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. 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 …

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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”.

  6. 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+

  7. 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!

  8. 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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