Daughter of the Burning Cityby Amanda Foody
Published by HarperCollins, Harlequin Teen on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
It is HARD to find a good mystery in the young adult genre. Recently, more of these types of stories have made their way to the young adult book shelves. Daughter of the Burning City is a unique mystery because it is a mystery set in a fantastical world of a moving “circus/city”. You never know what possible twists could be coming your way 🙂
Sorina is the adopted daughter of Villiam, the manager of the Gomorrah Festival. This festival is actually an ancient city that moves from town to town. It is filled with “freaks”, criminals, and general debauchery. You get the idea, right? Sorina lives in the cleaner, safer front part of the city putting on a freak show nightly. She, herself, is deemed a “freak” by northerners who fear people with special abilities. That is why a lot of people hide in the relative safety of Gomorrah.
Sorina is a rare illusion-worker, who is also blind. She’s conjured up a family that performs and lives with her. And each member of her family has a specific role in her life. There’s a sister, a mother-figure, an uncle… But she and her family all know each of them are illusions. Until someone starts murdering them one by one.
I was absolutely blown away by the world building in this story. I can’t imagine how Ms. Foody plotted out or outlined this story. The mystery is very intricately woven, full of twists and minute details. I found myself going back in the story to double check details 🙂 I don’t want to give too much of the world building away but the characters are incredibly creative and thoroughly developed (obviously some more than others because, hey, Sorina made a pretty big family!)
I’ll admit, I sort of figured out the “who-done-it” BUT I did not see the twist towards the end! Wow… just… ∗boom∗
The actual pacing of the story was okay. The beginning was kind of hard for me to get what was going on because Ms. Foody used action and dialogue to introduce the world. That is hard for me sometimes. And in the middle, the story lagged a wee bit for me but it had to do mainly with my attention span. Ms. Foody spent quite a bit of time laying out the mystery so the reader had ample time to figure out what was going on for themselves. I think it was in the midst of this that I got bored a bit. I read the eARC so this may have eventually been cut from the final story b/c the scene I’m thinking was kind of bulky. Meh… what do I know? I’m not a writer. And this is a young adult book so there is that!
Overall, I really enjoyed this standalone and based on the creativity of the story and stupendous worldbuilding, I can’t wait to see what Ms. Foody does next!