Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every corner.
Enne Salt 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 have to surrender herself to the city…
And she’ll need to play.
Ace of Shades has been a much buzzed about books or months and while I didn’t think it quite lived up to the hype, there were aspects of it that I did enjoy.
New Reynes aka the City of Sin, is a magical version of Las Vegas. Underneath its glitzy exterior lies a far more dark and gritty world filled with violence and danger. The main character, Enne, is an interesting character, but she transforms too quickly from a prim and proper ballerina who makes some incredibly stupid mistakes, to a lethal assassin. And Levi, as a young bisexual man of color and leader of a gang, should have been so much more interesting than he was. It took most of the book for me to get a sense of who he is and what his motivations are. I did wind up really liking him towards the end though. The secondary characters definitely need more development as well if they’re to progress from mere silhouettes in the background.
The world building left me with mixed feelings. There were some parts I liked such as the lethal Game of Shadows, and the history of the families, but there was quite a bit of info dumping and for the first half of the book I found it very slow going.
Despite my issues with Ace of Shades, I do think it has potential. The pace picked up considerably in the second half of the book and the ending was exciting enough that I’ll definitely be trying the sequel. There are plenty of readers who love this so if you’re a fan of YA fantasy and like plenty of political intrigue I’d recommend giving this a try.