I found myself falling for the storyline and rooting for our main characters Enne and Levi (also props to the unique names!) and I finished this one quite quickly!
    Thanks for the opportunity to read this one I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up myself!

  18. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody, Enne Salta 17 was raised a lady but when her mother goes missing in the city in sin Enne leaves the comforts of home to voyage to the city of sin to find her mother with only a name Levi Glaisyer to help her they’re led on a battle field of highs and lows both hiding secrets from each other to gain what they both want. They’re playing a dangerous a game and possibly a deadly game for both of them, this book is suspenseful and thrilling and well worth reading.

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