“Maybe your soul didn’t break like a bone.
Maybe it broke like a promise.”
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…
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.
DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
EXPECTED APRIL 30, 2019
TW: death (including murder), violence (including gun violence), addiction, smoking, drinking, gambling, overdose, medical scenes and abuses, graphic injury, gore, implied child abuse
A long while back, I read Aces of Shades, and I loved it.
It was loaded up with cons and danger and characters in far, far over their heads, among other things. The tension was high, as were the stakes, and the characters transformed so much by the end of the novel. I couldn’t help but be invested.
AND NOW WE’RE BACK FOR ROUND TWO.
Though King of Fools is not quite as action-based as Ace of Shades was, it takes on a dangerous political cast as Levi and Enne deal with the omertas placed on them by Vianca Augustine, and the dangers those omertas create in their lives as criminals. Enne has to confront new responsibilities under the guise of Séance, fashioning her own gang from the ground up, while Levi teeters on the edge of total freedom or complete loss. The stakes have climbed higher since we last saw everyone, and the strain is beginning to show in divides between them all.
Excitingly, new characters were introduced, so many of them queer (this book is RELENTLESSLY QUEER, GUYS; so many characters are just casually queer and it makes me extremely happy), and the POV cast welcomes Jac into the fold, finally giving Levi’s second a full voice in the series. I especially liked getting into Jac’s head because he’s both level-headed and extremely high-strung. Part of it is because he so often has to chase after Levi’s impulses and fix everything, but there’s an element of heaviness on his shoulders that stems from a long and strained past. It’s possible, actually, his his POVs were my favorite because they were the most action-packed of all the POVs, especially in the later escapades he gets into with a new character who is equal parts delightful and concerning.
That’s not to say Levi and Enne’s POVs were less interesting, though. Both of them had new relationships to sort out, romantic and non-romantic alike, and I liked the challenges set on them now that they had to act independently of one another so often. They make an amazing team when they’re on the same side, but their relationship is on the rocks for so many reasons, and I felt like the tensions unfurled incredibly well.
Honestly, I think the only thing that kept this from being 5 full stars is that I sometimes got so swept up in trying to untangle the consequences of all the political maneuvering going on that I had to go back and reread passages a lot. I ultimately got my head around things, but it was a little frustrating to do that so often, especially when it was a matter of untangling exactly what was said rather than inferring consequences left to subtext.
But at the end of the day, I’m thrilled with the direction that King of Fools has taken, and absolutely dying to learn more about anything to do with the third book. I’m guessing it’ll be Queen of Something, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get surprised with something else. Either way, this book has closed so many chapters and opened up so many concerning new ones, and the conclusion of the trilogy promises to be explosive. Just the way it should be, if you ask me…
And hey, if you haven’t preordered yet, now is your last chance, because it’s out tomorrow, April 30th! If you submit your receipt to Foody, you’ll receive a short story dealing with Vianca Augustine, which is incredibly tempting but potentially terrifying. What are you waiting for?
So, are you looking forward to King of Fools? Lucky enough to have also read an ARC? Ready to form a support group to deal with the ending and the upcoming wait for the third book? In my case, tbh, the answer is all three, but let’s chat anyway!