ACE OF SHADES
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Review by Stephanie Serrano
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, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam. 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.
I have to admit I was initially interested just from the title alone. It sounded very casino-esque and something I haven’t seen in many YA novels that I’ve read this past year. Once I read past the title I was hooked. From the thrilling search adventure to the mysterious shadow game, I couldn’t keep it down. Enne and Levi made a dysfunctional yet interesting duo through their adventure.
I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see enough character development. However, when characters were trying to show ‘growth,’ it confused me a bit, specially with Enne Salta. We are introduced to Enne as a proper lady in a city unknown. She comes off as a bit snobbish and naive with a name in her pocket and a mission to find her mother. After meeting Vianca, daughter to notorious Augustine family, she becomes a clever schemer and poisons Sedric, member of the opposing mafia family, the Torrens. I was really confused by this because the “transformation” didn’t feel real and felt as if the author wanted to show Enne as something other than a finishing school girl. I will say that the author did improve Enne throughout the story and she became a pretty decent character overall.
Levi Glaysier was the second main character in the book and somehow became my favorite. He is charismatic, clever and tactically smart. His schemes were grand and dangerous. He somehow managed to keep his cool around Enne. Levi developed throughout the story as a courageous, brave character with faults that gave him a more humane quality than initially introduced to.
The city of New Reynes was exactly what I pictured it to be. When you think of the world, you think scandalous, and mystery and the author did not disappoint. With the grand facade of casino games, mystical dancers, and people sensually spinning through the night. The world was a sight and probably my favorite part about the book. New Reynes was not the only world we were introduced to. We first caught a glimpse of the shadow world when Levi receives a shadow card. Once he picks it up, he is transported into a world so hauntingly real and beautifully scary that it kept me asking for more as the book continued. It was a world made of nightmares. Although both worlds weren’t a complete structured place, I enjoyed it because it allowed me to fill in the gaps with my own imagination.
This book was grand. There were some pretty interesting characters along the way. The dual point of view gave a perspective from the eyes of both main characters. There was suspense, adventure, a bit of romance all wrapped up in a mystery bow. It was exciting and thrilling, and overall I would recommend this book to anyone who seeks to jump into in a world full of magic and mischief.