Spoiler-Free Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)

Author: Amanda Foody

Pub. Date: April 10th 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 416

Format: Physical ARC & Galley

Content warning: pedophilia, addiction, drug use, gambling, death, loss of a loved one, torture, and violence (Huge thanks to Melanie for these)

*HUGE thanks to Harlequin Teen, Edelweiss, and Amanda Foody for the ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

   

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Fast paced with many reveals along the way, Ace of Shades takes off running from the first page when we meet Enna Salta as she arrives in the city of Sin, New Reynes. She’s the perfect picture of propriety and the education to back it but all that won’t help her in a city where street smarts are the only creds of value. Enna Abacus Salta is searching for answers that will lead her to her mother Lourdes who’s been missing for the past two months. She never imagined that a name on a card left behind by Lourdes would lead her straight into the heart of gang territory. Even less, that it would be the start to uncovering many lies & truths about herself and the woman who raised her as if she were her own daughter.

Enna finds her way to Levi Glaisyer who is leader of the Irons, and at the moment quite busy trying to scrounge up $$$ for an investment scam gone wrong. Levi is not trying to take on Enna’s mission to find Lourdes even though the name does strike a chord in a way that spells trouble. Enna is determined to find out what Levi knows but isn’t prepared for the consequences that come with being associated with him and his gang.

We follow Enna & Levi through alternating POV chapters as they realize helping each other is beneficial & in both their best interest. What ensues is a race against the clock that takes us through casinos, cabarets, dark alleys, meetings with mob bosses, and one sick twisted game from which only one player in history has ever won.

“New Reynes: red lights that flashed without flame, women of loose morals dancing on street corners in sparkling, skin-tight corsets, gambling dens beckoning passersby with seedy smiles and the allure of fast fortune.”

Pictures for aesthetic are from Pinterest, not my own

Enne Abacus Salta is already proving to be one of those characters you either love or hate. Personally I found Enna to be entertaining & full of hope. For starters, everyone in this world is born with an inherited talent from each of their parents. Their last names typically tell which talent their family carries. Enne has both Arithmetic and dance talent, with dance being her blood talent making it the strongest of the two. These talents haven’t really helped Enne much in her school of dance where she is considered low rank. The Salta’s aren’t one of the more prestigious families however Lourdes has made sure Enna attends the best of the best schools. Feeling like she’s always had to prove her worth, life in New Reynes sees her fortune take a turn. I LOVE well developed characters & authors who aren’t afraid to take their faves and turn their lives upside down. Enna is completely out of her element when she arrives in the city of Sin, within minutes of arrival she’s had to ditch all of her personal belongings. Walking away with just a welcome guide to New Reynes that she treats like a bible. Some may call her annoyingly naive, I found her evolution to be realistic. Also, the fact that she didn’t break decorum even when feeling the charm of Levi was hella impressive! Cause I think even I would’ve given in #jussayin 😂😳

Levi Glaisyer so much to say about this gift of a character! Levi is our black bi-sexual MC who also happens to be the leader of the gang known as the Irons. I’ve seen rumblings of this character being compared to Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows which I find to be a unfair comparison. These two guys could not be more polar opposites, nor do I think he was intended to mimic our beloved Kaz. Levi isn’t the don who everyone fears, he is simply a guy who dreams of building an empire. He’s gained the respect of a few and as a boss that means many have sworn an oath to him. These oaths are more than spoken word & are actually binding in this world. His specific gang is known for their expertise in the casinos, gamblings and swindling. If he’s not busy casino hopping stacking chips, he’s politicking with other influential players in the game. Perhaps what I loved MOST about this character was the fact that he wasn’t made to be this hardened criminal unable to show a more vulnerable side. Levi is heavily flawed, not only can’t he say no to the possibility of winning another hand at the tables but he also can’t resist a pretty face. With a wardrobe filled with the clothes of his romantic flings…

“Levi had a long romantic history of scattered affairs-a few girls and many boys-that had become the subject of teasing from his friends. They claimed he had a hopeless habit of kissing and telling”

It’s interesting how you’re led to believe at first that Levi is made for this lifestyle…yet it’s Enne who seems to have a natural hack for it 😉

There are a few supporting characters to get invested in & some nefarious ones to keep an eye on. Interestingly enough, Enna’s mother Lourdes plays a major role in the progression of the story even though we don’t actually see her as she is M.I.A. We learn so much about Lourdes who is gender fluid with a passion for journalism & social justice.

