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Daughter of the Burning City

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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 has 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. 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 her loved ones disappear.

Audio CD

First published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Amanda Foody

23 books2,560 followers
Amanda Foody is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of All of Us Villains, the Wilderlore series, the Shadow Game series, and more. Her work has appeared in publications including Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Culturess, and Amazon selected All of Us Villains as the Best Young Adult Book of 2021. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lives in Boston, MA with her partner and their orange tabby, Jelly Bean. When not writing, she unironically loves to cook.

All of Our Demise, the sequel to All of Us Villains, will release on August 30, 2022. The third book in the Wilderlore series, The Ever Storms, will follow on February 7, 2023.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,689 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
October 9, 2017
I liked this a lot! It was one of the most unique books I've read in what feels like a while, and the concept was super cool. I loved the added element of a murder mystery, it made it the perfect Halloween read. I was fascinated by the illusions and the magic of the circus, it constantly kept me guessing as I explored this new universe and tried to solve the mystery alongside the MC. Speaking of, I really enjoyed our MC! I liked how driven she was and how despite all the devastating things that kept happening to her she continued to strive to solve the mystery and keep her family safe. Overall a really weird, creepy, and all in all entertaining read!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 13, 2018
Daughter of the Burning City 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 this review 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 Daughter of the Burning City 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. Daughter of the Burning City comes out on July 25th, so be sure to get yourself a copy from your local bookstore/library!

I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Teen at Book Expo 2017. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
July 25, 2017
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's lack of major cliches - 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.

The romance isn't the plot focus - 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.

The writing was to be savored - 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.

The characters are diverse in a natural way - 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.

There are illustrations included throughout the book - 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.

The cover is purple - 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.

*Many thanks to the publisher for my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,655 reviews5,126 followers
April 4, 2018
"The smoke is part of Gomorrah's legend: once upon a time, we were burned to the ground. But we did not die. Instead we kept burning, kept moving, kept growing. The smoke surrounds us, even if we no longer burn."

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 people, 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 despite his flaws rather than for 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:

"It's not fair that the Up-Mountainers get to storm our Festival and then call us the criminals. They get drunk, and they buy drugs, and they pay for all sorts of sins and call us the sinners for giving them the business they want."

I will say, if you're a religious person, you may 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 why 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.

Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC! All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

You can also find this review on my blog!
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
February 9, 2018

There’s a lot to unpack here, in terms of my emotions. Not in terms of the book - that would be way too close to your actual purpose in reading this am I right???

Emotion number one on this book was EXCITEMENT because CIRCUS BOOK CIRCUS BOOK CIRCUS BOOK. I added this book to my TBR a full MONTH before release date which...is now just sounding like a normal thing to do but seemed like a big deal for me at the time.

But then...this wasn’t very circusy at all??? Maybe festivaly. But more MURDER and DARKNESS and BLOOD and CONFUSION than anything else.

You know. That classic dark high fantasy stuff.

This book was full on bonkers. So props for that I guess?? I kind of want my fantasy to be completely bananas? At least then it’s creative. But also this book was soooo confuuuuusing and there was so much world-building that it felt sloppy and just. Ugh.

To try to wrap up a massively complicated world and story into a cute lil package with a neat lil bow: Sorina is an illusionist who creates, like, people-illusions? She makes family member illusions with actual personalities, who you can see and touch and all that.

Which is cool, but also the most complicated confusing thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

This only becomes more insane when you hear what the plot of the book is: ONE OF THE ILLUSIONS GETS MURDERED. WHAAAAAT? They’re illusions! How do you murder an illusion? If you want to punch your brain into submission for 384 pages in order to find out, this is the book for you.

I, for one, didn’t love that plotline. Especially because I thought the way the murder was handled by the characters and the story was UBER WEIRD. And not like the ride sharing service my guy!!!!

