Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual references, child prostitution, trigger warnings for suicide and rape, violence, gore, gambling, drinking, and drug use and references)
Disclaimer: None, I received this book in my BluBearBazaar April bag.
Synopsis: 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, her only lead is a 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.
Oh boy, I feel like I lost all my earnings in a poker game. So, the good news about this new release is that this is an authentic young adult novel. It actually borders on new adult with all of the references this book has. This book does take place in a reimagined Las Vegas though so you kinda have to expect it going into this book. Anyways, I thought the premise behind this book was amazing and so intriguing. I loved Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City and I thought that she could bring her special brand of weirdness to this novel to make it a spectacular read.
However, I was mistaken. This book is really clunky, meaning that there is a whole lot of story in this book but with little plot to drive it forward. The characters are very one dimensional and I feel no connection to them. The events in this book are predictable and the romance is very awkward. The writing is all over the place and it tries so hard to emulate Six of Crows, but it falls flat on its face. I think the main problem with this book is the lack of world building we are presented with. The book is very confusing for the reader and there are things mentioned throughout this book that aren’t ever brought up again or are vague or foreign to the reader. The characters don’t have much of a personality and it lacks their own backstory to make the characters memorable. The book also alternates between POVs of Enne and Levi, both of whom make idiotic decisions constantly. For a street criminal and a “proper lady”, you’d think they’d have avoided many of the issues they both faced. The book also gives characters powers but does little to explain these powers and the magic behind them and gives characters plot conveniences to escape detection from our main characters. In short, this book is a hot mess and needed further editing before being presented to the world.
Verdict: Fold and go home while you’re on top or risk losing it all… in this book.