Elizabeth's Reviews > Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
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really liked it
bookshelves: spring-2018-releases, 2018-reads, steampunk-fantasy, fantasy, young-adult

Ace of Shades isn't a bad book - but it's not spectacular either. It makes the fatal mistake of trying to be something it isn't.
Ace of Shades needs to stick to it's own story - Enne Salta and Levi Glaisyer are great characters without trying to turn Levi into Kaz Brekker.
Because you can't just take a random teenager and voila, he's Kaz!
Drop the Six of Crows wanna-be attitude and Ace of Shades stands well enough on it's own.

Because Ace of Shades does have a lot going for it.

First - The world building

Oh my goodness - The City of Sin is incredibly detailed and rich. I felt like was in the city with Enne. From the Gambling dens and cabarets to the dark alleys, the city was diverse and immersive.
Also, I loved the metro system! I don't think I've ever read a steampunk book with a met system and I LOVED reading about these characters riding the cars.
The magic system is also really complex. Different talents mixing, with royal families carrying different talents. I LIKE IT.

Also, talents that you can use to control people??? Give me more

Mixed in with the magic & city is, of course, the crime. I want more with the crime families and street gangs. Honestly, that's what makes this book so intriguing. The Donna and Don and casino families.
I don't think I've ever read a YA Steampunk Family with such intense hierarchies of crime? I mean, Six of Crows had gangs, but I'm not sure how well they qualified as organized crime? Anyway, it was really a wild read with these crime families.

The Characters
Ace of Shades needs to spend a bit more time developing rich characters. Enne was great, but I felt like the rest of the ensemble were just meh. The descriptions of the characters didn't live up to how they acted. Their actions were difficult to understand.

Enne Salta was so fun to read. She's naive and funny. I know some people have complained about her naivety, but I thought it was refreshing. She alternates between prudish and shocked, and I like it. It reminds me of me if I was dropped in the middle of Vegas.

Levi Glaisyer - He's not Kaz. And his motivation to become a street lord makes NO SENSE. I was super annoyed with him as a character because he's trying so hard to be this street lord, and he doesn't match up to the job? Different characters say he's better than the rest of them, but I don't see it? It's confusing, conflicting messages.
Also, Levi is bisexual. Which is great, EXCEPT the way his sexuality is treated. He has intense platonic relationships with his guy friends. Definitely not romantic, but they are rich and strong friendships. Also, he sleeps with guys. So he only sleeps with the guys he uses? But he actually falls in love with a girl?
I don't like sexuality used that way. It feels like Levi's bisexuality is just exploited - like he can only develop real relationships with girls, and he just enjoys sleeping with guys. I HATE this narrative about bisexuals.

The plot
There are GREAT things happening with this plot. I want to read more, really I do.
But I also felt like there were weird things that just didn't make sense. Why Levi takes Enne to the Donna makes NO SENSE. (view spoiler)

I am very excited to see things play out in the second book. Ace of Shades ends with some major cliffhangers and I am excited to see where this series goes!

Arc provided by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Reading Progress

January 1, 2018 – Shelved
January 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
February 12, 2018 – Shelved as: spring-2018-releases
March 3, 2018 – Started Reading
March 3, 2018 –
28.0% "That just got intense super quick. I am very hooked on this book"
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reads
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: steampunk-fantasy
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 5, 2018 – Finished Reading

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