King of Fools by Amanda Foody
Published by Inkyard Press on April 30, 2019
Series: The Shadow Game #2
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 384 pages Source: NetGalley
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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.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Ace Of Shades, Erienne Salta liked dresses and devoured cookies like they were oxygen. She was naive and interesting and determined and had grit. I miss that Enne. Because in King Of Fools, our protagonists seem like entirely different people. Levi is all over the place, and the charm that made me enjoy him in the first book seems to be lost now because Levi’s just a hot mess. The darling bite of his personality seem to have shifted to Jac. And Lola, so full of promise? She faded to the background. We have a lot of new faces – Sophia and Grace are my favorites – but everything feels spread to thin and people start to blend together. The quirks are lost to the politics, but those are all over the place. There are secrets and suspense, but asking a lot of questions and only answering half of them left me numb to the suspense and bored.
That’s the problem with King of Fools. It’s not bad. It’s just not memorable. Every chapter starts with a legend of the North Side, but they aren’t relevant to the following chapter. In fact, we’re continually teased with the past street lord Veil, but as a specter and a memory alone. Amanda Foody seems to be trying to tell a lot of stories in this one – for a lot of characters from the past, present, and future – but she’s overextending herself. In stead of telling one really good story, she’s halfway telling five different ones.
Time feels like it passes too quickly – I thought we had been cramming everything into a couple days until a line of dialogue mentioned two weeks. I think the point of this book was that the gangs assert their place and the protagonists step up, only I never felt that solidified. Also, we were left with the Shadow Game at the end of Ace Of Shades and I expected, given the ending, that the action would ramp up here. It never happened – the world got bigger, the action stayed slow and the plot dragged while the timing felt jagged. This was definitely filler and we’re still waiting for a resolution to the Shadow Game.
I think this is largely my problem with Amanda Foody’s writing. I like it, or rather, I want so very much to like it. Even Daughter of the Burning City, which I adored, left me wanting more. I keep trying these books, certain that this time she’s going to wow me, but I’m constantly left but unsatisfied. Another example – there’s a major death near the end here, but it’s so sudden and the story moved on so fast, you don’t really feel the full impact as the reader. The character deserved better.
Fans of Ace Of Shades are going to devour King of Fools. Amanda is an enthusiastic writer and a lovely person, and I’m going to continue to support her work even when I’m not in love with it… so if you’re like me and come in hoping Ace would build the story and things were going to get incredible and intense, it looks like we’ll have to wait again until the last book in the trilogy.
All that said, I really appreciated that Amanda’s cat, Jellybean, got a shout out in the acknowledgements. That made me smile.