Hello Humans! Today I’m reviewing a much-anticipated sequel. I first encountered Amanda Foody when I read Daughter of the Burning City – which I absolutely adored. I felt like her next book Ace of Shades got a lot more hype in the social media sphere and for good reason, while DOTBC is my preference out of the two, Ace of Shades is far less…weird and contains a lot of the key things that are very popular in YA fantasy fiction at the moment. I did enjoy Ace of Shades and I was excited to see how this book and Amanda’s writing had developed since her debut.
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…
On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.
Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.
As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…
Or die as legends.
Could I remember anything that happened in book one? Could I heck. Did I read on anyway and hope that I’d remember as I went along? Of course I did.
While the events of King of Fools span a number of months, the action picks up very soon after the end of Ace of Shades so actually it wasn’t too hard to work out/remember who was who and where alliances lie. That’s especially true because Foody opted to go down the ‘I brought them together and now I will pull them apart’ kind of sequel route. This is one of my preferred routes for a second book to go down as I think it forces characters to grow independently and you get more of a sense of their own personalities and desires outside of their book one relationship.
I definitely felt like that worked for Levi and Jac, both of whom grew in my estimation throughout this book. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with Levi at the end of Ace of Shades, at least, not as much as I felt like the book wanted me to be. But King of Fools gives him a great deal more personality and drive, I felt like you got to understand his motivation a little more. Jac, I confess I barely remembered from book one, but I definitely remember him now – a great example of a flawed character attempting to make changes.
Did I feel the same way about Enne, arguably a character I should have loved? She’s feisty, she’s unashamedly female, she’s figuring out her place in the world – I should have adored her – so what didn’t quite hit home? I think I didn’t quite fine Enne believable. I appreciate that there’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief in a fantasy novel, but Enne felt like she was a bit of an archetypal character both when she was being courageous and when she was being vulnerable. I found myself much more interested in the other female characters in the book, Enne’s ‘girl gang’ were great to read and in those interactions, I didn’t mind her too much. But I’m incredibly picky when it comes to heroines and I suppose I’m being overly harsh towards her – she just wasn’t my favourite. (I also felt like she spent too much of this book mooning over love lost but that’s just me…).
I was pretty much sold in the last half/third of this book, the plot really picks up, there are some great twists and turns and some fabulous betrayals – I would expect nothing less from this series. This book and Ace of Shades are absolutely worth reading especially if you’re a YA fantasy fan – but you an aesthetic that leans a little more modern than traditional ‘vaguely medieval’.
There is, apparently, a third book coming in this series, which I am now actually quite excited to read. I think this is a great example of a writer developing their craft across a series and, while I’m still obsessed with the weirdness of DOTBC, I’m most certainly warming towards this series the more I read.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
King of Fools is available now!
What say you? Will you be reading King of Fools? Let me know in the comments below!