**This review is SPOILER FREE**
Told in dual POV’s, Foody welcomes us to New Reynes, City of Sin, where everything is for sale. Enne, is a new arrival, in search of her missing adoptive mother, eventually teams up with Levi, a local gang leader, whose neck deep in a con gone wrong.
I loved Daughter of the Burning City, and I have a review to prove it, so Ace of Shades was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not let me down!
However there were some little things that just stopped Ace of Shades from getting that 5th star, and I want to get them over with. Just like with Daughter, the world building just felt slightly under-baked for me. It was very nearly there, but it just felt like there was something missing, something that would have given it that feeling of a fully fledged world. Also, the politics feels as though it’s being force fed to us, just like in Daughter, which I don’t like. I find it a tad dull, and tend to skip over it, which is a big problem when it comes into play later on in the narrative
Also, the process of bringing out two leads together, even though it’s done in the first few chapters, did feel very forced, meaning that the book didn’t have the sort of beginning that drags you in.
Now onto much nicer things to talk about, and we’ll start with the butterflies that I got in almost every scene with Levi and Enne. The way that their relationship developed over the course of the narrative, alongside the rise and the fall of the past, was amazing. There was this underlying tension, that was both sexy and innocent at the same time, laced through that always left me craving more!
In regards to characterisation, I really liked both Levi and Enne. Levi was an intriguing POV to follow, not only for his gang dealings, but also because he is bisexual, though it’s not expressly stated, he does mention past relationship with other guys, and girls. In fact we also have a gender feud character in the form of Lourdes who, while she is missing, is described as dressing as a man one day and a woman the next. I would have liked a bit more form Levi. I understand why he’s not quite as cut throat and ruthless, as the other gang leaders, and that difference was made very clear. This might just be my personal opinion but I wanted more Kaz Brekker, or Tommy Shelby, in his character. I wonder if we’ll see a bit more of this in book 2, after the events of this book…
Enne, on the other hand, really had a fantastic character arc across the narrative. She arrives as this sheltered, proper young lady, soon to graduate finishing school, and we get to see her stick to her morals and her beliefs, which also maybe realising that the world is a whole lot messier than she ever realised. I can’t wait to see where she goes in the future!
Unfortunately, these two POVs weren’t always as clear as I’d like them to be and occasionally would start reading a chapter and have to check whose chapter it was. It would be amazing if, in the sequel, the POVs could be just that little bit more defined, more Six of Crows, and less ACOFAS. I dod think this is something that will just get better with practice, which is promising for Book 2, and it was in no way poor enough to be a deal breaker. When I really like a book, I have a tendency to zero in on little things that would otherwise be nitpicks.
The action was fast paced once you get past the initial first few chapters, and the books broken up int a number of days (I want to say 10, but I’m not a hundred percent sure on that), so I think it would be really fun to read it in the same time span. It had the great feel of an adventure novel to it, that just made it a lot of fun, and was really helped along by our supporting case of characters who I am super excited to see more of in the next book.
To conclude, Ace of Shades is a fantastically fun, and different book, a great into to the YA fantasy genre, with compelling characters. While there are a couple of minor problems I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, and to re-read it!
Have you read Ace of Shades and what did you think? Are you planning on reading it? What are some of your favourite YA fantasy novels that are a bit underrated?
Thanks for reading!