Daughter of the Burning City
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.
The story follows sixteen year old Sorina, ‘The Girl Who Sees Without Eyes’ as she is known as. Sorina lives in Gomorrah, a travelling circus that travels far and wide showcasing all things weird and wonderful. Sorina is an illusion worker who created and stars in her own Freak Show. As stated Sorina has no eyes but is somehow able to see through her ‘jinx-work’ illusions. Ever since she was little Sorina has created illusions which ended up becoming her family, for example there’s Crown who has fingernails growing from his body were hair should be or Blister, a chubby one year old who breathes fire.
Sorina and her family of ‘freaks’ provide entertainment for the many citizens who come to see the delights of Gomorrah but her illusions are just that illusions, that it until one of them is murdered. Stricken with grief and unable to understand how a figment of her imagination can be killed Sorina enlists the help of Luca, a gossip-worker whose jinx-work is that he cannot be killed, they begin an investigation to uncover the murderer.
I was excited for a little mystery being mixed into my fantasy and was expecting to be gripped from the beginning. The pages were beautifully filled with imagination and I’m happy to say we had a diverse set of characters including POC and my personal favourite: characters who were demisexual. Definitely something I would love to see more of in YA books.
Throughout the book I found my attention wavering and a big part of this was the lack of connection I felt with the characters. I also didn’t care for the romance but that have been because I didn’t really understand Sorina. Sorina was the girl without eyes but I’m still not sure how she was able to ‘see’ using her jinx-work, it wasn’t explained very well. As well as the lack of connection with characters I found the plot lagged halfway through and I found the solution to the plot-twist at the end disappointing. Daughter of the Burning City was a book I was sure to love but I’m saddened to say that it just wasn’t the book for me.
Debut author Amanda Foody did an excellent job with an intricately written plot filled with murder, mystery and excitement. I loved all the details that were described in a mesmerizing way from the smell of licorice cherries to the smell of the smoke that is continuously in Gommorrah's air. I also enjoyed the details that went into describing the Freak Show and all of Gomorrah including Up-Hill, Down-Hill and Skull Gate.
I found the characters to be unique and interesting. I really Liked Sorina's character and her unique abilities as well as all her family's abilities. I also liked Luca and his snark. He was a mystery and I think just great! Verena, Du, Unu, Tree, Gill, Crown, Nicoleta, Blister, Hawk and Kahina were really interesting characters too and made the story work! The illustrations in the book were also a really nice touch!
I truly enjoyed Daughter of the Burning city and would recommend fans of fantasy and mystery to give Daughter of the Burning City a try!