Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

(Last Updated On: June 25, 2019)

Friends, this book murdered me; I am a ghost typing up this review. This book has to be one of my biggest surprises of 2018 so far – it touched me deeply from the first sentences and kept me hooked until the end (and beyond, I am already stalking the 2019 sequel King of Fools).

About the Book

Publisher: Harlequin Teen  |  Release Date: April 10, 2018  |  Pages: 408
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy  |  Format: Hardcover  |  Source: Purchased

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, Enne has only one lead: the 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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My Review

Welcome to New Reynes, the City of Sin where gangs rule the streets and Casino Families rule everything else. Enne Salta’s adoptive mother has failed to return home from a trip to New Reynes but managed to send a letter home with a name — Levi Glaisyer — so she heads to the City for her summer break to find Lourdes. This city isn’t for the faint of heart, and Enne has to learn to navigate a place of games and secrets — but will she be able to survive?

“If I’m not home in two months, I’m dead.”

This book has a strong start that sucked me in right away and kept me entranced until the last page with excellent pacing and characters with such depth that I felt like I knew them personally. Foody masterfully shares details of the world slowly and succinctly so that it never feels like an info dump and the world itself is described so well that I feel like I could walk the streets myself.

“They say the city is a game, one only the reckless play.”

The book is told in the alternating perspectives of Enne Salta and Levi Glaisyer, characters that are as different as night and day but thrust together due because Lourdes wrote his name on a letter.

Enne has been thrust into a world and situation that she wasn’t meant for in the search to find her mother. 17 years old, a dancer from finishing school looking forward to her debut in society. She has a serious sweet tooth and I love her grit and determination to find her mother as a stranger in a strange land.
Levi has been hardened by his years, a master of cards and the head of the Irons. He is almost 18 and has aspirations to make something of himself. Levi is black and bisexual and I adore his compassion.

There is also a cast of secondary characters just as rich, loveable, and flawed. Jac is Levi’s best friend and absolutely a gem, and Lola is a reluctant addition to the trio. I really look forward to seeing more of their backstory in King of Fools.

“All you know is stories, Enne told herself. And not all stories are true.”

The magic system in this world is hereditary, and each person has a main talent and a split talent. The main talent is denoted by a person’s surname and is an easy way to assess a person’s position in society.

Foody created a new fantasy world with a rich and deep history/mythology, and I will admit that at times it was a bit difficult to keep everything straight even though the worldbuilding is done slowly and builds upon nuggets of knowledge introduced earlier.

I absolutely loved Ace of Shades – it is full of a characteristic that I lived for in fantasy: a vivid world, a complex political historycomplex characters. It is a fast-paced story that has everything I love in fantasy executed well… just be sure to take notes so that you can keep everything straight as the worldbuilding is vast! This is a fantastic start to what I am sure will be an amazing trilogy, and I cannot wait to continue the series!

Content Warning: inferred pedophilia, drug use, gambling, loss of a loved one

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Hette

    July 8, 2018 at 12:56 PM

    I’m intrigued! 😁 Nice review!!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 8, 2018 at 2:40 PM

      Thank you so much, and I hope you pick it up – I really enjoyed it.

  2. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl)

    July 8, 2018 at 8:19 PM

    Wonderful review!! I got a copy of Ace of Shades in June and I’m really excited to read it! This is definitely getting me even more excited than I was before!

  3. Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    July 8, 2018 at 8:34 PM

    This is the second glowing review for this book I’ve read in the past couple of days and I can’t believe how I ever passed it up on Netgalley! This makes me so eager to dive into it–thanks Kaleena!

  4. Tammy

    July 8, 2018 at 8:59 PM

    This wasn’t really on my radar but after reading your review I’ll have to reconsider! 😊

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 8, 2018 at 9:29 PM

      That is the best compliment that I have ever gotten!!! I hope that you do pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did, Tammy!

  5. Carolina @fictionologyst

    July 8, 2018 at 9:26 PM

    I’ve been reading nothing but great reviews about this book! I think I’m gonna put it in my wishlist. Thank you for this amazing review! 💕

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 9, 2018 at 12:36 PM

      Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Be sure to join my “I need King of Fools immediately” club if you do.

