I HAVE DONE IT. I HAVE FINISHED ACE OF SHADES. OH MY GOD.
WARNING: I WILL CURSE IN THIS REVIEW. IF YOU FIND IT OFFENSIVE, PLEASE DON’T READ ON.
FIVE STRONG STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Well, fucking hell.
I was sent this book for an honest review from the publisher (Harper Collins). I have a lot of thingd to say, so please, grab yourself a snack and maybe a cup of tea and prepare yourself.. this is going to be a bumpy ride.
Firstly, here’s the Goodreads synopsis for this gem:
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.
This book.. THIS BOOK. This book is my favourite so far of the year.
It was my most anticipated 2018 read due to reading Amanda’s debut novel: Daughter of The Burning City. I adored DoTBC so much, rating it a strong five star read.
Now, this novel, Ace of Shades, BEATS IT. I have no idea how considering DoTBC was a five star novel, but AoS beat it!
Let me begin with a little runthrough of the book *SPOILERS!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!*
This book is about Enne Salta, a 16 year old lady who is in search of her mum: Lourdes. Lourdes left Enne a note before she left to visit New Reynes, saying “If I am not home in two months, I am dead.” The book begins four months after this note was written.
Enne befriends a man called Levi, who is in charge of one of the street gangs in this book and he is known as the Iron Lord. Levi agrees to help Enne search for her Mother, but first thinks that Enne should get a job to help her if she runs into trouble regarding money. Levi takes her to his boss: Vianca who does employ Enne as an acrobat and her “secret weapon”, making her do dangerous jobs. However, after Enne agrees, Vianca grabs her arm and places an omerta on her which is an oath which means that Enne belongs to her and cannot end unless Vianca or Enne dies. Enne soon finds out that Levi also has an omerta on him, too. Despite this, and that they are both given jobs to do, Enne and Levi search for Lourdes in their spare time. This novel is told by two different persectives (obviously, Enne and Levi’s) but however remained chronological.
…and I am going to stop there because I don’t want to spoil people TOO much, I want everyone to read and experience the magic that is this book for themselves. BUT, let me just say.. that ending blew me away. I was on the edge of my seat (well, bed.. I was led in bed.) throughout all of it and I cried multiple times.
There are multiple things that I adored during this book; the action packed plot, the character dynamics and growth. I also loved the romance.. that didn’t actually end up happening.
I know what you’re thinking… eh? I am just saying, Levi and Enne were giving eachother the eye and secretly thinking about kissing eachother for at least half of this novel and I FUCKING LOVED IT.
Firstly, let me begin with talking about the plot. This book is definitely a plot-driven book. The plot was action packed, filled with fights between the different gangs which some resulted in deaths.
The plot was also helped by the amount of world-building throughout the novel. Amanda managed to describe and explain the world so well, that I could honestly picture every scene in my head. Here is a couple of my favourite descriptive quotes from the book:
“From what she could see, New Reynes was a wasteland of metal and white stone. The factories in the distance glinted as if coated in liquid steel, and the clouds were so black she swore the rain would fall dark as coal.”
“They were in what appeared to be Vianca’s parlor. Like the rest if St. Morse, it was furnished in her typical dark, antique fashion – cheap luxury that bordered on gaudy. Each upholstery had a different sort of print. Dozens of glass gemstones dangled from the chandelier above the couch, a piece of costume jewellery set out as decoration. On the largest wall of the room, there was a portrait of what Enne imagined must’ve been Vianca’s family..”
“A crystal chandelier stretched across the entire ceiling. Emerald green carpeting trailed up the stairs, matching the velvet curtains draped over the windows and the uniform of the concierges. Metallic silver archways led into rooms labelled Tropps Room, Theatre and Ballroom with sapphire-blue calligraphy.”
Those are just a few of many I could pick to prove to you that the book has great descriptive parts throughout it.
The characters. I almost always find a character that I dislike in most YA novels I read… but I couldn’t in this one. I loved the main characters: Enne, Levi, Lola and Jac.
Enne was such a badass MC, and her character growth was phenomenal. At the beginning, she was shy and nervous and at the end, she was fighting with Levi and actually became a killer. Not that I condone that at all, but she was proper fucking badass.
Levi is my new fictional boyfriend. He is another damn badass, but is so protective and sweet with Enne. He is also such a flirt! But I really loved and admired that.
Jac, he was so loyal to Levi. I appreciated how loyal he was, especially considering at the end all of Levi’s gang had turned against him.
Finally, Lola. Lola is my favourit character out of the whole book. I love the way she presents herself (apart from when she tried to kill Enne, oops), her backstory is so heartbreaking. She is a character that I hope gets a book of her own.
There’s not much more I can really say without literally forcing you all to the bookstore and making you buy this book.
I can’t even describe how lucky I feel to have received this book before it’s release, and how blessed I feel to be writing this review for you all.
It is a magnificent book, and again…
Demi // firspagewonders