The Eerie And Creative Story of A Girl With No Eyes: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Posted July 17, 2017 by Nick/ 36 Comments

The Eerie And Creative Story of A Girl With No Eyes: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda FoodyDaughter of the Burning City
by Amanda Foody
Release Date: July 25th 2017
Published by Harlequin Teen
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

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.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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I’ve been so excited to read Daughter of the Burning City. I loved the idea of a circus setting, and with that gorgeous cover, there was no holding me back from this book. This may only be a debut, but it was sweeping, magical and very atmospheric. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Amanda Foody comes up with in the future, because she is brimming with creativity and talent.

There was an almost ethereal quality to the writing in Daughter of the Burning City. It’s not the fastest paced book, but I never found a dull moment in the book. I was absorbed by the magic, the eerie atmosphere and the strange characters. The world building, while I thought could have been expanded a little bit further – it felt like an info-dump at times, was still satisfying enough to be able to envision Gommorah, a traveling festival. It was quirky, but I also found myself wanting to transport myself into this world. It’s very unique! I will admit that the pacing was not always smooth. There are moments when it felt off, but I didn’t feel like they took away from my enjoyment. Don’t go into Daughter of the Burning City expecting an action-packed or twisty story. It might be a fantasy, but with murder mysteries in the midst of it. Though I was able to figure out who was behind the killings, I enjoyed watching the characters working towards solving it.

Just as unique and eerie as the world building, were the characters. The story is told through the voice of Sorrina, a girl with no eyes whose family is a bunch of illusions she created. So intriguing, right? I thought she was the perfect kind of heroine for a story like Daughter of the Burning City. It was heartbreaking to watch as she battled with the sorrow of losing her family members, but she channeled her grief into finding the killer. She strings along Luca on her investigation. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him at first because he was a little secretive, but I grew to really enjoy his character. He was the perfect balance of kind and sarcastic. He and Sorrina grow a sweet romance along the way. It wasn’t the most memorable, but I liked it for the book. The focus was mostly on family, which I thought was refreshing. Sorrina’s family was unusual for sure, but their love for each other was reminiscent of any human loving family. I loved all the characters dearly, and I loved how different they were from each other. They made for such an engaging cast, and it broke part of me when they started dying. 🙁

Daughter of the Burning City was a beautiful and original fantasy debut. It might not have been perfect, but I was entertained throughout. I recommend this one if you’re looking for something fresh in the genre!

What are some of the most unique YA fantasy novels you have read?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • I loved the idea of a circus setting, and with Gommorah being a traveling festival, I was immediately hooked by the summary of Daughter of the Burning City. I’m so happy you enjoyed this debut Nick. Sorrina and Luca sound like great characters. I’m definitely picking this one up. I’m currently reading Wicked Like a Wildfire and loving it. 🙂

    • You will love this one, Kim! It’s right up your alley. 🙂

  • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    Sorrina sounds fascinating! This is a book I’ve been really looking forward to! I’m a slower reader so I worry the pacing and info-dumping you mentioned could become an issue for me but I look forward to giving it a go. Great review!

    • She was really interesting. It’s not a very long book, so maybe if you go in knowing it’s slower-paced it won’t be too much of an issue? I hope you like it!

  • I’ve had my eye on this book for a while now. I love the idea of the circus storyline and magical aspects….and of course I love that cover too. lol! So glad you enjoyed this one, even if the pacing was a little weird sometimes. While I love my romances, sometimes it’s nice if it isn’t the main focus of the story. Great review!

    • I agree! I love a good romance, but it’s nice to have some other focus too. I hope you like it, Julie!

  • This is the first I am hearing of this book. The idea of the circus setting coupled with magic and mystery sounds intriguing. Great review.

    • I thought it was a clever combination, and it worked well in this case! Thank you, Nadene!

  • This one is new to me!! I love me a circus setting so much. I agree the cover is gorgeous. Great review!!

    • Thanks, Grace!

  • It’s really interesting to read an author’s debut, whether it’s right when the book is released, or years later. I recently read JQ’s debut, Splendid (I’ve read it many times before but not recently) and you can see her talent, but it’s not quite there yet.

