Daughter of the Burning City
By Amanda Foody
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy/LGBTQ+
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.
Daughter of the Burning City was another Pride Month selection for me. Having sat on my shelf for too long and seeing all of the positive feedback for Amanda Foody’s latest release Ace of Shades, it only made sense to pick this up now. I have to admit that my expectations were pretty high with the recent buzz. Fortunately, they were met.
Sorina is a 16-year-old illusion worker (the only one born in over 100 years) living in the city of Gomorrah Festival, a traveling circus. She has the ability to create illusions that others can see and feel. They are part of the festival’s freak show and the only family Sorina knows. But they are not truly living creations. Or so she thought until one is murdered and she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous search for answers and a means to protect her family. With the help of Luca, a gossip worker, she soon uncovers a disturbing scheme that will forever change the life she has known and leave her questioning everything and everyone.
What I appreciated..
- Characters, characters, characters! Amanda Foody has created a diverse and rewarding cast starting with narrator young Sorina who is incredibly devoted to her family and those she cares about. Born with no eyes and a strange gift, she is perhaps one of the more unique protagonists I have encountered. Supporting characters range from an odd ensemble of illusions to Luca (my personal favorite) who is demisexual (presented in a very natural and viable manner), which is something I rarely encounter in books ❤
- Do you know what else the above means? ^ No insta-love!
- The Gomorrah Festival is an incredible setting that offers readers something worthy of exploration. Brimming with magic and the mysterious, it is the perfect environment for this whodunnit plot.
- The writing is fluid and engaging, carrying Sorina’s story with ease while maintaining an air of the unknown that draws the reader through each page effortlessly.
Challenges some may encounter..
- Sorina lacks eyes yet maintains the ability to see all that is happening around her. We can only assume this is through some magical talent such as her ability to create illusions, however, I found myself frustrated with the lack of explanation.
- The ending was slightly predictable but not disappointing.
Daughter of the Burning City boasts an incredible setting with a fun plot, but the real reward lies within the dynamic characters. Lacking the typical tropes, it offers readers something refreshing and worthy of a slow, savory read.
Savor over a cup of Lapsang Souchong or your favorite smoky blend.
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