Diamond City – Francesca Flores – ARC Review

Title: Diamond City
Series: Diamond City #1
Author: Francesca Flores
Genre: YA, Fantasy
: January 28th, 2020 (Wednesday Books)

: Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…
unless they risk everything.”

Diamond City follows the story of Aina Solis, who is rescued from a life on the streets of Kosin by a gang lord and trained as an assassin. Years later, she is given her toughest job yet, but also the one that could be her way out of the gang. All Aina has ever wanted was to fulfill her debt to her boss, Kohl Pavel, and open her own tradehouse – and Kohl agrees, as long as she successfully completes this one last big job for him. But when the assassination attempt goes wrong, she finds herself for the first time in years, not only out of the boss’ protection, at the mercy of Kosin’s cutthroat streets, but also caught in an increasingly dangerous game of politics.

This book reminded me a lot of Ace of Shades, which I really enjoyed. On the other hand, portraying Aina as a badass assassin didn’t really work in my opinion. It feels like an overdone character type by now. For someone who’s been in the business for quite a few years, she’s startlingly reckless, and not at all subtle or discreet. When it comes to character development, I felt that it was very surface level for everyone except Aina, for whom we get several glimpses into her past and her struggles before Kohl picked her up. She makes for an interesting morally grey character, particularly after she strikes the deal with Ryuu Hirai, intending to betray him all along. There was also little to no romance in this book which is a plus point in my book, apart from Aina being (unhealthily) obsessed with her boss, but there were hints of a possible love triangle for the sequel and I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, since that, as most of you my regular readers know by now, is one of the tropes I am truly fed up of.

I really liked the world of Diamond City, particularly the history the city has with the rather unique religion revolving around blood magic, and the aftereffects of the civil war that made it illegal. The book does take its time getting to the actual point of the story, but there is so much going on, that with all the unexpected twists, the narrative stays interesting. However, until the point where the story did pick up, I would have probably skipped the sequel. The ending did feel a little rushed as well, with how quickly everything was resolved. Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced read, a solid fantasy debut, and I’m interested to see where this goes in the sequel.

Diamond City released on January 28th, 2020.

Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:

5 thoughts on “Diamond City – Francesca Flores – ARC Review

  1. Lindsey February 2, 2020 / 5:20 pm

    When I first starting reading your review, I wasn’t sure it was going to be a positive one given the issues with the characters. Lack of development is always annoying. But it sounds like the actual plot really made up for that and it was a good read. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • journeyintofantasy February 8, 2020 / 11:58 am

      Yes, this was one of those rare books where the plot carried the story and it still turned out rather good overall. Given that this is a series though, I have rather high hopes regarding character development in the sequel, since the way things left off in this book provides some interesting possibilities. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seema October 17, 2020 / 1:59 am

    I like your style of writing. Great job!! Keep doing the good work.


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