Review: One Fell Sweep

32938039

One Fell Sweep by: Ilona Andrews

My Rating: 4 Stars

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!!

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning: Mention of war, death, and mention of annihilating a species.

Despite being a tad disappointed in Sweep in Peace I was still looking forward to reading One Fell Sweep. I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!

It’s been a few days since Sean and Dina went to the movies together. Gertrude Hunt has become quite. Sean and Dina are attempting to form a relationship. At night Dina senses a presence. It turns out to be Sean. Sean explains that he had a really bad feeling and came to the inn. A wormhole appears in the sky and a supernatural being emerges. Sean and Dina quickly deal with the situation.

The supernatural being is a Ku who has come to deliver a message to Dina. The message turns out to be from Dina’s sister Maud who is in trouble. Dina requests Arland to take her to Maud (who is on a different planet). All three then go to retrieve Maud and her daughter Helen. This journey will be the last of Dina’s problems.

I’m so happy that I enjoyed One Fell Sweep! The book is narrated in first person following Dina. There are some more pictures. And new characters. As well as an expansion on the world.

One Fell Sweep was more action packed! I enjoyed the additional new characters. Maud and Helen were awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship Maud shared with Dina. It gave readers an insight to Dina’s life before the book series. Helen was so cute! I really enjoyed reading about her interactions with all the characters.

The Hiru and Draziri situation was well done! The Draziri believe that if they kill one Hiru then they are guaranteed a place in heaven. It is not stated in any records why it is that the Draziri God’s preach this. A Hiru comes to Dina requesting help. The Hiru states that they have found a solution through the Archivarian. A sentient being of intelligence. In order to accomplish this the Hiru says that they will need to gather all the Archivarius. Once all the parts are gathered then they’re home free. In return Dina will get to ask the Archivarian a question. 

Dina wants to help but can’t really put her guests in jeopardy. The Draziri are known to not obey rules. And will likely reveal themselves to her neighbors. Which goes against the Earth treaty. However she ends up accepting as the Draziri launch an attack on her inn for housing the Hiru. Dina decides to ask the Archivarian about her parents.

Maud’s character was very intelligent. Maud’s ex-husband was a vampire who pulled a lot of stupid actions. This resulted in them being sent to Kahari an almost dead planet. Maud’s husband was murdered for his actions, leaving her to fend for Helen. Her insight into politics was awesome to read about! Also she was such a great parent!

The romance was really good! Maud and Arland had some of the best interactions. Arland falls hard for Maud. He’s also really great to Helen. Sean and Dina were adorable in this installment! I actually felt something for them. I didn’t feel much in the second installment. Sean’s parents also come in. They were actually really nice to Dina. Which I really appreciated.

George should truly get a medal for all his scheming. It’s revealed that George is the one that gave Maud the Ku and sent the Hiru to Dina. It’s really amazing how much he can accomplish in the name of good. Officer Marias gets involved in the supernatural war. He takes the information about the supernatural pretty well and proves to be helpful towards their cause. The Assembly and Ad-Hal is expanded upon. I really like how in every book that is some world-building. 

I really appreciated all the quirks in this installment. Gertrude Hunt, Olasard (Dina’s cat named by Helen), Caldenia, Beast, and Orro. Each off these characters made such a great addition to this installment. I especially loved Gertrude Hunt’s role. 

I’m just going to clarify something: One Fell Sweep is not a final book. It ends on a cliffhanger. Dina doesn’t find her parents (she does get some information), the Assembly summon Dina but you don’t get to meet them, and there is something that is hunting the Ad-Hal’s.

Considering how popular these authors are, I don’t think they mean to end the series on a cliffhanger. This series is self-published and over the past two years they’ve been really busy with other releases. There will likely be more books. It’ll just take some time. Thus far (on their website) they are working on a short story with Arland and Maud. I do still hope that it comes soon though.

Overall I really enjoyed One Fell Sweep! I highly recommend this series.       

Advertisements

Review: Sweep in Peace

19504964

Sweep in Peace by: Ilona Andrews

My Rating: 3 Stars

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn…and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Death and mention of war.

