Ace of Shades

416p. Harlequin Teen. Apr. 2018. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781335692290.
Gr 9 Up—"If I'm not home in two months, I'm dead." Enne's adoptive mother Lourdes had told her. Four months later, Enne has left her finishing school to sail for New Reynes: the "City of Sin" and her mother's last-known destination. New Reynes is the domain of street lords, gamblers, and con artists. With effort, Enne locates a young street lord named Levi whom Lourdes once helped. Levi doubts that Enne, raised as a proper young lady, will be able to handle life in New Reynes long enough to discover her mother's fate. Enne secures Levi's help with a promise of money, however, and Enne is more resilient than she first appears. Yet she becomes entangled in the corrupt dealings of her new employer, a Mafia donna, and Enne must fulfill her new obligations while desperately searching for Lourdes. The political situation is also complicated in this alternate world, where each person by default has two "talents," one from each parent. The world in this promising series debut is dark but enticing. Readers who have little interest in casinos may initially be hesitant to pick this one up, but will be quickly drawn in by the intrigue if they do. The plot twists pleasingly, and character development is well crafted. Enne's growth is apparent and complements Levi's emerging realization that he cannot do everything alone.
VERDICT Recommend to teens interested in but not quite ready for Game of Thrones. A solid purchase for medium and large libraries.

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