Alice's Reviews > Daughter of the Burning City

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
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bookshelves: read-2019, reviewed

** spoiler alert ** There were so many things I loved about this, but I'm bummed that there was so much left unexplored (view spoiler) On the bright side, I have so much appreciation for how much improvement Foody exhibits in Ace of Shades because of Daughter of the Burning City.

Positives:
- Foody keeps you fed with food description
- how seemless the diversity feels in the world
- Murder mystery, magic, and avenging dead family members is Foody's style and I like it.
- Disfigured, bisexual and Chinese-coded (??? tanghulu ??? I see you) protag Sorina and her badass illusion powers
- Demiromantic asexual love interest Luca and his sassy mouth
- Multi-racial adoptive dad Villiam co-parenting Soring with Kahina
- The geopolitics of the Up-Mountain and Down-Mountain, though I wish there were MORE.

Negatives:
- (view spoiler)

- I just wasn't too into the (view spoiler). I desparately didn't want that to be the case, so I'll have to caution anybody who wants to remain unspoiled not to flip through all the way for the pictures before you read the story.

- The negative commentary and perceptions of Luca's asexuality by other characters don't really get questioned within the text. Sorina at least begins to question it all a little and even tells Luca "I want to hear it from you," but I *really* wanted to actually hear more from Luca, the man himself! My problem isn't that there's in-universe depictions of aphobia but rather that the "norm" of perceiving asexuality as unnatural goes unchallenged - especially when Luca gets called a "freak among freaks" or something similar.

Characters
While I do like some of the individual touches Sorina and the other characters like Venera and Nicoletta get, I wish there were more development for the cast overall. It's clear to me that Sorina cares about the people in her life, but as it was, the characters left a lukewarm impression to me as a reader even if I knew their tragic backstory (which I love seeing, don't get me wrong).

Plot
The over-arching Up-Mountain vs. Down-Mountain conflict was never truly resolved. After learning so much about it over the course of the book, it seemed like a waste that there was never a true conclusion to any of it. Not even Luca's connection to Up-Mountain really mattered in the end (view spoiler). It felt that we were just following Sorina as she was being led back and forth by other forces through the plot. There wasn't a driving force behind the plot as much as there was two separate plot loosely connected by Sorina's presence (until the reveal). The politics and personal stakes in the plot felt so disjointed even though intellectually I know they weren't. In short, there was no emotional payoff to the political or personal plots despite so much time dedicated to worldbuilding.

And after reading the closing chapter where Sorina talks about how the audience wants Gomorrah the show not the true Gomorrah and that before she met Luca she felt like an onlooker instead of a participant, I realized that's a great closing statement, but I never got the middle chunk of the book that would make me feel satisfied from reading those lines. *shrugs*

The Reveal
I really didn't want ~the reveal~ to be real. It would have been so out of left field if I hadn't figured it out while I was flipping through the pictures (don't flip through the pictures before getting to them as you read, I beg of you). It felt like the development that went into Sorina and Luca's relationship was cheapened because of ~the reveal~ (view spoiler). In addition, while we do get an explanation for Agni's Villiam's actions, it just felt so tacked on since it was essentially explained in a couple of sentences after (view spoiler)


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Reading Progress

November 2, 2018 – Shelved
November 2, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 30, 2018 –
page 10
2.6%
January 13, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 20, 2019 – Started Reading
February 20, 2019 –
page 17
4.43% "Omfg... is Sorina Chinese??? Her homeland has tanghulu I honestly didn’t expect this but alright Foody keeps me fed."
February 20, 2019 –
page 34
8.85%
February 20, 2019 –
page 60
15.63%
February 20, 2019 –
page 86
22.4%
February 20, 2019 –
page 97
25.26% "How come none of the other reviews said some of the Down-Mountain kingdoms were coded Asian???? Bruhhhh"
February 20, 2019 –
page 103
26.82% "Foody brings the food diversity as well."
February 20, 2019 –
page 111
28.91% "So that is to say: He's beauty, he's grace, he's demiromo ace."
February 20, 2019 –
page 114
29.69% "The rep in Foody's books is always so seemless and natural bless"
February 20, 2019 –
page 145
37.76%
February 20, 2019 –
page 163
42.45%
February 21, 2019 –
page 175
45.57%
February 21, 2019 –
page 189
49.22% "I wouldn't call that a bodily need ..."
February 22, 2019 –
page 220
57.29%
February 22, 2019 –
page 260
67.71% "This is a speeding zone for relationship development"
February 22, 2019 –
page 274
71.35%
February 24, 2019 –
page 290
75.52%
February 24, 2019 –
page 334
86.98% "Oof not sure if i like these twists"
February 24, 2019 –
page 346
90.1% "Oof I don't like these developments oof oof oof"
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed
February 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

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