Honestly I admire the author’s strength in attempting to fit this much info into a standalone under 400 pages……...especially because my reading challenge & TBR LOVED it thanks……...but this was a looooot.

To get down to brass tacks I’m just not sure I liked reading it. Or that I disliked it.

Here are some parts that I like:
- bisexual protagonist/asexual demiromantic love interest/lesbian side character (+ general diversity all around)
- this is like the most creative thing of all time, even more creative than my 2009 short story about the people from the song Don’t Stop Believing going to Candyland
- impressive setting
- a whiff of a circus concept, as if someone spoke the words “acrobats, elephants, popcorn, big top tent” in another room while this book was being written

And here are some parts that I don’t:
- the main plotline
- the ending
- the twist
- a bunch of the characters

Murdery magical circus high fantasy sounded SO IDEAL and then...look what happened. It broke everywhere. And broke my heart right alongside it.


Bottom line: This book was the weirdest thing ever. Which I thought would be more definitively A Good Thing than it was, but...at least it wasn’t definitively bad.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
660 reviews3,880 followers
June 1, 2018

"The smoke is part of Gomorrah's legend: once upon a time, we were burned to the ground. But we did not die. Instead we kept burning, kept moving, kept growing. The smoke surrounds us, even if we no longer burn."

MAGIC? check
MURDER? got it

BASICALLY ALL THE GOOD STUFF IN ONE. Daughter of the Burning City was a book I was supposed to read last year and didn't get to and I'm soo glad I did now because it's dark and delicious and has such good characters and atmosphere.

Daughter of the Burning City follows Sorina - a "jynx-worker" who can create illusions that look like people. When one of her illusions is murdered, she needs to work out both who the killer is, and how they killed her illusions.

The mystery of this book absolutely compelled me to finish it. I became so invested in who the killer is, especially because this book contains sketches of the killers plan on how they want to kill each illusion - it's super creepy and I LOVED IT. The ultimate killer reveal is also done REALLY WELL and I was sooo confused on who to trust and what was going on which is, honestly, ideal.

But what I really ended up becoming invested in is the characters and, surprisingly, the romance! Sorina and Luca, the central characters, are both so interesting in their own regards and I was super into their romance. It was genuinely SO GOOD TO GET SOME OWNVOICES DEMIROMANTIC ASEXUAL REPRESENTATION and I personally thought it was well done. The main character is also bi and while I think that representation could have been made more obvious it wasn't bad rep.

Okay, I was so fucking invested in the romance like, I was so into this ship and usually that DOES NOT happen.

I also liked that the author fleshed out the side characters, especially Sorina's family of illusions, because it definitely made the stakes feel higher and I really didn't want them to get murdered.

Finally, the diversity really was excellently done. Beside the main characters sexualities as mentioned above, there is also a side lesbian character, and the main character is physically disabled (she has no eyes) I feel like there is some more I forgot to mark down, so sorry if true and I'll add more if I remember it.

"But you're an illusion," I say. "I created you."
"That doesn't mean I'm not real."

Overall I really liked this! I had to take the rating down because the side poplitical plot didn't interest me at all, and I do think a section dragged a bit, but generally I really liked this and I ADORED THE ROMANCE WTF IT WAS SO GOOD. I'm outta here to think about my kids and cry
Profile Image for Beth.
700 reviews572 followers
February 4, 2019

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. Four stars for Daughter of the Burning City

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 Sorina 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!

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

What I liked?
- 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 didn't like?
- 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 all 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 :)

Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,054 followers
January 11, 2019
I've seen reviews giving this book 1,2, 3, 4, and 5 stars so I waited a while before finally picking this book up. The book starts off pretty slow and continues at that pace till about the 17th Chapter, which is a lot considering the book only has a total of 26 chapters. But even though the plot doesn't really move forward for a large portion of the book it allows us room to see more of Gomorrah and learn more about it's struggles as a city most people refer to as a festival of sin.