      1. Carolina @fictionologyst

        July 9, 2018 at 6:56 PM

        Haha that club name!! I will definitely join once I read the book 💕

  6. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

    July 8, 2018 at 9:28 PM

    I LOVED AoS when I read it earlier this year, so I’m glad you had such a good time with it! King of Fools really can’t come soon enough.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 9, 2018 at 12:28 PM

      I CANNOT WAIT FOR KING OF FOOLS [screams incoherently into the void]
      Honestly I am still kind of suffering from a book hangover from this book and it has been almost 3 weeks since I read it. I am glad you enjoyed it as well and now I know who to gush to when we get our hands on the next book in the series!

      1. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

        July 9, 2018 at 12:31 PM

        It can’t come fast enough!! But omg absolutely. I’m so looking forward to KoF and all the good, incoherent screaming that’s going to have to come with it.

  7. Norrie

    July 9, 2018 at 12:47 AM

    Great review!
    Hardened 18 year old make me kinda puzzled, but they are quite frequent in these kinda books, so I’m getting used to them 😁
    I’m planning to read this one soon.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 9, 2018 at 12:27 PM

      Thank you, Norrie! I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it.

  8. Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams

    July 9, 2018 at 5:02 AM

    Great review, Kaleena! 💗

    This book’s been getting a lot of negative ratings and reviews, but I’m glad to see you enjoyed it so much! 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 9, 2018 at 12:26 PM

      Thank you, Lily! I have seen a few meh reviews, which I definitely can understand, but I am really glad that I enjoyed it as much as I did! I think it was because I wasn’t expecting anything and it was my first mood read in a long line of arcs… it was just nice to choose something for myself and love it so much!

      1. Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams

        July 9, 2018 at 1:26 PM

        Yes, I think expectations have a lot to do with it as well, because I know that it’s being likened to Six of Crows, and so many people love the book, so …

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          July 10, 2018 at 7:33 PM

          While I haven’t yet read Six of Crows, I know how coveted that book is in the community so I can see how that comparison could doom AoS for a lot of readers… kind of like how anything compared to Margaret Atwood has some BIG shoes to fill for me!

  9. Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2018 – Reader Voracious Blog

    July 10, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    […] How in the world am I supposed to choose just one?! I have read a few 5-star reads this year so far, but there are two that stand out in my mind. This is a tie between Children of Blood and Bone and Ace of Shades. […]

  10. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

    July 10, 2018 at 3:27 PM

    Those opening lines bahaha. Ghosty ghost 😉 But seriously, I am digging this review for all of the right reasons and one happens to be that I have a copy right here!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 10, 2018 at 7:40 PM

      👻👻👻 Would you like to say a few words at my funeral? 👻👻👻
      I honestly cannot WAIT until you read this one and hope you love it. Read it soon, please!

  11. Mystery Blogger Award #1-5 // I need to stop saving my tags – Reader Voracious Blog

    July 17, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    […] now, King of Fools (Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody. Are you all sick of hearing me scream about Ace of Shades […]

  12. Halloween Creatures Tag 2.0 – Reader Voracious Blog

    October 1, 2018 at 9:17 AM

    […] You can read my full review of Ace of Shades here. […]

  13. June in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 23, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    […] Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (Review) […]

  14. My Favorite 2018 Reads – Reader Voracious Blog

    January 1, 2019 at 10:08 AM

    […] ♣️ Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody was the first book that I ever upgraded from the Kindle to physical format because I loved the book so much. This book has it all: strong female characters, lovable and morally grey characters, gangs, and magic. Ace of Shades swept me away and I am anxiously awaiting King of Fools’ release. This book is tied for my favorite read of the year. | 📖 Read my full review […]

  15. Stephanie

    January 22, 2019 at 4:00 PM

    First of all, this reviews has me in tears from laughter. Second, I have been meaning to read Ace of Shades but have been seriously procrastinating but from what I gather this seems to be a good book, and from your description it seems like I am going to love the characters. XD

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 9:55 AM

      HAHAHA thanks so much, I am glad you liked this review!!! I honestly loved this book so much and think about it often. Looking forward to re-reading it a bit closer to the King of Fools release!

  16. Here are 12 Anticipated Reads for April 2019 – Reader Voracious Blog

    March 27, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    […] Ace of Shades was probably the biggest surprise of 2018 for me, so King of Fools is probably my mmost highly anticipated sequel of the year. I’m currently reading it now and I am loving getting to learn so much more about the characters I came to love in book 1! Review coming soon! […]

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