I received this ARC from Miss Print’s Arc Adoption in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t not change my review in any way.
When I first read the synopsis for Daughter of the Burning City, I was sold. Match that with the SUPER beautiful cover, and I was double sold. I knew I had to read it. I think my hype may have oversold me on this one because it definitely did not live up to my high expectations, which is partly my fault 😦
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.
*I am the odd one out here. This book gets AMAZING reviews on goodreads, so please don’t assume that this book is awful because of one bad review. Give it a chance if you think it sounds good 🙂 you never know, you might love it!
I was expecting a fast paced, fantasy thriller that would keep me up all night, trying to figure out who the killer was and how they were doing it… instead, I felt like Daughter of the Burning City was very slow.
I did love the relationship Sorina had with her family. It is SO nice to see good family relationships in a book :). I also enjoyed the concept, and the world Amanda Foody created. The different kinds of magic was really neat to read about. I don’t want to explain too much in order to avoid major spoilers, but it was a neat read in that aspect.
Moving on to the negative side D:
I was bored 90% of the time reading this, and as much as I hate saying that, I’m being honest. It felt like next to nothing happened until the very crazy, very intense ending. At least the first half of the book there is a lot of talking, thinking and walking around, not a whole lot of story telling or development. The second half was a bit better, but not by much in my opinion (and again, I HATE saying this, but I’m being honest).
Sorina, the main character, drove me nuts (but I do love her). She was a lovely main character, but at the same time, she reminded me of the characters in horror movies where you’re shouting “DON’T OPEN THE DOOR”, and they do it anyways and they end up dead… that was Sorina for me. I wanted to sit her down with a cup of tea and talk about her actions, because sometimes, they made no sense to me.
*early spoiler (aka a spoiler that happens super early in the book so it is but isn’t a spoiler): when Gomorrah is attacked in the very beginning by Up-Mountainers, who HATE with every fiber of their beings the people of Gomorrah, she decides to go get a refund for her tickets anyways… even though she should be killed for being a “freak”. So she hides herself and sneaks up to the ticket booth for a refund… and this had me like “GIRL COME ON, get a refund AFTER those crazy Up-Mountainers leave.” Why risk your life for some money? I get that she didn’t have a lot, and that she wanted her money back so she could spend more time with her family but STILL… I would like to talk with her over a cup of tea 😛 *end spoiler
Another thing that I wasn’t a big fan of, was how unrealistic the other characters acted. I’m not trying to be rude, so please don’t take this that way… *kind of spoiler* When two of Sorina’s illusions were murdered, everyone was acting like it was no big deal. The other characters were like, “no we aren’t being targeted.” but seriously, if two members of your family were murdered within like a week of each other, wouldn’t you think that you were being targeted? *end of spoiler* I don’t know… I think that they just acted so stale, if that makes sense. They all had singular personalities, and sort of lacked depth to me. Although, I do think that there was some character development, we didn’t get much time to feel Sorina’s pain over the loss in her family because we didn’t really get to know the illuison who was murdered.
I think Daughter of the Burning City was trying to do too much at once, and I know this sort of contradicts what I was saying earlier, but hear me out. *spoilers* There’s the Up-Mountainers who hate the people of Gomorrah and want them dead because they are freaks. There is someone murdering the illusions. Sorina is learning how to run the festival, while also learning more about the secrets behind the festival. Sorina is trying to take care of her sick sister by stealing in order to pay for her sister’s medicine. The circus keeps moving… It just felt sort of rushed because none of the events went into too much depth, and some events were sort of left in the air, without much development or importance to the story.
The ending was REALLY predictable, I’m good at predicting endings, yet I always end up sad when I know what’s coming 😦
Fable & Stella’s Final Thoughts
Daughter of the Burning City was a really neat concept that fell short for me. While it is getting a lot of love on goodreads, a lot of the story felt under developed for me, and some concepts seemed rushed or unnecessary.