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Publisher's Summary

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 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 and 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.

©2018 Amanda Foody (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Ace of Shades

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Very Creative Read

I liked this but and will continue with the story. However, it wasn’t an amazing book.

Things I liked:
- The characters. Enne and Levi were both strong and interesting characters.
- the setting. The dark and sinful city, gangs, and casinos were made for a very creative setting!
- the magical system. The way names meant powers were really interesting! Something I haven’t read before.

Things I didn’t like:
- The world building. I will say the it was better than Foody’s first book, but still not great. The world was interesting, but facts were thrown in your face, fast and confusing.
- the mystery. In the beginning, the mystery was my fav part of this book! But, it fell flat. I know this is a series, but it left me even more confused than when it began.
- it’s comparison to Six of Crows. IT IS NOTHING LIKE SIX OF CROWS!

Overall, I would give this book a try! It was defiantly an interesting book!

16 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great world building but a sluggish read

This story starts out with a girl Enne Salta and her guidebook and a city New Reynes filled with sin and mystery, because her adoptive mother went missing, but not before she was able to send a letter to Enne letting her know where to go and who to trust. And the only name on the letter is Levi Glaisyer. Enne and Levi quickly realize that Lourdes her mother was living a very dangerous secret life, and they are quickly trying to unravel the secrets.
My problem was that I had a hard time connecting to the world and the characters. I just found myself constantly zoning in and out of this world.It is a very slow building novel. It took me nearly half the way to really connect with the main character.I couldn't completely understand the shadow game or rather really cared about it. It was just an alright start to the series which ended in a bit of a cliffhanger for the readers to pick up book 2.

10 people found this helpful

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Just fell flat for me

I really thought I would like these books, I like dark books with flawed characters but the 2nd book somehow seemed worse than the first, just droned on, I hate Levi, Em went from innocent to current in like 10 days? Yeah okay, I definitely did not want them to be together, their fights we so dumb too, every time I was like alright they will grow apart and move on but nope, overall I couldn’t get into any of the characters , grace might have actually been the most interesting I kept having to reward because I’d stop listening, although it’s definitely put me straight to sleep several times, normally if I like a book I can’t stop reading or listening even late into the night, on the way to work, at work ect but not this book

4 people found this helpful

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Wow I really enjoyed this

My one critique is that instead of showing us the characters actions or dialogue and letting us guess the characters motivations she did a lot of explaining them . But still she created an excellent world with amazing inclusive (both queer and black ) characters . Loved it . Great voice actress . Like I said it has its “teen novel “ “could be better” moments but I’m excited to see what happens next .

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Suffers from mis-categorization and melodrama

It was YA week, so I thought I'd queue up something from the YA category, and this book came up as a suggestion.

My issue is definitely more with the categorization than with the book itself, though it's not to my personal taste. I take issue with this being listed as "young adult" even "dark YA". This would definitely be a book for adults despite the main characters being in their late teens.

It features prostitution, burlesque, underage* drinking, drug abuse, poisoning, gun violence, gangs, arson, murder (so much murder and seemingly consequence-free!), many physical assaults, a pedophilia near miss and other examples of sexual predation, gambling, and non-sexual coercion and bondage that nonetheless feel real rapey. It stopped short of cursing and explicit sex scenes, though.

*it's a fantasy world wherein it's unclear if there are laws regarding drinking ages or not.

Even the heroes engage in vice and illegality without consequence, and the line that the author tries to walk by making the background degradation just a shade worse is not convincing enough to be redemptive once the heroine puts a gun to someone's head and pulls the trigger simply because he's in her way. I guess she's "breaking bad?" or whatever, but I hated that arc.

The moral of my review is this: Simply because a book features teen protagonists, stops short of explicit sex scenes and substitutes an in-world word for actual cuss words, does not mean it's a book for young adults.

Also, it suffers from melodramatic prose. I liked how aesthetic the description was and how easy it was to get a real sense of the steam-punk-esque setting. The characters were a collection of well-established tropes that never surprised me with any hidden depths and all veered too far into anti-hero territory for my personal taste. The magic system was under-developed to a frustrating degree, there were too many elements introduced that never got a payout, reading a description of a card game was a dull climax, and the whole thing just revels too much in its problematic themes for me to come anywhere close to really liking it.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Romance distracts from story

At first, the story starts off so great. A bad ass young woman goes to the city of sin to find her mother. Sheer force of will and determination allows her to gain a foothold in the city. The world is very interesting with street gangs, accepted corruption, magical talents and not-so-secret societies. However, the budding romance between the two protagonists take away from the intrigue as both characters become unlikeable and the narration focuses on "Well clearly s/he doesn't feel the same about me, I don't deserve happiness/her/him." The romance isn't something that develops naturally, with little hints here and there, it is the two characters going from not liking each other to the romance smacking the reader in the face. And the protagonist goes from an ingenuous, yet determined girl, to suddenly capable of navigating the city of sin. I had to stop the book, the characters interactions and timeline were too false and distracting from the mystery.

