Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City

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 illusio...

Title:Daughter of the Burning City
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0373212437
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:384 pages

Daughter of the Burning City Reviews

  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)

    I'd been head over heels for this book ever since reading the premise – a notorious festival, charms and jynxes, illusions that can be killed – and I was beyond excited when our blog was accepted for an electronic ARC of this debut. Well, let's say my heels broke and I fell face-first into the dirt.

    I'd been head over heels for this book ever since reading the premise – a notorious festival, charms and jynxes, illusions that can be killed – and I was beyond excited when our blog was accepted for an electronic ARC of this debut. Well, let's say my heels broke and I fell face-first into the dirt.

    I'm so disappointed I don't have more positive things to say about this debut since I could feel how much work Amanda Foody had put into this piece of YA literature. Perhaps I've become allergic to generic types of YA fantasy books, though I wouldn't necessarily say this was the issue. Foody's world had the potential to shine among other books of its genre, as her creativity was a foundation for a curious world – a festival that functions like a moving town with a freak show as an attraction for people to spend money on things that leave them speechless in awe and/or in horror.

    Sadly, not even the romantic subplot could save me from my boredom, even though it's so easy to lure me into a plot with romantic chemistry (I can be shallow like that, I admit it).

    When I cannot be pulled along by a storyline, I sometimes find interest in the characters which saves the book for me. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with this book, either. Sorina Gomorrah certainly has peculiarities that make her stand out among other female leads, which I'll address in a sec.

    She swayed between being juvenile, frustrating, naive, and unreasonable. The other characters (including the love interest) had the same flaw: They were interesting on the surface due to their abnormalities or unusual habits, but they also struck me as bland.

    (though her inclusion of demisexuality was tainted by her portrayal of the usual YA insta-romance)

    These aspects were enjoyable but they couldn't give the book the spice it needed because it didn't change anything about the blandness nor did it increase my interest in where the plot was headed.

    She has no eyes yet she sees everything which seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Foody introduced such a unique heroine with her eye-less face but she didn't quite rise to the challenge of writing a perspective from a person missing her eyes, I felt. You could've written this story from a blind person's view (pun intended), and it'd have been a unique, amazing, and peculiar narration. (I should also add that at some point, Foody describes Sorina narrowing her eyes, which induced a shattering face-palm because – unless I missed something crucial – this is a careless mistake).

    The author avoided large-scale info-dumps for the world-building in her descriptions but compensated by filling the dialogue with supposedly by-the-bye information on the festival. This took away a lot of quality from the dialogue. It also became apparent that she tried to spice up the plot with political conflict but I wasn't invested enough in the world to care about any political shenanigans.

    She dropped names of cities and areas and depicted a conflict between two "races" but it just didn't cut it.

    There was certainly a charm to the idea of vision without eyes but, without a proper development and Sorina brushing it off as "not truly knowing how it worked", it just seemed like a cheap cop-out to avoid having to write from a blind person's perspective. She supposedly relies on her jynx-work – so, her illusions – but there's definitely no hint as to that happening. As for the writing, the difference between the first chapters and the rest of the read is almost palpable.

    The writing style was torn between two extremes, in that sense, and I think something between purple and bland would've suited

    better.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Bravo! Well done! Seriously, I can't think of a more unique book in the Young Adult sphere that has felt so relevant in quite some time. How can a fantasy be relevant you ask? Well, this particular story, while clearly a fantasy set in another time and place was completely allegorical to our world today. I was blown away by so many aspects that I think I'll list below the things I loved most about this book, then you can be the judge of whether it may be the right read for you as well.

    Bravo! Well done! Seriously, I can't think of a more unique book in the Young Adult sphere that has felt so relevant in quite some time. How can a fantasy be relevant you ask? Well, this particular story, while clearly a fantasy set in another time and place was completely allegorical to our world today. I was blown away by so many aspects that I think I'll list below the things I loved most about this book, then you can be the judge of whether it may be the right read for you as well.

    - It was SO refreshing to find a book geared toward the young adult/new adult age range that didn't contain all of the tired, outlandish cliches that most novels in the genre feature so prominently. There are no nauseating love triangles, no sparkly white, beautiful, and unaware lead females, and this certainly isn't erotica being touted as a "fantasy". No, this story was complex, well thought, and equal parts subtle and exciting. I felt the lack of all the cheap tactics that so many books push ended up making me connect early on with the story and stay invested throughout.

    - Again, it was incredibly invigorating picking up a fantasy that had an intriguing and mysterious plot that wasn't overshadowed by instalove. There is a budding romance that takes place, but it is by no means the main focus and it also contains a deeper meaning and purpose to the overall story, which I found incredibly genius.

    - You could catagorize the first half of the book as a slow burn; the author found a fantastic way of including the proper world building without forcing an info dump on the reader. There was a subtle, slow build in the beginning which intrigued me and made me want to read further to find out just how everything would play out. Props to Foody for producing a story that was creative and original while including aspects of mythology and the Bible (with her own spin) to weave together a reading experience so unique I'm hard pressed to find another like it.

    - I won't harp on this, but I'm always pleased to find a plethora of diverse characters in a book and there are more than enough here to keep the pickiest reader satisfied.

    - So my ARC didn't include the actual illustrations, but from the pages that describe what the final copies would feature, I think you'll be blown away. Personally I'm going to find a finished copy so that I can see what they look like because that just adds an entirely new layer of awesome to these illusions that Sorina created.

    - Purple=Gorgeous!

    So there you have it folks! I don't know about you, but that's more than enough reasons in my book to give a novel a try. I think we'll be seeing a lot more from Ms. Foody in the near future; she has another book coming out in 2018 and I already have my eyes peeled for it. If you enjoy young adult fantasy that is plot driven with light romance and spectacular world building, pick this one up. I think readers of magical carnivals will be more than pleased with this novel, and this is the type of book that can be enjoyed by all ages, as it doesn't really have that cheesy teen feel that so many young adult novels tend to harbor today.

  • destiny ☣ howling libraries

    I am such a sucker for books that offer up synopsis phrases like "traveling circus city" and "carnival of debauchery". Like, SIGN ME UP PLEASE? When I first added this one to my TBR several months ago, literally, all I could think was "I AM SO PUMPED" (and also "please don't be another C

    I am such a sucker for books that offer up synopsis phrases like "traveling circus city" and "carnival of debauchery". Like, SIGN ME UP PLEASE? When I first added this one to my TBR several months ago, literally, all I could think was "I AM SO PUMPED" (and also "please don't be another Caraval").

    Gomorrah is more than just a traveling circus; it is a city, full of over 10,000 citizens, bustling with markets and families, sins of every variety, and at its core, a Freak Show, run by the proprietor's daughter. Sorina is a jynx-worker, but more than that, her abilities are special: she can create illusions of

    , complete with their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. These illusions are her family, and life is as grand as it could be for an eyeless "freak" like Sorina - until a mysterious assassin begins picking off her family members, one by one.

    I loved Sorina as a narrator. Though she's only sixteen, she's definitely an old soul, and she is fiercely protective of her family. I loved the idea of her having been born with no eyes (she describes herself in one chapter as having nothing but a plain expanse of skin between her nose and hairline) - that was a character design I hadn't seen before.

    Luca, the love interest, is pretty entertaining as well. He's such an immensely flawed character, with his arrogance and general rudeness, but somehow, it works? I just found myself kind of laughing at a lot of the shade he threw. I enjoyed the fact that Sorina put him in his place whenever she could, and that she acknowledged liking him

    his flaws rather than

    them. (Plus, no insta-love! *choirs sing*)

    There are a lot of minor characters as well, like her family/illusions, her father/the proprietor, and a handful here and there who we get to learn a bit about. Most of them feel like pretty fleshed-out individuals, and I loved how each one of them had their own flair to their designs and personalities (like Tree's beast-like behavior, Hawk's bravery despite her youth, or Villiam's need to dress fancy as hell for everything).

    The setting is fantastic! Gomorrah is a city brimming with magic and it shows in the smoke and smells of burning that have never faded since the attempts to burn it to the ground many years in the past. There are endless references of a religious nature that kept reminding me of the old Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, plus a handful of them made some pretty strong points regarding our own modern world:

    I will say, if you're a religious person, you

    find offense in some parts of the book, because there's a distinct "us versus them" mentality between the citizens of Gomorrah and the religious people of the Up-Mountains.

    I also loved the mystery shrouding the murders of Sorina's family members, and while I had a feeling I knew who the killer would be, I didn't quite expect it to go the way that it did in the end.

    I think my only real complaint was with Sorina - she references herself more than once as "The Girl Who Sees Without Eyes", but I never really understood

    she could see while being eyeless. She chalks it up to her jynx-work, but it was almost like one of those things where it was written off as "because I said so", if you know what I mean.

    I had so much fun reading this book! I loved the representation in it: there's a tremendously diverse cast of characters, plus one of Sorina's illusions/sisters is a lesbian, and one character is very openly demisexual. I felt like all of the rep was done really well and never felt like a prop or "checking off the diversity boxes" to me.

    I would totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy stories, especially those revolving around a carnival setting! I can't wait to read more from Amanda Foody in the future.

    You can also find this review on my

    !

  • Beth

    This is without a doubt a mind boggling experience, but honestly I really enjoyed this story and how different this was! It was unlike anything I've previously read.

    The basis of the story is that we follow the main character Sorina and her "freak show". This is set in the magical Gomorrah festival. Sorina isn't an everyday character and she creates different illusions to represent her family. Throughout the book we get to see a lot o

    This is without a doubt a mind boggling experience, but honestly I really enjoyed this story and how different this was! It was unlike anything I've previously read.

    The basis of the story is that we follow the main character Sorina and her "freak show". This is set in the magical Gomorrah festival. Sorina isn't an everyday character and she creates different illusions to represent her family. Throughout the book we get to see a lot of illustrations of her family which was 100% an added bonus. A member of her family is murdered, so it's her job to find out what exactly is going on!

