I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 10th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
It’s hard to miss the buzz surround Ace of Shades. And with a blurb promising gangs, casino, gambling, and hidden secrets among a City of Sin, how could I resist this read?
Enne has traveled to the City of Sin in search of her adoptive mother who has gone missing. She is completely on her own and out of her element. She has one name to go off of, Levi Glaisyer. Levi is the Lord of the street gang known as the Irons, and a well known con artist. The two find themselves in some dire situations with only each other to help them through.
Enne prides herself on being upstanding and sophisticated and a proper lady but turns out she has a badass, no-nonsense side she didn’t know about. When confronted with situations that you’d expect her to cower with fear for, she stands tall and handles her own in ways I did not expect from the proper girl we meet at the beginning. She becomes fearless and a force to be reckoned with. Levi is a street gang lord so I expected this tough bad boy and perhaps he appears that way to others but when you peel back his layers that is not at all who he is. He is knee deep in a con he had no choice but to pull, his life on the line with time running out. These two seemingly have nothing in common, until they do, and then they are the only ones who truly understand what they are going through. They develop this sort of comradery and a glimmer of romance seems to bloom on the horizon. It felt natural and believable for the pacing of the book and I’m excited to see how it evolves as the series continues.
There is some really cool storytelling going on in Ace of Shades. In this world, everyone has two inherited talents. These talents are passed down from their parents so their names are an indicator to others on what they are. The talents are split into categories. Talents of aptitude – anyone could develop to a degree, and talents of mysteries – magical and occasionally dangerous. I absolutely loved this concept! It’s a huge part of the world building and we meet a lot of great characters with such fun and unique talents. There is also this air of mystery surrounding not only Enne’s missing mother but also Enne herself. She is such a dynamic character with secrets to uncover and a great story to tell.
Though I enjoyed this story, I can’t quite put my finger on what brought this novel down a little for me. Perhaps it was my confusion at times? I can’t say I understood everything about the world building even though it appeared to be quite unique and exciting. I think mostly it is just my overall feeling while reading and my connection to the events going on but overall this was enjoyable and entertaining.
With great characters all around as well as a unique setting and mysteries to unfold, I found this to be worth a read and recommend others to check it out as well! I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues in the sequel.