After finishing Clean Sweep I was excited awaiting my turn in my library. Sweep in Peace had a lot of expectations to meet. I am happy to report that I enjoyed it! 

Sweep in Peace begins with a prologue from a new characters point of view. Said character has just murdered somebody due to personal reason. The unknown character is confronted by Klaus (Dina’s brother) and offered a job. The character’s name is revealed to be George. George accepts Klaus’s job offer.

Life has become boring for Dina. There’s no Sean or Arland, and just nothing to do. Caldenia mentions as much and suggests Dina should do some better advertising. Much to Dina’s surprise an Artibrator whose name is George asks for her help. George needs an inn to host a peace summit. Dina is a bit reluctant at first as it will be quite difficult to maintain all the parties of the guests arriving. However she agrees once she sees the amount of money she’ll earn. Dina does not anticipate just how taxing this peace summit or George can be.

I enjoyed reading Sweep in Peace! The story follows Dina’s point of view in first person. There are pictures throughout the book. The book opens with a prologue in third person following George. New characters are introduced.

As the new characters were introduced the world building was expanded upon. I really enjoyed reading about the situation on Nexus and how it affected the vampires, the Hope-Crushing-Horde, and the Merchant Clan. I was surprisingly interested in all the politics. I usually don’t care for politics. So this was a nice change.

There was an emphasis on understanding everyone’s side in the story and realizing that everyone has emotions. Which I appreciated and thought it was really important. Considering the different sides of the war.

As usual Dina was fantastic! She really does get better every time I read about her. Of course Caldenia played a vital part in the story. I’m also really surprised that Caldenia is treated very well for a criminal. All the new characters respect her and when speaking refer to her title. Orro and Dina’s cat were my favourite new additions!

Orro is a former chef that Dina hires to cook for the peace summit. The descriptions of the food he made was fantastic! It can really get you hungry. Orro himself is quite the character. Very dramatic but truly cares for people and what others think off him. The cat was a bit of surprise to Dina as well. I enjoyed reading about their interactions.

Sean does come in but much later on. And there was a plot twist regarding his appearance. He goes through quite a few changes in this book. It did hurt but it also made for good character development.

George, Jack, Gaston, and Sophie are some of the new characters. They play a major role in the book. George was extremely intelligent and manipulated a lot of the situations that occur. His role as an artibrator allowed him to get away with most things. Of course it came to a point where Dina stopped taking his nonsense. The Sci-Fi elements are expanded upon as George is from another Earth.

I did have some issues. I thought that because Klaus was introduced in the prologue that he would make an appearance. That didn’t happen. It almost felt like the prologue was written for the purpose of enticing the reader, but the information was never expanded upon. The mind games that all the guests (mostly George) partake in became very frustrating. When it all came together it made sense, but that didn’t really help.

Overall I enjoyed Sweep in Peace! I highly recommend the series.     

Review: Hero at the Fall

35406534

Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton

My Rating: 3 Stars

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: War and death. The LGTBQ characters have been killed off.

Buddy read with Tova! Click on her name to keep an eye out for her review. Part of this book was read during Kimi’s (GR friend) 24 hour read-a-thon. Tova and I also buddy read Traitor to the Throne. Considering how much I enjoyed that one, naturally I finished the sequel. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Amani is woken up from her nightmares and told to follow Sara. The two make their way up to the roof and notice a sort of glow. Amani realizes that it’s fire and likely has something to do with Leyla’s latest invention. The rebels are a mess. Amani has taken leadership and is struggling. Amani and the rebellion need to come up with a plan to defeat the Sultan.

I’m really happy that Hero at the Fall was a solid conclusion to the series! Like the previous installments, Hero at the Fall is narrated in first person following Amani’s point of view, and third person omniscient. There are chapter numbers and some chapters have titles. And lastly there is a character list and a map.

I may as well mention this first: some of the characters from the previous installments do die. I’m not going to mention which one’s die. That’s way too spoilerly even for me. Looking back on it now I probably should have predicated those deaths. Although I am still sad. I genuinely like all the characters in this series.

