Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody
Release Date -  July 25, 2017
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear. 
I was intrigued by the synopsis of Daughter Of The Burning City immediately. It promised to be filled with a darkly alluring carnival, plenty of magic, and a cast of unforgettable characters. It certainly delivers on this promise, and also has a murder mystery element that only served to increase this novel's already alluring atmosphere.

Amanda Foody's strength as a writer is in creating a setting and atmosphere. These are both found in abundance within the novel. The carnival she has created is vibrant, rich and brought to life with her descriptions. I could almost taste the licorice cherries, and smell the various smells of Gomorrah. It's a world ripe for movie or television adaptation with its descriptions meant to tantalize all the senses.

The characters are also well crafted. Sorina, in particular, is well developed. I do wish that some of the side characters were just as well fleshed out. It was one area where the novel could have improved for me. Outside of Sorina, Luca, and her illusions I didn't feel like the other characters got the same attention. The characters that are given the chance truly do shine. They are the type of characters who mesmerize you because they are entirely unique. The entire premise of the novel is unique, and it's characters only ensure it becomes even more so.

The murder mentioned in the synopsis surprised me in a lot of ways. Mostly in that I cared so much when it happened. The illusions that Sorina calls her family are brought to life via Amanda's character development and you come to care about them. It makes the stakes undeniably higher for the reader. I was worried if there wouldn't be that connection with these illusions, and there absolutely was for me. That connection made me care about the murder mystery and its outcome all the more.

This is a slow, unraveling mystery. I am sure plenty of readers may find the pacing lacking, but I really enjoyed the way the story took its time to reveal itself. The murder mystery is, in my opinion, made all the better by the use of atmosphere and benefits from the pacing because it is a more straight forward mystery. I think if it pacing of the novel was too quick, it wouldn't have held up the way it did. I found the murder mystery to be one of my favourite elements as a result. It is filled with enough intrigue thanks to the magical elements that I was captivated.

I believe this is a stand alone novel, and I very much wish it were not. There are a lot of unexplored plot points left at the end of the novel that would make great jumping off points for further installments. The ending does feel a little rushed and this combined with so much left unexplored has made the latter half of the book less strong in comparison to the first half.

A debut filled with magical world building, and an interesting cast of characters. It's one that offers a glimpse of the talent Amanda Foody currently has, and what it will become. I look forward to whatever she writes next, and to seeing how her skills continue to grow as she comes into her own as a writer. This novel offers, what I feel, is a tantalizing tease of what is to come from this author and is only the beginning. 

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