3 people found this helpful

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Entertaining but not gripping

Enjoyable but I just can't seem to care very much about the characters. I am longing for Enne and Levi to find goodness and truth and (that doesn't just have to come from romance), but it seems that the characters can only find their confidence from brutality and sluttiness. Maybe there will be more character development and morality later on (which would be made all the more sweet by the tainted world they live in). This book is a lot like Six of Crows-- like its admiring younger brother who wants to be just like it. Would have liked to see a little more originality, but I did enjoy the story and the narrator did a great job with the different voices and really immersing me in the world.

2 people found this helpful

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Quite a fun read, if not mentally stimulating

Yes, it's a bit of a mishmash of other stories. Aren't all stories, though? The made-up curse words are obvious and overdone, and the romance is entirely predictable, but the world building is immersive enough for me to understand what's going on without using too much brain power and there are at least two of the characters I don't loathe, so I can't complain for a YA book. Worth the time spent listening to it for a credit. Honestly, I'd even purchase a hard copy of this book. However, I have a heart-sinking feeling that the next book will destroy it all, in typical YA fashion. Wish me luck.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting

I found this book wry well written and engaging. However, I wanted more. The whole book leads up to the shadow game, which is such a cool and fun idea. I just wish there was more of it.

1 person found this helpful

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Inventive and Beautifully Narrated

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It started out a bit slow which made it difficult to get into, but Saskia Maarleveld’s narration is just too good to stop listening to. Ever since hearing her narrate Serpant & Dove and Blood & Honey, I am a huge fan. That being said, the story definitely picks up and will have you hooked, waiting to see how Enne’s time in Sin city willl change her!

1 person found this helpful

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  • T
  • 05-27-18

What a start

I really enjoyed Daughter of the Burning City last year so I couldn't wait to listen to this. Were my expectations met? Yes and much more! Thanks to some great narration I was sucked straight into the world of New Reynes and despite how dark and dingy the world felt I didn't want to leave. I loved the complexity of the world and the magical realism as well as the characters. The whole time spent there felt so real and I can't wait to see what's next for Enne, Levi and all the other characters who find themselves in New Reynes.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ai83
  • 06-15-22

Trite story, unfortunate narration choices

The story starts moderately interesting, albeit with weak characters whose traits aren't notable enough to be in a novel. Unfortunately by the end, the magic system is just a vague smudge of mashed up tropes, the characters get even less likeable and more boring, and the plot is meh. The author tries really hard to make them clever and cool but their decisions are dumb and their so called coolness is laughable. Example: the MC is sent by a mob lord to poison Cedric, another mob lord. It turns out the "poison" isn't meant to kill him but make him throw up. How is that poisoning? I think the author wanted the MC to be badass but didn't have the guts to make her really DO something.

The narrator also made poor decisions, such as making the 18yo city con Levi to sound like a 50yo Irish peasant. This made the poorly cobbled up romance fall even flatter, and go from the land of no chemistry to that of seeming pedophilia.

I was able to finish the book but listened to the last 10 mins on 2x speed. Will not return to this trilogy and possibly not to the author either.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine Tama
  • 01-05-22

Good idea but not sure if it was executed well

I did enjoy the story but many of the concepts were hard to follow. Great performance and likeable characters

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 08-04-22

amazing idea and great narration!!!

Love it! the world is unique and the characters likable ... Saskia Maarleveld brings the whole thing to life so well ... can't wait for the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Josie H.
  • 06-20-22

fantastic fantasy

fantastic fantasy. well written story. performed wonderfully, bringing characters to life. immersive reading experience.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon I.
  • 04-22-22

Great story

A surprisingly good story, couldn't stop listening to it and emediatly bought the sequel.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca Vinegrad
  • 03-05-22

Amazing

Characters were awesome. Loved the romance and character development. One of my favourite books ever.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • De Melo
  • 03-02-22

Book of the Month

in February I read/listened to 12 books and this was my favourite. It's a ride and a really fun one at that!

A book about dangerous gangs and gambling, with a bi young man of colour as the protagonist; and a posh girl from a finishing school in search of her mother; leading to an adventure in the city of sin.

The narrator is excellent, with great pace and creating good tones and atmosphere for this story. I've read reviews of people struggling to buy the characters when reading the book but listening to the narrator bringing the characters to life made me really care about them overtime.

I'd recommend it for people who generally like YA Fantasy. Also this book is more similar to Caraval with the magical game atmosphere than Six of Crows. Don't read the reviews that compare this book to SoC, they're nothing alike.

Listening to the sequal now.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tas
  • 02-15-22

Enjoyable Listen

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was fast paced, the characters were interesting and the plot was cohesive and kept me intrigued until the end.

I did feel it was using coincidence a bit too much at times throughout the book, like when Enne happened to come across the character who would lead her to Levi. Overall though, this book is a fun listen, I'd recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TeriB
  • 01-12-22

Utterly enjoyed

Grim dark YA fantasy at its best. Loved the story, loved the characters, loved the world a loved the rendition of the text.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-13-18

Amazing!

This book is honestly my favorite of 2018 and 100% in my all time fav list. Amazing characters and interesting plot.

With LGBT and POC rep, this book is perfect for people who are bored of straight white characters in fantasy.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fraser
  • 05-01-18

Atmospheric and Memorable

I'm not one for YA fiction but I found this well developed and complex. Beautiful world building and fresh magic system. The narrator does a decent job of it and I never got distracted by the voice.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-22

love it.☺️

Love it and l will be reading the next book in the series very soon I hope. ☺️