Book Title: Daughter Of The Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: YA Fiction, Fantasy
Pub Date: 07/25/17
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.
Bravo! Well done! Seriously, I can’t think of a more unique book in the Young Adult sphere that has felt so relevant in quite some time. How can a fantasy be relevant you ask? Well, this particular story, while clearly a fantasy set in another time and place was completely allegorical to our world today. I was blown away by so many aspects that I think I’ll list below the things I loved most about this book, then you can be the judge of whether it may be the right read for you as well.
- It’s lack of major cliches– It was SO refreshing to find a book geared toward the young adult/new adult age range that didn’t contain all of the tired, outlandish cliches that most novels in the genre feature so prominently. There are no nauseating love triangles, no sparkly white, beautiful, and unaware lead females, and this certainly isn’t erotica being touted as a “fantasy”. No, this story was complex, well thought, and equal parts subtle and exciting. I felt the lack of all the cheap tactics that so many books push ended up making me connect early on with the story and stay invested throughout.
- The romance isn’t the plot focus– Again, it was incredibly invigorating picking up a fantasy that had an intriguing and mysterious plot that wasn’t overshadowed by instalove. There is a budding romance that takes place, but it is by no means the main focus and it also contains a deeper meaning and purpose to the overall story, which I found incredibly genius.
- The writing was to be savored– You could catagorize the first half of the book as a slow burn; the author found a fantastic way of including the proper world building without forcing an info dump on the reader. There was a subtle, slow build in the beginning which intrigued me and made me want to read further to find out just how everything would play out. Props to Foody for producing a story that was creative and original while including aspects of mythology and the Bible (with her own spin) to weave together a reading experience so unique I’m hard pressed to find another like it.
- The characters are diverse in a natural way– I won’t harp on this, but I’m always pleased to find a plethora of diverse characters in a book and there are more than enough here to keep the pickiest reader satisfied.
- There are illustrations included throughout the book– So my ARC didn’t include the actual illustrations, but from the pages that describe what the final copies would feature, I think you’ll be blown away. Personally I’m going to find a finished copy so that I can see what they look like because that just adds an entirely new layer of awesome to these illusions that Sorina created.
- The cover is purple- Purple=Gorgeous!
So there you have it folks! I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough reasons in my book to give a novel a try. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more from Ms. Foody in the near future; she has another book coming out in 2018 and I already have my eyes peeled for it. If you enjoy young adult fantasy that is plot driven with light romance and spectacular world building, pick this one up. I think readers of magical carnivals will be more than pleased with this novel, and this is the type of book that can be enjoyed by all ages, as it doesn’t really have that cheesy teen feel that so many young adult novels tend to harbor today.
*Many thanks to the publisher for my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here!