Title: King of Fools
Author: Amanda Foody
Series: The Shadow Game #2
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: April 30th, 2019 (Inkyard Press)
Synopsis: 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.
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for providing me with an ARC of this book!
With the Chancellor dead at the end of the Shadow Game, Levi and Enne are now wanted criminals. The political situation in the city takes a nosedive and a street war seems imminent as the South Side begins to take a harsher approach with the gangs. In the middle of all this, Harrison Augustine, Vianca’s estranged son, returns to the City of Sin, intent on bringing down his mother’s empire. His offer to Levi, if it works, will be exactly what he needs to free himself of Vianca’s Omerta – something that is becoming more critical as Vianca has given him a very tight deadline to prove that he can establish himself as a lord to the Irons again. Enne, having assumed her mother’s identity of Seance in the Shadow Game, begins to build her own girl gang.
Jac, meanwhile, accepts a mission that takes him into Torren territory, putting him face to face with some of the darkest moments in his past.
Where Ace of Shades was mainly getting to know the lay of the land, King of Fools is a game of politics, whether it be Levi retaking the Irons, the interactions between the street lords, or the scheming of the Families to sway the election in their favour. The other prevalent theme in this book is regarding legends. From the brief glimpses into the prominent figures in New Reynes’ past to the influence they have on the central characters, they are a recurring theme throughout. Levi with his unquenchable ambition continues to chase glory. Enne, so used to being in the background, unnoticed, feels like she is finally in a place where she fits in, where she can be someone. And Jac, the loyal friend, is tired of being part of someone else’s story – he wants his own legend. All of them yearn to make their mark on history – and their inner thoughts and the emotional turmoil that accompanies each of these characters is beautifully portrayed.
I was looking forward to some amazing character development for Enne, now that she is past the discovering her identity phase. Unfortunately, she got on my nerves for most of this book. The girl gang she puts together, later known as the Spirits, was nothing at all like what a street gang has been made out to be. There was so much potential there, but the end effect was very childish when compared to the other gangs like the Scarhands or the Doves. Apart from that, the whole investment idea they come up with, while definitely smart, hardly feels like something gangs would buy into. It would have been far more interesting to see Enne use her talent to create volts and the consequences that would no doubt arise from that – and while I’m on that vein, I’m particularly annoyed that Enne’s heritage was brushed to the side for the most part. For me, the largest question mark is Enne’s past, and it feels like in this book, Enne learned about her identity, the truth of how Lourdes died and then swore to get revenge on the Phoenix Club without a shred of further curiosity as to her own past – and then going on to make some remarkably reckless moves.
Levi and Jac on the other hand, were amazing. I was initially confused as to where Jac’s story was going and why it merited a separate POV, but that plotline was what held the story together while everything else was (slowly) moving into place. And Levi…well, his life has just been turned upside down and he’s trying desperately to pull things together. The list of people he trusts is basically down to Enne and Jac – and with bounties on all their heads, everything is just a huge mess for him. Levi’s arc was by far my favourite in this book.
And talk about an explosive ending! With how this book was progressing, I thought that that particular piece of information was never going to be revealed, much less by that character. And it never ceases to amaze me just how many double-crosses seem to be going on in this series! Literally, I think everyone has betrayed everyone else by the end – and I find I can still be surprised when it happens again. Pacing wise, I found it quite annoying that none of the real action starts until well after the halfway point because the board was being set up for so long. Yes, this takes place over several months as opposed to the ten days of the first book, but the last chapters felt noticeably rushed.
If you enjoyed Ace of Shades, this is definitely worth the read. Part one will likely test your patience, but once it picks up, the action doesn’t stop. Overall, this is an amazing sequel just as suspenseful and engrossing as the last.
I can’t wait for the final book in this series! Are you looking forward to reading King of Fools? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Other reviews in this series: