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Daughter of the Burning City | A YA Book Review

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

This was such a unique read! The general premise is that Gomorrah—the one and the same complete with a woman turned into a pillar of salt—is a traveling festival of debauchery. Sorina is the daughter of the proprietor—through adoption—and like all Gomorrah’s citizens has a special ability. She can see even though she has no eyes and she can create illusions that become her family. Only now someone is killing her illusions one by one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but there were a couple things I thought could be improved. One, and this is not the author’s fault, there were a lot of mistakes and a couple small plot holes. The reason I say this isn’t the author’s fault is because in a traditionally published book there are so many sets of eyes on a book prior to its release it’s hard to believe books get published with more than 0-2 small mistakes. Two, I wish the book had a map! There was a lot of political talk involving the “continent” and its Up-Mountain and Down-Mountain cities, not to be confused with the Uphill and Downhill parts of Gomorrah. Actually, now that I’m writing this, even two maps—one of the continent and one of Gomorrah—would have been extremely helpful as well as visually pleasing. Another thing, that could be an issue for some, but was not for me, is that some explanations are vague. For me, I was okay with this as sometimes you back yourself into a corner when you’re overly descriptive.

Okay, now all the things I liked! This was an incredibly unique story. I was definitely a fan of the descriptions and the people. There is an overtone of religious zealots, as the Up-Mountainers worship a god named Ovren and they feel it’s their duty to cleanse the continent of sin aka magic, but the heart of the story is about relationships and accepting who you are. Unfortunately, the plot twist near the end of the story I saw coming from the very beginning more or less, it just played out slightly differently than I imagined. A stand out character was Luca whose lines had me laughing out loud. Sorina was also snarky and extremely likable, even though at times her constant second-guessing was a bit annoying. But since she was 16 and in this story acted 16 and not 26 like most YA, I found it believable. Some parts of this book reminded me of Vassa in the Night in terms of the darkness, but I found it done in a much more accessible way. If you’re looking for a unique read, part mystery and part fantasy, then you should definitely check this book out.

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