More information is revealed about the Dijinn’s. Some of the tales come into question, when Amani meets another dijinn. There was a huge focus on stories, choices, and the truth vs. what you’re told. Morally grey characters as well. As Amani herself is a questionable character. I really liked how well the author handled all these points!

I loved Amani’s character development! In the beginning Amani is in charge of the rebellion. She’s trying to make do but realizing that she isn’t fit to run a rebellion. Amani constantly berates herself, as she feels that she’s not well versed enough to be making such decisions. Amani also meets her aunt Farrah as well as Noorsham. Throughout her interactions with them, Amani comes to realize that she does matter. It was really beautiful to read about!

As per usual Amani’s relationship with Shazad, and the twins was fantastic! Her relationship with Hala even improved. Though I was anxiously waiting for some interactions with Ahmed. After everything that happened in the Harem I was wondering what would happen between the two of them. Ahmed actually took Amani seriously when she gave him suggestions. Their interactions were sweet and very important for the events in the last chapter.

When Amani meets her aunt again she is very nervous. To top it off Amani had to tell her aunt that Shira is dead. Through some rough patches, they sort of come to an understanding. In a sense the two move. This is largely due to Amani telling her aunt about Shira’s son. Something is better than nothing though. Amani and Tamid also make up. While they aren’t really friends anymore, they still care for each other and continue to do so.

Noorsham now rules over Dustwalk almost like a God. The people see him as their savior. Amani and the rebellion are taken to Noorsham first. Noorsham uses this magical object to see into their intentions, in order to deem them worthy or not. I’d say as I character Noosham definitely improved. His and Amani’s interactions really did read like a sibling relationship. I’m glad that he was introduced again and that the author did a good job with Noorsham’s character!

The rebellion getting an army was so much fun to read about! Amani tries to make some alliances in Ahmed’s place. Shazad’s father spread the word of Ahmed’s return and several people decide to join.

Jin’s backstory is expanded upon more. There is a chapter in his point of view. Wherein it starts with a flashback and ends with the present. I enjoyed having some insight into his thoughts. Really made some things clearer about his behaviour. Blissfully Jin and Ahmed do make up.

Amani’s relationship with Jin was strong throughout. Jin was the one person she actually got advice from. I also appreciated that Amani and Jin would call each other out on their faults and still be okay. I truly felt that their relationship grew stronger. It was lovely to read about!

I did have some issues with Hero at the Fall. I was very uncomfortable with Noorsham’s God-like rule. He treated himself like a God as did the rest of the people. Amani was still stupid and reckless in the beginning. Unfortunately this affected how she ran the rebellion. While I understand this was intended, it really wasn’t the that great to read about. Hero at the Fall wasn’t as engaging as Traitor to the Throne. It took me awhile to get invested into the story. The ending was rushed and anti-climactic. All of these points prevented me from giving Hero at the Fall a higher rating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I highly recommend this series. 

Review: Clean Sweep

19090384

Clean Sweep by: Ilona Andrews

My Rating: 4 Stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Beware spoilers ahead! 

Trigger warning: Gruesome animal murders, descriptions of murders (fantasy creatures), and abusive behaviour.

Ilona Andrews is an author pair that I have been hearing about for years now. The duo are well received within the paranormal and adult community. I was in the mood for a strong female character book, so I found Clean Sweep. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

One of Dina’s neighbors dogs has been murdered yet again. Although this time the body is nearby her Bed and Breakfast. The neighbors leave Dina to talk to said neighbor. In the process Dina confronts new neighbor Sean Evans about the murders. The conversation doesn’t go well with Sean calling her crazy. That night Dina sees an unknown monster. Presuming this is the monster attacking the dogs, she attacks and kills it. Dina then finds herself facing something that she may not be prepared for. And she can’t do it alone. 

I had so much fun reading Clean Sweep! The book is written in first person whilst in Dina’s point of view. There are chapter numbers as well as pictures. The pictures are in color. I really liked how the authors added that. You don’t really see many adult books with pictures in color.

The world building was incredible! It was a perfect blend of paranormal romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. There are actual planets that Dina has traveled through. The vampires and werewolves have their own residing planet.  I have never read a book as such. The magic system was unique! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Dina’s role as an innkeeper and the rules behind the world. I even enjoyed reading about the broom, the house, and Dina’s dog Beast.