Sorina, our 16 year old protagonist, is an Illusion Worker who has created her own family from her own imagination and jynx powers. In this book, her illusions are being killed, which should not be possible because they are illusions and supposedly not real. Sorina believes they are being targeted for a specific reason she intends to find out with the help of a gossip worker, a boy who seemingly can't die, Luca. As Sorina navigates the city she calls home, she realizes that she didn't truly know the nature of Gomorrah and maybe she was an outsider all along...

This book was a pleasant read, but you definitely need to be patient to see where the story takes us. I figured out most of the twist in the story as most of it was pretty clearly laid out for us and you only need to connect the dots to figure it out, but there were one or two instances where I was slightly taken by surprise. Overall I enjoyed the book and I rate it 4 stars.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,073 followers
April 10, 2020
“The Gomorrah Festival Freak Show. Walk the line between abnormal and monstrous.”

3.5 ⭐️

This was a solid YA fantasy, with good world building & good characters. Only reason it didn’t get 4 stars is because I didn’t entirely understand the reveal at the end.

Sorina has grown up in Gomorrah, a circus/festival like city that travels from place to place and is full of everything from charm workers, fire workers, fortune tellers & Sorina’s own act The Freak Show.

She has created a family of illusions all with magical abilities, that are the house of freaks.’ But when one of her illusions is killed - something Sorina didn’t even think was possible, suddenly her entire world is turned upside down.

When we find out in the end who the murderer was and how, I got a little lost. I think that’s how I came to understand it though.

I enjoyed this immersive fantasy world and I will be keeping this book for rereads. Recommend for anyone looking for YA fantasy that’s a bit different from the norm.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,792 followers
October 11, 2017
Yo, I’m back after taking time off to slump and embrace life as a hobo tried it, would definitely recommend

I was v unproductive this week and it consisted of not doing any of the following:
- Read
- Read
- Review the books I already read
- Read
- Review
- Read

:) aren’t you proud?

Anyways, im here to kick slumpy!may! in her pants and force her to do something good for herself aka review this book for your loveliness

Soooooooooo, let’s get onto the book.

From the other reviews I’ve seen around, I thought for sure I was going to detest this book bc that’s what all the kool kids are saying but actually I was surprised to see how entertaining it actually turned out

1. Firstly, the cover is so pretty. Like so sosososososo pretty that I’m gonna match the colour and paint my walls with it

2. It’s really eerie. Like the writing, the characters, their powers, the mystery, it’s all very eerie and really set the scene for a murder mystery so if you want some creepy-ish book for October, ya know who to look for

3. The characters. The characters are very unique. Each one of Sorina’s illusions (not to mention the girl who can see without eyes) has their own quality that sets them apart and really makes the book spark

4. CIRCUSES! Tho I do wish we got a little more circuses than the book offered.

5. The romance was great. It wasn’t stifling. It garnished the plot and A+ really liked that

6. The drawings!! They made it so much more creepy and furthered the mystery


Now the things that I liked not so much. . .

1. Lots of world holes. For example, what is Up the Mountain, who lives Downhill, where is Gomorrah? Does the Freak Show travel? Are they statioNED IM SO CONFUSED CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT ALL

2. Sorina’s vision without eyes things wasn’t really explained until the end. Like for a long while I thought she was blind bc well, she has no eyes but then she does stuff like “squint” and im like ????

3. The mystery was predictable. Me, the farthest thing from a detective was able to solve it (tho I didn’t have valid reasoning behind my choices but boi the point is I DID IT)

I must say though, it was much more entertaining than I expected and more of a mystery than your typical, YA fantasy that’s showered in puke inducing romance.

So there ya go.

3.5 stars!!


i hope that one day i will be as pretty as this cover

Buddy read with blueberry pie
Profile Image for Nina.
306 reviews408 followers
July 25, 2017
2.5 stars

"But you're an illusion," I say. "I created you."
"That doesn't mean I'm not real."

