Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody is a dangerous journey through the “City of Sin”. A city that is said to leave a mark on your soul. No one leaves the city undamaged in some way. Enne Salta is a young and proper lady who arrives with a trusted guidebook in hand, desperate to find her missing mother. Her book warns her of the dangers of the city, where to go and where not to go. It doesn’t warn her of the reputation that her mother Lourdes had in the city. She quickly realizes she can’t seek help from the “white boots” (police), she will have to rely on the help of Levi Glaisyer and his street gang The Irons.
Young love blooms in the right place but at the wrong time
We shouldn’t be surprised when Levi and Enne begin to develop feelings for each other; and yet, it’s not the typical circumstances getting in the way of their budding romance. Levi is keeping secrets from Enne in an effort to protect her. While helping her search for her mother he can’t bring himself to tell her that he’s received the card of “The Fool,” indicating his required participation in a game that holds his life as the prize. The odds of “The Fool” winning the game are slim to none.
Enne discovers a lot more about her own secret past than that of her mother’s.
While I expected most of this book to take place in a deadly game played by Enne, I’m pleased that the author took us through the journey of Enne searching for her mother. She makes unlikely friends, finds herself in various situations of danger where she discovers she’s not quite as delicate as she thought, and she manages to find the courage to keep facing devastating setbacks without losing hope. Enne was not considered special in her hometown of Bellamy and was hardly accepted by her peers. Now she’s found acceptance, and a place to truly shine. It might be in The City of Sin, but she comes to feel more connected there in just a few days than in her whole life lived in Bellamy.
The author Amanda Foody brought these young characters to life with such a true adolescent perspective. Despite Levi being in charge of an entire street gang, she shows us his soft side and vulnerability. She describes people of different ethnic backgrounds, main characters who could be defined as bi-sexual (no graphic lovemaking in this book), and characters who choose to dress gender fluid. Foody manages to create a diversity that I don’t tend to see when I read books. We rely on the author to create the landscape to which our own imagination will leap off and fill in visual gaps. Amanda Foody provides a landscape that is very alluring and very unique.