My Rating ~ Four and a half stars
RELEASED: 10 April 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardback (exclusive cover edition by Owlcrate)
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.
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In the Ace of Shades world, everyone inherits two blood talents, one from their mother and one from their father. Enne’s talents are dancing and arithmetic, neither of which she’s actually very good at.
Enne’s mother is missing. She was last heard from heading to the city of New Reynes, telling Enne that if she wasn’t back in two months, she could assume she was dead.
The two months have come and gone and Enne decides to head to New Reynes to find her mother. Unfortunately Enne is a girl with high morals, who attends a well to do finishing school, and New Reynes is a dangerous place nicknamed the City of Sin.
It doesn’t take long for Enne to run into trouble, right off the boat to be exact, and find the man her mother told her would help her if she ever needed it. Levi is not the upstanding citizen she assumed he would be though, he’s a 17 year old crime lord, who runs a gang of shady card dealers called The Irons.
Levi agrees to help Enne find her mother and navigate the streets of New Reynes (on the understanding she’ll pay him a generous sum he desperately needs to sort out his own problems). The search for Enne’s mother turns up more questions than answers though and Enne starts to discover more about her past than she was prepared for.
If this book was going to be a stand-alone I think I probably would have given it a four star rating, due to some character development and plot points that weren’t quite explained or tied up. For example, Levi continuously refers to himself as having done terrible deeds, ones he believes Enne will find unforgivable, but we never really learn what they are. I wanted to know more about the currency (volts) and the orbs they are kept in. We are told two blood talents can make them and there are hints thrown around that making them involves something unpleasant, but there didn’t seem to be much more of an explanation. However, this is a trilogy, so I’m not too bothered by the loose ends as I’m sure many of them will be explored in the next books.
The use of made up swear words was mildly irritating but I managed to ignore that and accept it as part of the language. I loved Levi and his best friend, Jac, especially. I enjoyed the fact that despite many of the characters being pretty unsavory, the author managed to show some of their redeeming qualities and highlight the complicated relationships between them.
The descriptions of the New Reynes Street life were rich and gritty and I really loved the inclusion of the tarot cards as the dangerous shadow game in the book.
All in all, the ending left me hanging and I can’t wait for the next book!
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