    Sounds like it was the same way with this one. I’m not a huge fan of the cover, personally. I can’t decide what to focus on. But so glad you enjoyed this one, even if it wasn’t perfect (info dumps are not my favorite). I love the circus setting, though.

    • I haven’t read JQ’s debut. I should though. I have a long backlist of her books to get to! And yeah this definitely felt like a debut but she shows a lot of premise.

  • I haven’t heard of this one before. It sounds SO GOOD!! I’m glad you enjoyed it and the atmosphere sounds amazing. 😀

    • Right? I had to have it just reading that summary.

  • Even if you had a few niggles, it sounds like the atmosphere and the characters made up for the problems.

    • They sure did.

  • I’ve seen this one around but I’ve been hesitant since everyone seems to be giving it 3.5 stars xD
    I mighttt pick it up once I have less books on my immediate tbr *le sigh*
    I’m glad you enjoyed this one (at least most of the time)! Fabulous review <3

    • You should pick it up! 3.5 stars is a good rating! 🙂

  • Jessica @ a GREAT read

    OOoh that sounds like an intriguing read! It kind of sparked an interest for me what with the mystery and circus like setting! Sounds like it was a nice one! Will have to keep an eye on it! Great review!

    • Ooh yes, I think this is one you’d enjoy! It’s right up your alley!

  • I’m about half way through with this one! O agree that there was a bit of info dumping in the beginning but I love the setting. And I find Sorina to be super relatable.

    Also I love how open everyone is with their sexuality!

    • Yeah some of the info-dumping didn’t bother me because I was so intrigued by everything. And right? I loved that too!

  • The slow pace might take a bit of getting used to but i like how original it sounds. Also a big fan of the title – and that rarely happens with me. Lol.

    • It is a very cool title! 🙂

  • Ooh, I’ve been so stoked to read this, and I’m glad you enjoyed it even though you had some issues. I don’t mind slower paced books as long as what’s happening is still worth being invested in, and I like the characters enough to keep going. I’ve been looking for something atmospheric and eerie to read – this sounds perfect. Wonderful review, Nick! 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    • I hope you enjoy this one, Aimal! Thanks! 🙂

  • This sounds quite interesting! I love that it is such a unique take, too! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this one, because I sometimes have trouble with magical circus types, but I really like the idea of it having a murder mystery element, so I will have to check it out! Great review!

    • I have a feeling you will like this one, Shannon!

  • Sounds like this author is off to a bright start with this imaginative story. Sorrina sounds like an interesting character, creating her family with illusions? Very different. Glad to hear you enjoyed all the characters, although bummer that they were being killed off. You know I love a mystery so that’s a plus, too. Lovely review, Nick! 🙂

    • Yeah, she shows a lot of potential! It was a very different kind of story. Thanks, Rachel.

  • I’d actually not heard of this book so it certainly sounds like a decent read and one I may check out some time soon. At least, if I can get a copy from the library I have to be slightly sensible about how I get new books. I always appreciate a good circus setting and the premise of the book sounds pretty good. Thank for yet another new book on my radar, good job I’m never unhappy to have new books to read.

    • I definitely recommend getting this one from the library. It’s being published in the UK too, so I bet it won’t be too hard to find.

  • Hmm I’m still on the fence about this one. I would probably see if I can borrow this before buying because I’ve heard mixed reviews. I do love the fact that there is a focus on family in this eerie, ominous world. But everything else seems a bit meh? Although the whole premise is certainly unique, so that’s keeping me interested. Wonderful review Nick!

    – Aila @ One way or An Author

    • Maybe give it a try if you can find it at your library?

  • Atmospheric circus settings are 100% my catnip. I’m not really sure why, especially because I hated the circus as a kid, but there’s something really magical about them in books. You know I love a good leisurely-paced read too, so I don’t think that would bother me. The characters and world building sound awesome, too. Do you know if this is a standalone?

    • I think you would like this for sure. Yes, it’s a standalone! 🙂