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.

Daughter of the Burning City had so much potential, so many brilliant ideas and magical elements which sparked my curiosity, but the execution failed to make those ideas shine. Foody's imagination is enchanting but she didn't turn her interesting ideas into the captivating story I had hoped for.

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. Daughter of the Burning City's biggest weakness is its storyline. It bored me and I found myself skimming some parts. The plot was predictable and lacked the tension to hook me. 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. Her characterisation, however, didn't click with me at all. 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. I did like and appreciate the themes Foody wove into the story, using Sorina's deformity to address beauty standards, self-worth, and being different. She also included racial, religious, and sexual diversity (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. Further, it occurred to me more than once how Foody had wasted the opportunity of Sorina's deformity to tell the story from a different angle. 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).

I remind myself that my face isn't a deformity. It's magic. I am magic.

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. Foody did well with the world-building for the Gomorrah festival but failed to expand those skills to the realm at large, in my opinion. She dropped names of cities and areas and depicted a conflict between two "races" but it just didn't cut it. I also wasn't convinced of Foody's explanation for Sorina's ability to see and navigate without eyes. 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 first chapters almost overdid it with the flowery descriptions, whereas the later chapters lacked some of that earlier grace. The writing style was torn between two extremes, in that sense, and I think something between purple and bland would've suited Daughter of the Burning City better.

Though Foody introduced a world of curiosities, peculiarities, and on the brink of war, Daughter of the Burning City couldn't hold its own. I loved so many things about the story, just not the actual story. This debut is in much need of a polish, particularly where the characterisations and plot are concerned. Since this was an ARC, some aspects of the story might very well still change until publication, so I might've seen the rough diamond, not the end product. In any case, I believe Daughter of the Burning City had the potential to be more than what it turned out to be.

** I received an eARC of this book from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotations may be subject to change in the final copy.**
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
December 24, 2017

Blame it on the s l u m p .

Daughter of the Burning City was an alluring, yet pretentious, and actually a surprising read. Mind you I started this book back in October but thanks to a reading slump of fucking dump, I finally managed to finish this book just now. It didn't really help though, that the major parts of the book trudged slowly through a heavy romance (while trying to solve a murder mystery - albeit, not a very engaging one). It kind went downhill after at the first murder from there.

While I liked Amanda's writing style, I thought it lacked consistency as there were so many parts in the book where I thought the writing was too messy and convoluted. This further led into the problem of a very interesting, but super vague concept or element, of the magic system in the book.

But while there were some weak points in the writing style, there were good punches here and there, scattered throughout. Story-wise I thought it was super interesting and I really liked the representation in the book. My favorite aspect, however, is the whole setting and concept itself: that beautiful haunting circus.

BUT if I'm being totally honest here, is that, the best and sole reason why I really like this book so much: it's a fUCKING S T A N D A L O N E.

The ending of the book bumped up the rating to a four star for me (likE WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL THAT WAS INSANE), and I'm glad I got through it.

4 spicy cider rum and popcorn candy stars
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Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
481 reviews2,984 followers
March 7, 2018

I am disappointed that I didn’t like this very much. I didn’t hate all of it.. just a lot of it. It took a very long time for me to finish it.

The Good
- The ideas had a lot of potential. The concept of the book was very original and creative.
- The diversity in the book. The main character is bi and the love interest is on the ace spectrum (demisexual from what I could tell), and one of the side characters is a lesbian.