A solid start to a new Fantasy, Ace of Shades offers up a new setting sure to entice those who with a love for mobster stories & casino settings. I’m a fan of Cabaret, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Six of Crows..I LOVE them all! which made this book a MUST read & I’m very thankful to the publisher for sending a copy my way. Foody brought New Reynes to life with vivid descriptions of the gaudy clothing worn on Sweetie Street & the different territories run by either the Irons, Scarhands, or Doves. Dropping a character like Enne into this setting with nothing but a guide of the Do’s & Don’ts of New Reynes was brilliant! experience alone is now molding Enne into a completely different person & I can’t wait to see who she is in the next book. Same goes for Levi who we see walk away a completely different man than when we first met him. There are a ton of other players in the game & some hella intriguing supporting characters like Jac & Lola that were really fleshed out. The only reason I gave it 4 stars (still HIGHLY enjoyable) was because the magic system paired up with the history of the Revolution and a Great Street War that took place in New Reynes felt overwhelming when first trying to settle into this new world. The allure in Ace of Shades is STRONG! & once I got into the story, I found it hard to put down for long. I can only see this story getting better & I’m excited to see what the future holds for Enne, Levi, and the Irons ♠️


Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & read all the good books 💜 are you planning on picking up a copy of Ace of Shades? if you’ve already read Ace of Shades, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below 💜 


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Title: Renegades (Renegades #1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Fierce Reads

Pages: 576

Format: Physical ARC

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

    

Are you a Renegade or a Anarchist? is it really as simple as choosing a side? and is it really good vs. evil? The city of Gatlon has been divided by those who admire the Renegades & those who detest them. Our MC Nova aka Nightmare is a Prodigy, someone born with superhuman abilities. Nova at a very young age was raised by her parents to trust in the Renegades to save the day however, too soon she learned this was not the case for her. When tragedy struck Nova at the age of 6, everything she believed in crumbled & the seed of resentment towards the Renegades began to grow deep within. Vowing vengeance, Nova takes to life underground with other Anarchists intent on the destruction of the Renegades. The overall consensus is that Renegades aren’t out on the streets saving lives, they are glorified super stars that the people have come to idolize through parades and intense media coverage. The Renegades themselves believe everything they do is in the best interest of society. However, not just anyone can become a Renegade, Prodigies interested in joining must go through what is known as the Renegade Trials. Based on your super human ability, Renegade teams can choose you to join their squad very much like the American tv show The Voice haha!

We follow Nova as she sets out to get back at those she believes have failed her and the city she lives in. I enjoyed seeing how Nova went about positioning herself to enact her plan however, I do believe plot pacing took a hit. Renegades is generous on the page count & although I LOVED every single one of the characters, there were some moments of no real activity. That being said, my enjoyment wasn’t too impacted & towards the end there are certain elements introduced that serve sort of as a jet-pack concluding with a strong and unsuspecting finish.

Although the story does focus mostly on Nova, we meet a slew of characters both Renegades and Anarchists alike. The finished copy actually has a small glossary in the front of the book. Nova was pretty much raised in a underground subway tunnel surrounded by a handful of other Anarchists. It’s made clear that the Anarchists ranks have taken a severe hit and not many are left. Nova spends her time with her adopted family of Anarchists Queen Bee (has a special connection to bees), Cyanide (King of poisons & natural gasses), Phobia (will draw the fear right out of you), The Detonator (BOOM!), and The Puppeteer (creepy as hell lol) who are all Prodigies with innnnneresting abilities. I REALLY liked all of the Anarchists which speaks to how well Meyer blurs the lines between who is good and who is evil.

The Renegades are more of a corporation expanding world wide with many arriving in Gatlon city to train. We meet Adrian Everheart at the start of the story while he is experimenting with his abilities (vague for fear of spoilers). Adrian is the adopted son of Captain Chromium & Dread Warden who are both leading political figures and part of the Council which governs over the Renegades in protecting Gatlon. I appreciated the LGBTQ representation with Adrian’s dads who although they are side characters, are still very important people in leading roles in fictional Gatlon city & that’s pretty damn awesome!  Adrian is team leader of his squad & we are introduced to Red Assassin (Gem & Rubies manipulator), Monarch (special connection with butterflies), and Smokescreen (smoke manipulator who is also disabled). However, Adrian is the character we spend most our time with & I ended up loving him to pieces. Although we get some moderate page time with Adrian’s squad, I do wish they were as fleshed out as the Anarchists were.

Any time I can get my hands on a Marissa Meyer story, I will! One of my all time favorite YA authors, I cannot resist her writing and the worlds she creates full of complex & morally gray characters. By the time you reach the end of Renegades, it will be hard for you to choose a side. Although the Renegades mean well, are they really helping or hurting the people of Gatlon city? & although the Anarchists claim to want independence for the people of Gatlon city, is full fledged freedom with no government really the answer? I myself haven’t chosen a side yet & love that about this story. Start to finish I enjoyed my time with these characters & found myself at times rooting for both sides lol. The plot could’ve been paced a bit better & I would like to see the other characters fleshed out a bit more, particularly on the Renegade side. Other than that, I CANNOT WAIT for the sequel!!! anyone who has already devoured this knows that with that ending, the suffering will be long & hard haha! MARISSA HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

*Special thanks to Fierce Reads for providing ARCS of Renegades in exchange for an honest review

*Images not my own, gathered from Marissa Meyer’s Pinterest Board. She has loooooads of pics but these called out to me most 🙂

Hello bookworms! many of you are either in the middle of or finishing up Renegades…isn’t it sooo good?!?! I finished it in the tub & tweeted my reaction to the finale while trying my hardest not to drop the book smh LOL! more importantly, are you a Anarchist or a Renegade? 😉


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks