Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: Daughter of the Burning City

Title: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Mystery 
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Source: ALA
Format:  ARC

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 (goodreads)

Daughter of the Burning City impressed me with its values and complex characters.

Plot: Sorina had the ability to bring her illusions to life. With her creations, she ran a "freak show" that highlighted her illusions' abilities. Her small family brought her happiness and Sorina seemed to be doing well, until members of her family started turning up dead. After that, this quiet book turned into a race against time to stop the killer and learn his/her motives. 

Daughter of the Burning City wasn't the most action-packed book despite the many murders. I liked how Foody interwove the seemingly isolated actions into a larger scheme and I am happy to admit that I couldn't guess the mystery. Once I started seeing which direction Foody was going, I let out a little gasp because it was just so smart. 

Characters: Amanda Foody won me over with her characters; I grew to love each of them and I loved how accepting the people of Gomorrah were. She made a point of highlighting sexuality in this novel and I loved how each character was nonchalant about it. There were discussions of homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality and no one blinked an eye when speaking of preference. Sorina herself went through an amazing journey. She was insecure and struggling to find her place in Gomorrah, and I loved hearing her thoughts; they were valid and they were human. Her growth surprised me the most and I rooted for her until the end. 

Worldbuilding: Gomorrah, the traveling circus where Sorina and her family lived, was a world of itself. It was large and it held its own secrets. What interested me the most was the surrounding cities that the traveling circus visited. Their values were vastly different from the people of Gomorrah and I was intrigued by their desperation for purity. I would have loved to explore both these worlds so more in a more authentic way. In the beginning, I felt down by a lot of info-dumping that I thought could have been delivered in a more natural way. 
Short N Sweet: Daughter of the Burning City was a mesmerizing debut that will help you rooting for a young woman just trying to find where she belonged. 


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