The Bad
- I did not like the main character, Sorina. I found her to be very hysterical and frantic. She wasn’t often level-headed when things went wrong. The only thing interesting about her was that she could create illusions, and that wasn’t explained very well.
- There were too many characters in general. Aspects of her illusions were creative, but it was hard to keep track of them. We got one description and then we were expected to remember all 8 of them??? I kept confusing the two female illusions. They just weren’t different enough for me to remember who was who.
- The world building was pretty weak. Like I said, it was a creative idea, but the execution just wasn’t great. I understood that Gomorrah was a traveling city, but like… how does that work? Was the Upmountain a literal mountain? Was the Downhill actually downhill? I couldn’t picture it at all.
- I also thought the magic system was pretty vague. The magic just existed and it wasn’t really explained. I have no idea how jinx work or Sorina’s illusions existed.
- The mystery was pretty basic. I knew who the murderer was very early on. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to happen, but the twist was a little obvious. There was only one thing I didn’t predict.
- The one thing I didn’t predict was that
Profile Image for Nemo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
865 reviews397 followers
August 31, 2017
this was EXACTLY my sort of book. which means, if you know anything about me, that it was weird as hell.

the originality in this book is honestly stunning; it was like nothing i've ever read before. i did get vibes of Seraphina and Pantomime, but they didn't really have much in common at all. (that said, if you liked this book then you'll like those books, so check them out. and vice versa.)

this wasn't just an original high fantasy with the most interesting magic system i've come across in a while, but also a meditation on what it means to be a person. the worldbuilding was also very intricate and detailed, and the reader learns about the political climate and the nature of the city of Gomorrah without it being an info-dump.

the suspense was also perfect throughout the novel, with little hints being dropped here and there but the plot was so exquisitely woven that even if you figure out one thing, you'll never be able to figure it all out. unless you're some sort of supergenius, but that's pretty unlikely.

also: diversity! the main character is bi, luca is on the ace-spectrum (demiromantic/sexual, maybe?), nicoleta is a lesbian, there's a bunch of racial diversity... so that was nice.

the romance was really well-done, too. i'm not a particularly big fan of romance but i have to say that this one was realistic and well-developed, and there was FINALLY the distinction that someone can have an instacrush without it turning into an instalove-relationship - because let's be real, instacrushes happen aaall the time but instalove-relationships hardly ever happen, yet it's the latter that YA authors (and authors in general) seem to portray. but not so here!

if i had one tiiiiny gripe it was perhaps that the political intrigue was hanging in the air a bit at the ending, but really the story focused on sorina and her illusions so it wasn't that much of a big deal. i think there's definitely the potential for sequels tho. not sure if the author's planning more books, but i'll be keeping an eye out.

conclusion: this was the perfect blend of magic and mystery, and it's probably one of the best YA high fantasies out there. highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Jill.
513 reviews807 followers
September 25, 2017
Full review to come! (: But basically this book was so interesting and unique at some point but also pretty predictable and boring at others... overall pretty average for me.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,398 followers
July 27, 2017

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

DNF @ 30%

No full review because this book is really a it's not you, it's me situation. Have some notes:

* I can see why people like this book
* I just don't do carnivals I think: Caraval & The Night Circus weren't my friends so why did I think I'd enjoy this???
* The pretty cover is not reason enough it seems
* And the fact the author seems like an incredible person
* I just don't get the concept (that's on me)
* Kind of reminds me of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
* Everyone felt like they had one personality to me
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
July 21, 2018
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Read my discussion if you want to know more about why my opinion is unpopular!

The writing was quite awkward at first and hard to get into... it created this foreboding that made it really hard to keep reading. I had loved this cover for so long that it made me desperately unhappy to not be enjoying this...

A MAJOR problem is Sorina. I really thought she was okay in the beginning but the longer I spent with her the stupider she got. And the more boring. I pretty much figured out who it was from the moment I met the murderer. I read 200ish pages to learn HOW. It was pretty obvious that there were no other suspects... I kept reading because I really wanted to know!

What made reading the book bearable was the fascinating setting (loved the moving circus even though I could envision it or the logistics of how it moved) and all the little details that made the world. I also quite liked the idea of the magic and the different kinds and how urban it all felt.

