Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody || Representation and kind trees

Daughter of the Burning City

Amanda Foody

book review 19

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.

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.

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. 

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Published: July 25th 2017

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Trigger Warning

 

 

 

Ableism, Torture, Sex Worker Discrimination, Murder, Abduction, Reference to Slavery


“Once upon a time, we were burned to the ground. But we did not die. Instead we kept burning, kept moving, kept growing. The smoke surrounds us, even if we no longer burn.” 

Story-time: I got this book on my birthday back in August. My dad came into town and I had him take me to Barnes and Nobles. I did some quick talking and got him to buy it for me— I couldn’t read it that day, but a few days later I got to it. At the time, I thought it was a good book, nothing too special. Flash forward about a month later and it’s still stuck in my head. 

I started thinking about all the things represented in the book. The sexual diversity, how it was a mystery I actually enjoyed, a book that wasn’t just a mind numbing read. I don’t remember when, but this book kind of latched onto me. 

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Sorina, the eyeless illusion maker— her jinx magic, works for the traveling carnival. However, her illusions start dying, which is strange, considering they’re illusions. So while she waits for her father to investigate, she does her own investigation with the mysterious Luca, who has jinx magic of his own.

Gommorah, the burning city and the world building in general, did confused me a bit. Did the city itself move or just the carnival? I don’t know, just the lay of the land was hard to grasp.

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And the whole jinx-magic situation— how did one come into this? It didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the book, but questions lingered in the back of my mind.

What really made me love this book as much as a do is the sexual diversity. It wasn’t thrown in the readers face, it was just a thing that happened and the fact that there were no labels given, it was just so natural was amazing. I believe the main character is bisexual, A few of the illusions like girls and sex workers don’t have a preference.

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“Freak may be the only word to describe a misfit in an entire city’s worth of misfits.” 

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There were also illustrations in the book, which is an automatic plus for me. Having a visual aid for how the illusions looked was a great help, though Sorina doesn’t have one. She’s describes as having long, dark hair, nice lips and no eyes… Not empty sockets, but just skin where her eyes should be. Yet she can see, which is super cool, but Sorina was just a badass character in general.

She’s not a fighter or anything, but her determination to find who is killing her family that she created made me admire her immensely. And the illusions themselves were so great as well. They all were close knit and loyal to each other and Sorina. My favorite was Tree—which is strange since he didn’t really talk, who was obviously a tree and Blister, the baby who could turn into flames. He kind of reminded me of Jack Jack from The Incredibles except sweeter.

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“And why travel to a place I’ve never been when I can find myself with you?” 

But Luca is the character I want to shine a spotlight on. He shows up fairly early in the book and managed to pleasantly surprise me. This is the first book that I have read with an a-spec character in it and I wasn’t expecting the rep. I obviously liked him a lot.

And the conversations him and Sorina would have was appreciated. He made it clear what his boundaries were and that entire conversation made my ace heart sing. He was a bit of the bad mysterious boy and a generally nice guy mixed which went well together. I liked him and Sorina together and that the romance stayed in the background.

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“They say pressure can turn even a grain of sand into a pearl under the right circumstances.” 

The fact that attached myself to the characters is probably what led the first death to catch me so off guard. It was so gruesome and my mind didn’t process that they were actually going to die until it happened.

Her adopted father, Villam, just found her and decided to raise her as his own? Throughout the book, I did not trust him. He was just… too nice. He wasn’t that involved or as eager to do the investigation then he should’ve been.

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Despite all my suspicions, I didn’t see the plot twist concerning a certain character coming, but saw who was killing them… I just didn’t catch how they were doing it.

This book is a standalone, but it has the potential to be expanded. I want it to be expanded because there are so many questions. How does jinx magic work? How does the city work? Where did Sorina come from? I would love to be in this world a bit more, but overall the end was still satisfying and I can see myself rereading this book.

6 thoughts on “Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody || Representation and kind trees”

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