Dina was such a breath of fresh air! She had a no-nonsense attitude, was highly intelligent, hilarious, and very relatable! And she read like a 24 year old. There is a bit of mystery surrounding the disappearance of her parents. It’s only barely touched upon in this book. While Dina wasn’t aware of everything that was happening, she knew enough about her the magic system. Breaks the stereotypical females in fantasy.

Sean was previously in the army and has recently retired. He moved to Dina’s neighborhood for a peaceful life. Of course this gets disturbed when the attacks start happening. Sean really grated on my nerves in the beginning. A majority of his behaviour was abusive. He did get significantly better as the story went on and apologized for his behaviour.

Sean’s interactions with Dina do cause him to grow. Dina is the one to explain the world his people comes from and the magic system. I have to admit that he did grow on me. Also his military knowledge was useful whenever they needed to plan anything. 

There isn’t much to say about Arland (the vampire). He has a very esteemed position in the army. The plot actually does revolve on him and some of his connections. He was smart and a charmer. That’s all I can think off. Arland is introduced towards the end of the book. Not much was revealed about him.

Caldenia is the only guest at Dina’s Bed and Breakfast. Holding a high position of sorts, she is a wanted murderer. Caldenia has killed thousands and for her own safety she is sent to Dina’s inn with the orders off never leaving. She actually paid Dina a lifetime worth of stay. In her own right she is also mysterious. Not that much is known about her. Caldenia knows quite a bit and was able to piece everything together before anyone else. Some of the best lines come from her. She was seriously funny.

The highlight off Clean Sweep is how well Dina managed to handle everything. She never resorts to anger. While she does get angry here and there, she is able to maintain a level head. She handled both Arland and Sean excellently. I just really love and appreciate Dina!

I had two problems with this book. I felt that the love triangle bogged everything down. Arland and Sean actually have fights over her. Usually which way is best to protect her. Although I appreciated that it was because of her lack of combat skills. Not her good looks. I also felt that Sean’s feelings for Dina were rushed. I felt no chemistry between them. While I would prefer for Sean to be end game, I mostly felt mutual respect and friendship between them. Not a crush. Had it not been for these points I probably would’ve rated it 5 stars otherwise.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Clean Sweep! I am looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend this series.         

Review: The Stone Girl’s Story

35721869

The Stone Girl’s Story by: Sarah Beth Durst

My Rating: 3 Stars

Exploring the power of stories and storytelling, Sarah Beth Durst presents the mesmerizing adventure of a girl made of living stone who braves unforeseen dangers and magical consequences on a crucial quest to save her family.

Mayka and her stone family were brought to life by the stories etched into their bodies. Now time is eroding these vital marks, and Mayka must find a stonemason to recarve them. But the search is more complex than she had imagined, and Mayka uncovers a scheme endangering all stone creatures. Only someone who casts stories into stone can help—but whom can Mayka trust? Where is the stonemason who will save them?

Action and insight combine in this magical coming-of-age novel as the young heroine realizes the savior she’s been searching for is herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Abuse towards stone creatures, mention of war, and an abusive society.

I have read The Queen of Blood by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it! When I heard that Sarah Beth Durst was releasing a middle grade I didn’t hesitate to add this. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The Stone Girl’s Story begins with Mayka saying good-bye to Turtle. Turtle is a stone creature whose marks have completely faded. Mayka and the rest of her family is upset but seeing no other option choose to move on. Risa and Jacklo see Mayka by Turtle.

Upon Jacklo’s request Mayka gathers the other stone creatures around and tells them a story. Feeling courageous Mayka announces that she will go out into the city and find them a stonemason. Essentially saving all the stone creatures. Some stone creatures protest, but in the end Mayka, Risa and Jacklo go. 

The Stone Girl’s Story was such a cute book! Narrated in third person all in Mayka’s point of view. There are also chapter numbers. There is a large emphasis in finding yourself, free will, and friendship throughout the story. The stone creatures were such a delight to read about! Created using different types of stone with such vibrant personalities.