Another element I loved was Luca! While I became increasingly frustrated with Sorina Lorca made everything GRAND! Even the terribly thin plot. He felt like such a relief after the extensive setup that felt neverending... I constantly wondered when the story was finally going to start when I realized... THIS. WAS. IT! *sigh* I was so dang bored... it was horrible and makes me worried to ever read Amanda Foody again.

Daughter of the Burning City was a disappointment, there is no other way to say it... But the details of the world were truly stellar. And I did love Luca and could see why Sorina fell for him. Her dilemma was much harder for her to take and I'm not sure it would have ended as neatly as it did but I'm glad to know how the murders happened and find my guesses were accurate.

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Profile Image for Chelsies Reading Escape.
631 reviews362 followers
March 17, 2018
If I hadnt Buddy Read this with Jack +The Page Runner+ it would have probably stayed on my TBR shelf for at least another 6 months. Buddy reading added so much to the experience I hope we can do another one in the future. He pointed out some valid inconsistencies that I totally missed. Like someone who has no eyes making eye contact and how unfamilar the main character was with some places of the festival after living there for 13 years. His review goes more into depth than mine so you should definitely check it out.



A standalone fantasy with bisexual representation set in a traveling circus. Yes Please! In this book we follow Sorina, an Illusion worker who was adopted by the festivals proprietor. Now she runs a Freak Show with her illusions who have become her family over the years. Once her illusions start getting murdered she has to team up with an unlikely ally to uncover the killer before he strikes again.

I loved the carnival/circus elements, but I would have loved to see more of the perfomances. We did get to see Sorina Freak Show, Skull Market, a Party and some Fortune Telling, but I feel like we didnt get enough. Plus we were totally teased about the Menagery and then it failed to deliver. Overall, I just felt like the world was missing a little something.

Sorina was a bit naive, but I still liked her as character. I also enjoyed how the romance developped. Luca was such an interesting character. Her illusions were fascinating with all their unique attributes and personality, but I didnt get to know them enough to form a good connection with them. I always appreciate it when a fanatsy novel has some great diversity. I was pleasantly surpised that this also had asexual rep.

I liked the mystery, but I feel like it wasnt as suspenseful as it should have been and maybe thats because I wasnt really connected to the side characters. I had a pretty good idea who was behind the killings, but I was still taken by surprised by one fantastic plot twist. I also really liked how the killers motivations were well explained in the end. This was such a quick and easy read for me. Im happy I finally got to it.

(Going to bed but might edit & add more later)
Profile Image for Michael.
177 reviews770 followers
July 15, 2017
Overall, I really enjoyed this debut.

Post-The Night Circus, it's hard to read a festival book without making comparisons. DOTBC is the first time a book has held its own in my mind.

While not as magical, it was definitely strange and entertaining. The mystery was a good hook throughout and the world building outside Gammorah, while scarce, was intriguing as well. That being said, there were some smaller things I had issues with.

Further, I haven't seen much said about the LGBTQIA+ representation in this book, which is a shame. While characters never explicitly state their sexualities, there is gay, bisexual, and demisexual rep, which was really awesome to see in a fantasy like this.

Does anyone know if it's a standalone or the first in a series?

P.S. EmmmaBooks and I may be doing a liveshow discussion for this book after its released so I double recommend picking it up!
Profile Image for Zoë ☆.
897 reviews180 followers
May 17, 2018
I did it!!! I finished it 🙌🏻
This book was very mysterious and twisted!
But I feel like this is a book you should read all at once, because I really had trouble getting into the story again once I stopped reading a while ago. Maybe on a rainy sunday? ☔️
Profile Image for kate.
1,146 reviews924 followers
September 25, 2017
I hear circuses and I instantly want to know more. Which is exactly why the moment I heard about Daughter of the Burning City, it shot to the top of my TBR but although I definitely enjoyed this, unfortunately I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to.

