King of Fools
by Amanda Foody
“A pistol painted pink was just as lethal”
In this second installment after Ace of Shades, Enne has fully embraced the darkness of New Reynes and seeks to not only survive but to thrive in a city that has tried at every corner to beat her. Even though Enne and Levi escaped the inescapable shadow game, they seem to have bigger issues at their doorstep as wanted criminals by the city and lords of their own empires in the seedy underbelly.
I really enjoyed the pacing of the first book and the set up to the city of New Reynes and though the second didn’t follow quite the same pace as the first, the characters development and the exploration of this fascinating city continued to hold my interest.
The characters were frustrating in this book. Firstly, we gained the perspective of Jac in this installment where the first was only told through the perspectives of Enne and Levi. This was jarring as a reader as it is difficult to get into the head of a character and care about his story as much as the others when we were not given as much information about him in the first book. After the initial first few of his chapters his story became quite interesting and seemed to lead much of the book as Enne and Levi fell flat. Much of the pull of these characters was the chemistry between them, both as a romantic pairing but just for witty dialogue as well, and because they spend so much of the book apart, we as readers lose this chemistry that hooked us in the first place. Now, despite my disappointment at losing the connection between these two characters, I was really excited about the introduction of a few new characters that were very fun to read. The relationship of Enne’s Spirits, particularly through herself, Lola, and Grace was refreshing for the story and in building Enne’s character up and the introduction of Sophia was a mystery that made me want to continue reading. Overall, the characters felt adrift in this second book, where it seemed much was happening in their stories but behind a curtain that we couldn’t see.
The plot seemed to be going in several different directions and as I mentioned with the characters, driven mostly by the introduction of Jac’s perspective. It felt very much like a second book in that much of what was happening wasn’t actually happening in the book but set things off to come to a conclusion in the third. I would have liked to follow Enne more as she seemed to be going through the most character development and yet the reader was only privy to glimpses. This could have been done to set up something mysterious for the third book but it left her story feeling flat in this second one.
Overall, the story retained the same feeling as the first and offered a unique setting and interesting duality between right and wrong but very much felt like a second book ready to set up the events of a final showdown. I will be interested to see how the third book ties them all together.