Wednesday, 23 August 2017


Title: Daughter Of The Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Teen, YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 25th July 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
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.


As I chose this book I wanted something a little different than my recent reads which have been shifter, and dystopian books. I am also quite fascinated with old style travelling circus theme. 

I've seen two covers for this book and have described them below in my Cover Compare feature. I love the purple colour that is featured on both covers which represents the fog and smog smoke from the constant magical burning in and around the moving city that is the Gomorrah Festival. I think just based on the colour alone, this book would catch my eye enough to it pick up and learn more about it from the blurb.

The main character is Sorina who is just sixteen years old, she was adopted by the proprietor of the Gomarrah Festival, Villiam. Life within the travelling city of Gomorrah is all Sorina has known. Sorina, along with some of the other performers in the carnival/festival have what is described as Jynx-work. Sorina is a lonely character and even within the festival she doesn't know or talk to many people. The festival has been banned from certain places for around three years then suddenly Villiam has been told that the festival is once again welcome on those areas. Sorina has her own tent which is entitled the "Freak Show" which consists of her, "The Girl Who See's Without Eyes". At first I thought Sorina was a puppeteer which I suppose she is in a way except the strings to her illusions are invisible. The book begins with a nervous Sorina peeking through the heavy velvet curtains. One by one her illusions perform, then for the finale Sorina is "The Girl Who See's Without Eyes". Sorina doesn't think of her illusions as a freak show act. Sorina feels all her illusions are their own persons and her family, there's Gill the troutman who can breathe in water who is like an Uncle to Sorina, Blister who is the baby that breathes fire and the two twin younger brothers which are Unu and Du who share a body but have their own heads and opinions that they don't mind sharing and arguing with each other. The problems begin when one of the illusions is killed. If illusions aren't really a living human how can they be murdered/killed? That is the puzzle that Sorina and a newer member of the festival called Luca who says he is a gossip worker which means he hears a lot about what is going on in Gomorrah. 

I struggled to begin with and at one point actually thought I won't be able to finish read this one. Then suddenly the pace and intrigue picked up and I felt more drawn into the book with the intriguing details of the 'freaks' created by Sorina and their individual acts in the Gomorrah Festival. It certainly had me asking questions quite early on in the book too. Why after over three years is the festival suddenly being allowed? Why has the 10pm Menagerie show been cancelled?
Who killed Gill? And why? Who is the important up mountain man that has gone missing that provoked such an uncivilised and fierce reaction from the local up mountainers? Why did Jaifu not turn up to the usual place he meets up with Sorina to split the proceeds of his thefts do she can pay for Kahina's medication."
I absolutely had to continue reading as I wanted to know what was going on, who was doing the killings, why are they killing those closet to Sorina? Why is the festival suddenly allowed to visit cities it had previously been barred from for the past 3 years?
As I said I founder the very early part of this book slower paced than I usually like but by about half way through I was glad I had to persevered. 

I feel I shouldn't go into much more detail as you need to read the book yourself. It has slow beginning and at times I thought it was a little odd but as the story develops it becomes more interesting and you feel yourself pulled deeper. The plot speeds up and there are so many suspects for the killings, you easily become more involved and it certainly keeps you guessing who the guilty party is. This book becomes more complex, and intriguing with every page. Just when you think you have worked certain characters or parts of the plot out there's another twist or turn!

I liked the character of the somewhat naive Sorina as well as Kahina, the one who is a mother figure to Sorina. Yet when Kahina contracts the dreaded snaking disease it is Sorina that has to use rather unscrupulous methods to obtain the money to pay for the procurment of the necessary medication. I was also intrigued as to how Sorina has created her own band of friends/family that perform in the freak show along with her. Another character I loved was Luca, a male gossip worker who was quite stand offish towards Sorina but ends up being an increasingly important person in her life. Sorina quickly develops a crush on Luca, but does he feel the same way about her? I thought Luca came across as a very innocent young man, which at first I thought suspicious but then later in the book there is a perfect explanation for his inexperience. When Luca is explained more in the book and certain things are revealed his reactions and behaviour all make sense. To be honest if I had to choose just one favourite character it would be Luca. I loved the descriptions of the outfits he wore, his whole terminology and how he spoke.
A character I thoroughly loved hating was the proprietor of the festival, Villiam. Villiam is the man who adopted Sorina all those years ago, who says one day she will take his place and be the proprietor, yet he seems reluctant to begin training her and revealing the secrets and harsh realities of the festival. At times he can be rather dismissive of Sorina. To me he became a little patronising of her, telling her only the bare minimum of what she needed to know. Then in my opinion when it suited him he actually used Sorina and her little family as part of a very dangerous plot for power.

So to finally sum up my final thoughts as I finished this book were, Wow! How on earth can I describe this book? . . . . .brilliantly weird, strange and compulsive reading. Amazingly different character within an olde worlde setting of a travelling festival/circus.

So as I said at the beginning of my review, I've seen two covers for this book which are pictured below. I really love the purple colour that is featured on both covers which to me represents the fog and smog smoke from the constant magical burning in and around the moving city that is the Gomorrah Festival. Both covers feature the brilliant byline of  "Wicked, wicked to the core, the city will burn forever more...". I love it rhymes, it makes you think of children being brought up singing it as the play outside their homes in the travelling city of Gomorrah. I think just based on the colour alone, this book would catch my eye enough to it pick up and learn more about it from the blurb. 

The cover below on the left is what I would imagine a flyer advertising the Festival to look similar to. The font of the title and the swirly curls around the words give it a very olde fashioned feel. There's also the up turned top hat that perhaps the proprietor would wear when in the big ring. Or it would also fit that Nicoleta may wear one when in the ring of the Freak Show addressing the audience.

The cover on the left is what I would envision the city with all its performing tents and the food traders and side show act tents to look like from a birds eye photograph, or as would be more fitting with the books content perhaps a photograph or a view that Hawk (one of Sorina's family of illusions) would have when flying.

                                            A                                          B

Which one do you prefer?

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