For a large part of the book, I found the pacing pretty slow, which meant it felt a little tiresome to get through as times. Having said that, I loved the faster paced action scenes towards the end and would have loved to have had a bit more of that sprinkled throughout. Although I predicted the murderer pretty early on in the book, I was kept guessing and at times questioning myself. Which is always fun experience when reading a murder mystery.
I enjoyed the characters and their different abilities but although I found them intriguing, I didn’t feel too attached to them. I would have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Sorina’s family of illusions better, as I thought they were all really interesting and had a lot more to give! I felt similarly towards the world Daughter of the Burning City was set in. It was incredibly intriguing and I loved the snippets we got into life in Gamorrah. With that being said I wasn’t the biggest fan of the world building as a whole, (and this was probably entirely my fault, reading whilst exhausted probably wasn’t my best idea…) but because I was continuously confused as to how the worlds clock worked and the difference between The Up-Mountain and The Down-Mountain and because of this, I didn’t feel I had a grasp on Gamorrah and the places travel to in this book.

As I mentioned before, I did enjoy this book and something I loved was the diversity, specifically the casual approach towards sexuality. Although labels weren’t used, it appeared as though our main character, Sorina, was bisexual, mentioning on a few occasions of how she was excited about her future with either a prince or princess. The love interest was somewhere on the ace spectrum (demi-sexual seems the best fit based on the text and from what I’ve read from other reviewers). Sorina’s sister was a lesbian and her father was also bisexual. Apart from one occasion of confusion, which lead to a brilliant discussion on consent from someone seemingly on the ace spectrum, no ones identity was ever questioned or confronted with prejudice or bigotry, which was absolutely fantastic to read. Sorina also came across as suffering with anxiety at times and mentioned having panic attacks on a few occasions, which was really refreshing to see portrayed in a fantasy!

The plot, setting and characters of Daughter of the Burning City were most definitely unique and although I didn’t absolutely love this book, it was still an intriguing and enjoyable read. I’m definitely excited to see what Amanda Foody has in store for us next and considering this was her debut and had so many great elements, I can only imagine her books will just get better and better!!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,032 reviews1,423 followers
August 28, 2017
Whilst there were things I really enjoyed about this book I found this, ultimately, to be another instance of the hype surrounding this to lead my expectations to be too highly placed.

Sorina can conjure illusions that seem and feel as real as any of the humans that come to see the freak show they perform together. This girl with no eyes is given a way to view the world through the senses of her creations and, so, their dual reliance on each other causes a dysfunctional, little family to form.

I found this to be such an unusual and innovative character set that I was expecting a whimsical and magical tale about their lives to emerge. Instead this quickly transferred from being just that to a romantically-centred story, and a mystery thriller with a dash of fantasy thrown in.

Also the setting, a travelling circus city of sorts, was such an intriguing notion that I was expecting this to give me The Night Circus vibes, which I have been looking to see duplicate since falling in utter adoration of that novel. Again, I found this initially did just that before allowing this to become alike to any other world, both real or imaged, with only the barest hints of anything unusual.

It seems the first third delivered everything I thought this would. It soon lost itself to mediocrity, however, and I found myself longing for the initial whimsy. This first section could have been drawn out into a full-length novel and I would have adored an extended exploration of Sorina's life in the circus, but I felt dragged away from this too soon and was instead given something I felt I had read and seen delivered in many similar fantasy novels. Not bad, but not what I was expecting from this.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Amanda Foody, and the publisher, Harlequin Teen, for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Emma♔☯ (Bookishfix).
182 reviews50 followers
September 5, 2017
"Wicked, Wicked to the core,
The city will burn forevermore"

