King of Fools
- Author: Amanda Foody
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: April 30, 2019
- Publisher: Inkyard Press
- Series: The Shadow Game #2
CONTENT WARNING: murder, blood, mention of addiction, violence, mention of torture
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 Séance, 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 the estranged son of mafia donna Vianca Augustine. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by Vianca’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: sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…
Or die as legends.
I’m absolutely loving this series! After where Ace of Shades left off, I couldn’t wait to jump into this book, although I had no idea what I was really getting into. This book is a lot darker and more complex, where politics and crime intersect, along with love and betrayal.
In this book, we also get another POV. Instead of just alternating between Enne and Levi, we also get to see the world through Jac’s eyes, and it was so interesting to get into his head. Each of these characters is inextricably linked to the other, but they’re also functioning independently and working towards their own, unique destiny.
“Vianca wanted righteousness. Levi wanted glory. And she, Enne realized, wanted revenge.”
Enne is coming into her own power as a street lord, but still forced to play the role of a society lady. And she’s still bound to Vianca, who seems to be buckling under the pressure of the politics she’s involved in. Naturally, this means that both Enne and Levi are involved in the politics too, as an election looms on the horizon. I loved watching Enne become unapologetically herself, and learning to stand on her own rather than relying on others. She became a stronger character, even when she’s between a rock and a hard place.
“She had been a lost, naïve, spoiled girl overwhelmed by the City of Sin. And she wasn’t sorry for that. Now she was no longer lost, or naïve, or spoiled. She was hardened, and strong, and heartbroken. She had made terrible, difficult choices—including murder—but she had survived. She wouldn’t apologize for that.”
Levi is struggling a lot too. He lost a lot in the last book, but hasn’t lost his desire to write his own story and become a legend. He’s between a rock and a hard place too, making wagers that are at odds with each other. And while he’s been lucky in the past, will that luck continue or run out? In order to achieve his goals, he has to win back the support of his gang, but that isn’t an easy task. And this book really highlights Levi’s shortcomings, rather than glamorizing his strengths. Multiple people throughout the story point out his flaws, although I wasn’t sure what it would take for him to start to work on them. Levi struggles with doubt over the kind of person he is.
“He was trying to be a better person than the one who’d stolen from the Irons and [redacted]. But he was starting to doubt that goodness was in his nature, if the right thing felt like a battle and the wrong thing felt like surrender.”
Jac was a welcome POV, because we get to see him through his own eyes, rather than through the lens of others. He’s a complicated character as well, since prior to this he’s been just kind of portrayed as someone who follows along with the desires of others, yet his own desires had been overlooked. As someone in recovery from an addiction, we get to see how deeply he struggles with that, but also in getting others to actually hear him.
“The ones who never wanted to be players. That was how Lola had described the two of them. That was who he was; the periphery of someone else’s story. And never, not once in his life, had anyone ever thought of him otherwise. He’d never realized until this moment how much he wanted someone to.”
“Jac had used Lullaby to fill himself whole, if only for a few hours. To make him forget how he felt trapped and lousy and worthless, only to make him feel twice as awful when he woke.”
In addition, we get to know Lola a little better, while also meeting a few new major players in both society and the underworld scene. And we finally get to learn even more about the other gangs, and how they interact with each other. As the situation in New Reynes is getting closer to boiling over into open conflict, the characters are forced to place their trust in each other, regardless of whether they are actually allies or worthy of that trust.
“The Irons might have betrayed him, but they were the slickest, most cunning tricksters in the city, and Levi had spent years scouting his gangsters and building their clientele. He wouldn’t turn his back on them yet. But regaining their trust would mean taking deadly risks, rising up when he should be lying low.”
Although the story gets complex with the politics involved, it’s still not difficult to follow. The interactions between all the different characters and factions are going to lead to betrayal somewhere in the story, and it was hard to predict many of the plot twists, even if there were a few that I saw coming. Overall, this story is fast-paced and exciting, and I enjoyed reading it. However, the ending makes it impossible for me to think about anything other than reading the last book in the series. I have high hopes for it.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 15
Categories: Book Review