The world building was incredible! Durst clearly did her research regarding the different types of stone and aerodynamics. Even the history regarding Mayka’s Father and the Stone War. The marks and the stonemasons job was explained in vivid detail without info-dumping.

The characters were extremely well written! Mayka was so sweet and a surprisingly mature main character for a middle grade book. Jacklo and Risa were such great siblings! They got along so well despite being total opposites. Risa being the older and more wise sibling. With Jacklo being bighearted and dedicated to his friends and family. Sisi is a dragon stone creature that the three meet on their journey. Sisi was fun-loving but also insecure. I felt that her insecurities is something we can all relate to. Kisonan was loyal and just. Garit and Ilery are two humans. Ilery was very brave and Garit was a bit awkward but stood by his friends.

Each of the characters begin to develop through their relationships with one-another. I personally felt that Garit, Sisi, and Mayka went through the most character development. Mayka had to navigate her world after finding out some information about her Father she didn’t previously know. Garit had to learn and understand that stone creatures deserved choice and had emotions. Sisi needed to overcome her insecurities and learn that she mattered. 

The Stone Girl’s Story had quite a bit of traveling in the beginning. As Mayka, Sisi (whom they meet on the way) Jacklo, and Risa traveled to Skye. I’d say that 20 percent of the story was spent traveling. Once they reached Skye the story picked up and it got more interesting.

The villain of the book was Master Siorn whom Garit was apprenticed too. During a stonemason’s festival Master Siorn planned on revealing an ‘Obedience’ mark. He was successfully able to create one and used it on all his stone creatures. I personally found this to be abusive hence the trigger warning. Skye’s society was also abusive towards stonemasons and stone creatures. There was a curfew for the stone creatures and the stonemasons were only allowed to live in a specific area.

The highlight off The Stone Girl’s Story (aside from the characters and world-building) was Mayka’s observations on basic human behaviour. Like how odd she found shoes and how she realized that while Master Siorn was a villain he believed his reasons were good. It was fun to read about how she grew based on her interactions with humans. Seriously though what she said about sweat was on point.

Unlike most books The Stone Girl’s Story actually has an epilogue. The ending took place a few years after Mayka’s adventure in Skye. All the characters come in. And you got to see how all the characters grew (not just literally). It wrapped up the story and I liked it.

I didn’t have any problems while reading. The Stone Girl’s Story just felt like a 3 star.

Overall I thought this book was really cute and well done! I recommend everyone to read this as there is something for everyone.              

Review: Waters of Salt and Sin

34521396

Waters of Salt and Sin by: Alisha Klapheke

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

A dangerous romance, a stolen sister, and the mythical treasure that could change everything.

The first in the Uncommon World series, Waters of Salt and Sin combines the epic setting of Game of Thrones with the humor and romance of Pirates of the Caribbean. Perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas.

To save her sister from starvation and hold on to her relationship with Calev–the high-caste friend she secretly loves–Kinneret sets out for a lost island of silver. But when a madman enslaves her sister, Kinneret must make a deal with the local ruler: Help the leader find the island and secure the ruler’s place in history. In return, the leader’s fighting sailors will rescue her sister.

Using Salt Magic to navigate cursed waters, Kinneret and Calev struggle to hide their taboo, caste-breaking feelings for one another, knowing if the ruler witnesses the attraction, she’ll cancel the agreement. But when Calev makes a terrible mistake, Kinneret must choose between the life of her only remaining family member and saving the boy she loves from a traitor’s death.

*Note: This book is clean, but spicy kissing abounds.
*Appropriate for 13 and up

Beware spoilers ahead!

Disclaimer: I received an E-ARC via the author. Apart of the street team. This review is based on the final version.

I heard about Waters of Salt and Sin on twitter. The author’s twitter post about her book came up along with the prequel. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the prequel. Naturally I the next installment. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

I read Waters of Salt and Sin so long ago that I don’t really remember the beginning too well. During a job Kinneret takes a huge risk to get some money. This actually results in her sister being taken as a slave. An old family friend tells Kinneret about the treasure and gives her the information to go and get it. In order to get her Avi back, Kinneret makes a deal with their queen in exchange for Avi’s safe return.

