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Reviewed by: Alena, grade 12

Ace of Shades is a story that takes place in New Reynes which is also notoriously known as the “City of Sin” for its felonious and criminal reputation with gangs and criminal families that take over the city of which was once ruled by the treacherous monarchy. Coming from a highly conservative town called Bellamy, Enne Salta goes on a journey to the City of Sin in search of her missing adoptive mother. When she arrives there, she makes a dangerous deal with the lord of the greatest gang in North of New Reynes, Levi Glaisyer, to help find her mother. In exchange, she promises to pay off his debt from the Torrens, the most infamous criminal family in the city that is on a hunt for him. Their search for clues becomes a dangerous game of both chance and chase, in which they stake their survival and bet their life to play the game...and to win.

I don’t usually pick up fantasy fiction, much less a YA series, as I much prefer reading thriller and horror stories. I did not regret giving this book a go. Foody’s writing style is easy to engage and easy to follow, which I appreciate as I often get inundated by complex world-building of fantasy novels. I also greatly appreciate the representation of the LGBTQ+ community and the minority through Levi as a bisexual, black boy as the importance of visibility is recognized. Although I thought a lot of Foody’s ideas were interesting and created an intriguing premise, her execution was less satisfactory to me. It was a bit difficult for me to buy into the narrative, as it felt a little forced or unnatural at times when it came to the progress and development of the story and characters, but this is just a matter of preferences in reading. Overall, I did enjoy the plot of this story and would give it a 3/5.

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