Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Format: eARC (384 pages)
Reality is in the eye of the beholder…
Even among the many unusual members of the travelling circus that has always been her home sixteen year old 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 of 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.
Now she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.
My Rating: ★★★ 1/2
I went into Daughter of the Burning City without too much knowledge of what it actually was about and I think this did me a lot of good as I was able to watch the story unfold before my very eyes.
Daughter of the Burning City is set in Gomorrah, possibly one of the darkest and most mysterious carnivals I have read about. I am a big fan of circus themed books and that was the main reason that I picked this one up. Gomorrah is full of darkness, from the stands and shows to the inhabitants itself. Everyone is hiding something and it is difficult to know who to trust. I’m not sure how much I would enjoy walking around Gomorrah, I think I’d be on edge, but it would certainly be surreal and fantastical!
Our MC is Sorina and I really adored her, I thought she was fierce, protective and incredibly loyal. Not often does she let her emotions get the better of her but when they did I just wanted to snuggle her and make her feel okay. Sorina is a ‘freak’. She has no eyes, yet she can see (I really, really wanted to know more about this and was disappointed that I didn’t!). She is able to create illusions and I loved her illusion family. They were all so different and unique in their own ways and my favourite parts of the book were reading the scenes where they were performing their freak show for the crowds.
When her illusions start getting murdered, something Sorina thought impossible, she embarks on a quest to discover who is behind the atrocities. This is when we meet precious, adorable Luca. I really liked him and thought he was very endearing, even during those moments where I was unsure of his loyalty. The plot had an excellent premise and whilst by the end we do discover who is behind the murders, I felt it took us a VERY long time to get there. Whilst I could appreciate the beauty of the writing and world-building, I would have liked the plot to be a little more exciting and driven forward at a slightly faster pace to capture my attention a little more.
It was refreshing to read a book that isn’t full of the usual tropes, however. There is no ‘strong, perfect’ female lead, Sorina is deformed in the eyes of those around her, certainly not a glamorous lead. There is no love triangle and ‘who is she going to pick’ element which I appreciated and the romance that is there is secondary to the rest of the plot and novel which worked really well. The characters are diverse in many ways including sexuality. There is a lot to praise in this book and I did enjoy reading it.
On the whole this is a dark, mysterious book with a fantastic setting and a host of interesting characters. I just wanted a bit more excitement and pace from the plot to keep me flipping the pages quickly. I’ll definitely be coming back for more from Amanda Foody when her next novel is released in 2018, her writing style is beautiful!
Thanks to HQ Books, Amanda Foody and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you read Daughter of the Burning City? What did you think?
What are your favourite books with a circus/carnival setting?
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Great review! I haven’t read Daughter of the Burning City, but it does sound intriguing. I’ve only read one circus/carnival book, and that’s Caraval, which I did really enjoy. Have you read Caraval? How would you say it compares? 🙂
I have read Caraval and really enjoyed that too. I’d say that there are definitely similar elements but there is more mystery to Daughter of the Burning City and the carnival seems more dark!