What an underwhelming reading experience.
This book started getting a lot of buzz a couple of months ago, and I was instantly hooked when I read the synopsis. It promised street gangs, casino families and a lot of excitement. Plus, the early reviews are raving and everyone is in love with this, so I was super excited to get to it. Unfortunately, while it does deliver on some of these aspects this book left a lot to be desired for me.
In this story, we follow a proper young lady Enne Salta, as she arrives to New Reynes, dubbed the City of Sin, in search of her missing mother. Her only lead is Levi Glaisyer, a street lord and they form an unlikely alliance that leads them on a dangerous search.
I had a lot of issues with the story, but my main one was that the characters fell super flat for me. I can’t really pin point what it was, but I was seriously underwhelmed by them. Enne was completely insufferable to me. I really dislike the trope of a proper young lady being corrupted and realizing that she isn’t really such a goody two shoes as she thought she was. We were constantly beaten over the head with the fact that, perhaps, Enne’s soul was actually dark and tainted. As for Levi, he was an interesting character, although I found him to be inconsistent at times. I did however enjoy a lot that we got bisexual and POC rep with him and I think that’s great. I also felt like Levi and Enne’s dynamic developed too fast, too soon and I wasn’t sure in what exactly it was grounded. I felt like that for a lot of different relationships in the novel. I really couldn’t wrap my head around why exactly they were friends and how and when it actually happened.
As for the secondary characters, I really liked Lola and I think she is a fantastic character, one of the high points of the novel for me. Jac on the other hand, I felt nothing for and I almost forgot he was there.
This book is also really slow and I feel like the resolution in the end happened all too quickly. And also, the plot seems to develop in a way that seems too convenient. It didn’t seem like the plot developed naturally, rather it was a lot of loose ends that were tied into a nice little bow, but it all felt kind of convenient. There’s build up that leads onto an underwhelming conclusion, in my opinion.
As always, I have a problem with the worldbuilding. This is a YA Fantasy and this always happens to me. First of all, New Reynes lacked any real novelty for me. It’s set up like Ketterdam in Six of Crows and it definitely reminded me of it, which annoyed me. Moreover, the world was confined to the city only. We got nothing of the rest of the world. We know nothing besides New Reynes and it really bothered me. You see that a lot in YA Fantasy and I was hoping that the book would open up the world a bit more, but it never did. I also felt like we didn’t really get a good sense of how the world works and all of its machinery. I was quite underwhelmed by that.
Honestly, this was quite an underwhelming read for me. It took me over a month to read and I almost quit a number of times. I feel like it had potential, but it did not really deliver on it. For me personally, this was a miss and I am not quick to recommend it.
Final verdict: 2.5 stars
I would love to hear from you! Did you read this one yet? Is it on your TBR? Have you read Amanda Foody’s previous book?
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