    When we first meet

    I was a bit taken aback, Sorina has no eyes... YET SHE'S ABLE TO SEE?! This really threw me off. I wasn't instantly drawn to Sorina, but as the story continued I found her so much more likeable and there's a lot to her character. She was one of th most intriguing characters I've come across in a while!

    Lucas work is very different... I'll just leave it at that. He tells reallllly bad jokes, but I like it!

    What

    - Seriously, I was continually trying to figure out what was happening, trying to piece things together and constantly trying to think of theories.

    - It was so ODD but like I said, it made it sooooo unique.

    - The use of Sorinas illusions were so clever.

    - Honestly the last 100 pages were SO gripping!

    - The twists were so good, I didn't even realise until it was actually happening!

    What I

    - I feel like something are left un-answered so I'm not really dealing with this right now!

    - I wanted to know more about her other illusions, we got to know some of them but not

    of them.

    Overall I did really enjoy this, just a few things that for me personally let it down, there were some really smart things in here, and I loved the last few chapters!

    If you like circuses, constantly questioning things and like to try and solve things this book is for you :)

  • Maram

    THIS PAPERBACK EDITION IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE HARDCOVER ONE!!! WOW,

    😍

  • Emma Giordano

    4.5 stars!!!! I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK.

    is a really fabulous debut full of magic, murder, and mystery. It's absolutely a high-suspense "whodunnit" that kept me enthralled from page one.

    I was most fascinated by the concept of the story; a girl without eyes who creates illusions that are being killed off? IM SOLD. I also really loved the setting. I think I was expecting the carnival to play more of a role than just the setting, but it wasn't as significant, thou

    4.5 stars!!!! I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK.

    is a really fabulous debut full of magic, murder, and mystery. It's absolutely a high-suspense "whodunnit" that kept me enthralled from page one.

    I was most fascinated by the concept of the story; a girl without eyes who creates illusions that are being killed off? IM SOLD. I also really loved the setting. I think I was expecting the carnival to play more of a role than just the setting, but it wasn't as significant, though I'm not complaining. Gomorrah is more of a travelling city of magicians, thieves, and sex workers as opposed to what we would consider "performers." If anything, I think the interpretation of a "dark carnival" was executed very well - just don't go into the story expecting a magical story of circus performers. I personally liked the actual content more than my expectations.

    I really fell in love with each of the characters. I think Sorrina is a very down to earth protagonists. She's hellbent on finding the person killing her family, worrisome in regards to her father's expectations for her future, and coping with her own insecurities of being "a freak." She's a real teen girl who just wants to find love and be with her family, though they are palpable figments of her imagination.

    Luca is my newest book boyfriend. I think his character strikes an interesting balance between the stereotypical arrogant bad boy love interest with a dark past, and an actually compassionate individual. He's witty, he's aloof, he's adorable. It's easy to fall for his character and I NEEEEEEED more about him and Sorrina in the future (please give me a sequel, Amanda).

    I also didn't realize how much I loved each of Sorrina's family members until they began getting killed off. They somehow snuck their way into my heart and it's painful to think of how small it's gotten from the beginning of the story. Even though they are "not real", they feel real and you begin to feel for them as you would for any "real" character.

    The one issue I had with this book that made me dock half a star was the magic system. I understand it's a debut and I also recognize that I could actually just be misinterpreting the issues I have, but I think Sorrina's form of jynx-magic was just way too complicated. Sometimes I thought I had identified a plothole within her own brand of magic, it felt like there were a lot of exceptions to the rules established, and it just seemed as if there were too many different ways her magic could manifest as compared to other types of jynx-magic (I also recognize she is the first illusion-worker in like centuries, so that's a valid factor as well!) Essentially, I think it may have just been OVER-developed? It really wasn't that intrusive to my reading experience though, because I enjoyed this read so much. (But I still just do not understand how this girl sees without eyes, man.)

    Additionally, there was definitely some obvious rep for diverse sexualities in this book which I really enjoyed! The labels we use today are not used in this world, but it's absolutely not heteronormative and does not contain virtually any homophobia. I'm pulling from

    for this but it's suggested that our main character is bisexual, her sister is a lesbian, and our love interest is somewhere on the ace spectrum (demisexuality seems to best fit his descriptions in text, but don't quote me). I obviously cannot speak for the rep, we will have to wait for reviewers with more knowledge to comment, but I was glad to see this novel was fairly inclusive and made efforts to display these sexual orientations as compared to other books.

    I have to say I really really loved

    more than I had anticipated. 70 pages left in the novel and I was legitimately unable to read because I was so consumed with finding out who the killer is. It's definitely a page turner full of unique magic, dark secrets, and exciting mystery. I would definitely recommend to all my fantasy lovers, and I even think non-fantasy lovers would enjoy because of how subtle the magic is woven into the world.

    comes out on July 25th, so be sure to get yourself a copy from your local bookstore/library!


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