Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets… and secrets hide in every shadow.
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.
I wish I liked this more than I did. This book was just a fountain of good ideas and good intentions. But to me, it never really reached its full potential.
The story takes place in the City of Sin and follows Enne and Levi. Enne arrives at the city in search for her mother, and she’s in way over her head. At the city she meets Levi, a street lord and con-man, who has decided to help her find her mother in exchange for a lot of money.
So there are a few things that didn’t work for, and that’s Enne and the pacing of the book. Enne is incredibly snobbish, and she does turn into badass assassin from ballerina by the end of the book, but I never bought it. It felt insincere and a bit dramatic.
Then there was the pacing, which was kind of all over the place. There were chapters were there were way too many things happening at once. And then we would go chapters and chapters where nothing happened.
But this book wasn’t all bad, hence the three stars. I loved how detailed the world building was. You can tell Amanda put a lot of effort into this. Magic was fully integrated into the story, and I loved the idea of the magic system. Basically everyone is born with talents. Some talents are pretty fucking cool, like fire. Others are normal, like being an amazing dancer, and others are kind of lame, like a math talent. (Let’s just say if I made it into a fantasy world and my talent was math, I’d revolt!)
I also liked that this was a diverse YA fantasy book. It’s rare to find that in fantasy books. Levi is a black and unapologetically bisexual MC. Let me tell you, my heart gets so happy every time I read about a bisexual character. Also, Enne’s mother is a gender-fluid character!
I really liked Levi. He was the perfect mix of badass and empathtic. He genuinely cares for his gang and he’s so sad whenever he can’t pay them fully. I loved reading his chapters.
I think if I had gone into this with lower expectations I would have liked it more? I was so hyped and excited to read this that nothing really managed to meet my expectations.