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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.
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!