Waters of Salt and Sin really surprised me! It is narrated in first person in Kinneret’s point of view. The world was vivid and the magic system unique! I’ve never read about Salt witches before. The Caste system was explained in a lot of detail. A very brutal and cold world. It was easy to imagine myself amongst the characters.

The characters were fantastic! My favourite was Oron. I loved the relationship between the sisters! It was well written and relatable. When Avi is taken as a slave Kinneret doesn’t stop until she can find her. It was realistic. The treasure hunt was a lot of fun to read about! There were obstacles, monsters, and a lot of plan changing.

Kinneret and Calev’s relationship was great! I loved how well the forbidden romance was done. They went through a lot together and supported each other all the way. Especially when Calev killed their queen (he was taken over by a ghost). I was pretty happy when they were able to remain together.

The last part of Waters of Salt and Sin was so intense! I was on the edge hoping for a happy ending. Luckily enough it came and there was a really sweet ending.

My only problem was that there were times when things came easy to the characters. Despite their struggles and living in a cruel world that’s what it felt like here and there.

Overall I enjoyed Waters of Salt and Sin! Highly recommend.  

Review: Ace of Shades

30238163

Ace of Shades by: Amanda Foody 

My Rating: 1 Star

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.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

Disclaimer: I skimmed a majority of this book. Lots of my information is based on that. If I have some wrong information/details please do mention it in the comments. 

Ace of Shades has been everywhere. Fellow book bloggers have been giving it raving reviews, it was avaliable on Netgalley for review, everyone was talking about, and there was quite a bit of advertising done on Twitter. Foody’s previous book was decent (I DNFed it), seeing as this is her second book I was hoping it would be good. Unfortunately that was not the case.

I liked was that Enne is very much a girly girl. I definitely enjoyed reading about her clothes and whatnot. I’d imagine that she’d have really great fashion sense if she were real. The idea behind their powers was cool. Levi was black and bi. Yay for diversity! The major plot twist was interesting. And that’s the end of my likes.

The writing was very frustrating. In Daughter of the Burning City I enjoyed Foody’s writing style. Ace of Shades had a very condescending tone. This reflected in the characters’ as well. None of them were likable. The plot wasn’t a lot better. I felt a weird sort of detachment toward the characters and plot. I just couldn’t bring myself to truly care about anything that happened.

The tone of New Reynes was nothing like Ketterdam. New Reynes was dark, filled with money obsessed people, and a ton of male slime-balls. It just wasn’t fleshed out enough. While I could picture myself there I didn’t exactly get a good feel of the world. It was very difficult to wrap my head around it.

The same goes for the history, politics, and magic system. Despite the info dumps scattered throughout the whole book, I felt that there wasn’t any depth to the information. The magic system probably confused me the most. Every time Orbs was mentioned I kept on imagining spheres floating.

I found most characters to be annoying. Enne’s stupidity really grated on my nerves. You would think that when Enne realizes her true potential she’d get smarter, but she doesn’t. And aside from Enne’s true potential she didn’t really have a personality. I didn’t care for her friendship with Lola. 

Levi was proud and just ugh! I really didn’t like how many times he called Enne ‘Missy’. Levi wasn’t believable as the leader of the Irons. Levi is nothing like Kaz.  Levi never felt like a black character. You could really just believe that he’s white. I felt that his friendship with Jax wasn’t developed enough. 

Enne and Levi are attracted to one another early on (chapter 3 or 4). Though there are hints of two getting together, nothing actually happens in this book. It’ll likely be the case in later books.

I really don’t understand why Ace of Shades is constantly being compared to Six of Crows. The later chapters are definitely reminiscent of Six of Crows. And that’s about it. It would make more sense to compare it to Jade City. 

The series is called The Shadow Game. The Shadow Game is actual game wherein you play with cards and certain people can die. This reminded me so much of Yu Gi Oh. Just with less interesting cards and odd rules.

Overall I didn’t like it at all. I recommend Jade City, Six of Crows, and Yu Gi Oh instead.