Aaaah it’s been almost a month since I published a blog post. I’m such a bad blogger! I’ve barely read anything recently – not because I’ve been in a reading slump, but because I’ve been so insanely busy. My sister and I went to London to visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Leavesden and the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library. I’ll be writing a blog post all about that!
For now, I’m going to share my review of a book I got at YALC this year: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but I finally got there in the end!
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.
Daughter of the Burning City was one of the books I planned to read for the Halloween Readathon I (sort of) took part in. It definitely had a lot of spooky elements, and it was a perfect book to read with Halloween approaching.
Twists & Turns
You probably know by now that I love a book with twists and turns. This book is amazing story with insane plot twists that I didn’t see coming. There were a few times when things happened that I thought were a little obvious. However, these were all flipped on their heads and the story went in a direction that was completely unexpected. I usually find it boring when a plot is predictable and I can see the end coming from a mile off (doesn’t everyone?) so I love finding a book with great twists that keep me on my toes!
Another Circus Story?
There are a fair few well-known circus-themed novels out there at the moment, especially in YA. There’s The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (which I still need to read!), Caraval by Stephanie Garber, and Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield. It’s something I’ve only started reading recently, and I really like them. I wonder though how many circus stories there can be before plots start to repeat, so how different could Daughter of the Burning City be?
The answer: very different. I absolutely loved the circus element and got completely lost in the descriptions of the main town, Gomorrah, and the surrounding areas. The story so very different from the handful of other circus-themed books I’ve read. I think it’s because this book is more creepy with elements of a mystery novel, rather than fantasy alone. The descriptions throughout the whole story are perfect and I could imagine everything so vividly, from the colours and smells to the clothes they wear and the heat of the torches.
Characters and LGBT!
This book has so many different characters, but every one of them is explored in depth so we really get to know their quirks and character traits. One thing that I especially love is that there are LGBT characters – and not just that, but their sexuality is not important to the story AT ALL. I love this so much! Sexuality being used solely as a plot device is one of my ultimate pet peeves and it can ruin a story for me. If there are characters who are LGBT just because they are, it’s so refreshing. This story has a bisexual protagonist, a gay female character and an asexual male. Hallelujah!
While on the subject of LGBT, there was one small detail that made me want to take off half a star from my rating. There’s a character in the book who always hangs out with ‘prettyworkers’, and a character mentions the fact that this person not wanting sex or romance with prettyworkers is abnormal and weird. They use this as a reason not to trust him. This comment made me feel a bit uncomfortable and I had to reread it to check that’s definitely what they said. However, once I realised that they were trying to pick holes in literally everything about him to make the protagonist lose trust in him, it didn’t bother me so much. It’s hard to explain, but if you read it, you’ll see what I mean. Just know that it’s not meant to cause harm, and it doesn’t affect my opinion of the book very much at all.
Overall, I really enjoyed Daughter of the Burning City. The story on the whole is well-written and well-planned so that there are no plot holes. One minor niggle that I had was that the ending seemed a littttle far-fetched with the big reveal of the murderer. I liked it a lot and it shocked me, like the rest of the twists in the book. Everything is explained in so much detail so there are no plot holes and everything is fully justified, but it still seemed a bit too crazy to be true.
You know what, though – does this matter? I don’t think so! Sometimes I love to read a book where crazy things happen and they might not be completely believable, but it’s perfect for a bit of escapism and shock factor. This definitely had those things.
If you love murder mysteries, circus stories, and dark and mysterious towns with perfect descriptions that put detailed images in your mind, this book is the one for you. It’s out now, so go and grab a copy!
Click the links below to buy a copy of Daughter of the Burning City* or read about it on Goodreads:
*Note: Affiliate links used – click here for details. 🙂