I was so excited when i ordered this book and it finally arrived. Not only did the synopsis draw me to this book but so did the beautiful cover. Although i haven't read alot of circus/carnival related books, this book blew me away. The characters, the festival, the mystery, the magic; it was beyond what i thought it would be and will definitely be reading it again at some point. Being Amanda Foody's first ever novel, she did such an amazing job creating not only well thought out characters and a beautifully descriptive festival that is an addictive, mysterious read that many readers will enjoy.
16 year old, Sorina has lived most of her life at the travelling city of the Gomorrah Festival, whose walls are constantly burning, after being adopted by the proprietor,Villiam- running the Festival and to become proprietor herself in the case of his death, she is the only heir to travelling city.
Being born without eyes, Sorina sees herself as a freak, and often hides her eyeless face behind decorative masks. Being the only illusion worker in hundreds of years, not much is known about her abilities, but from a young age she has grown her own family(who are all her own creations/illusions that others can see, feel and hear), loving each other , taking care of one another and all make up the cast of the Freakshow attraction at Gomorrah. Their act consists of: The show manager (Nicoleta), The Boneless Acrobat(Venera), The Fingernail Mace(Crown), The Half Girl Half Hawk (Hawk), The Fire Breathing Baby(Blister), the Two Headed Boy(Unu and Du) , the Human Tree (Tree) and the Trout man(Gill). Her magic also gives her the power to see without eyes, and to partly cast an illusion over herself as something else to become invisible and hide when she needs.
When one of her illusions turns up dead after a performance, Sorina is determined to find out who is behind the death of her family member, how it is possible for someone to kill one of her illusions and why. Are they real? and are they all in danger? Is it someone within Gomorrah or an enemy outside of its burning walls?
With the help of her new friend Luca, another Gomorrah performer with an act that involves him being killed but unable to die, Sorina sets out for the truth.
In a Festival full of sex workers, magicians and thieves with many festival go-ers coming and going within the walls, the hunt is be on for the person responsible , but how many will die before the truth is revealed?

"The smoke is part of Gomorrah's legend: once upon a time, we were burned to the ground. But we did not die. Instead we kept burning, kept moving, kept growing. The smoke surrounds us, even if we no longer burn."

My favourite character was definitely Sorina. No eyes, beautiful masks, able to create illusions, was saved from slavery, the only one of her kind in hundreds of years- Why wouldn't i love this character? Sorina is loving, trusting, shy and brave, although her one insecurity is definitely her lack of eyes, of course the whispers of 'freak' and the gasps she has grown up with doesn't help her feel anything less than that, a 'freak' to all around her. Some people were confused on how this character can see without eyes, and its quite simple really- Magic/her ability. Although her creations are her own, and she planned how she wanted them to be, they tend to take on a mind of their own with their own unique personalities.
Although Sorina is my favourite, i also loved each and every one of her illusions although i didn't realise it until they started being killed off. I think the pain the family and Sorina show for her murdered loved ones really hits the readers, even if it happens really early on after just first meeting them, the love and bond they share really hits home, well it did for me.
Something i absolutely loved about this book was the diverse sexualities displayed, in a totally normal and non-homophobic world unlike ours. The normal is to be with whomever you want. There is no homophobia, no insults, no looks, in this world its 100% normal. Which i wish was the same in our world as i have many friends who are gay, bisexual or trans and some of the things they have gone through are heart wrenching and just plain makes me sad of the cruel and at times heartless world we live in.

The writing! For a first novel, i think Amanda Foody smashed this one out of the park. Its fluent, easy to read, the conversations flow and are natural, it makes sense and is so beautifully created and thoughout. I loved everything about the burning city, and wish such a festival existed because i'd be there in heartbeat.
"This section of Gomorrah is lit by white torchlights and paper lanterns, which wear golden halos in the gray fog. Everyone in the Festival seems like a silhouette, a shadow of an actual person. It makes it easy to get lost and, depending where you are in Gomorrah, never be found again"

In all, i loved this book. I have no complaints other than i want more! I enjoyed every moment of this world and the characters. If this is the level Amanda Foody has set up for her first novel, i cannot wait to see what else she comes up with. What an amazingly beautiful read!
Recommended for: Fantasy/ YA

Check out my blog for more bookish awesomeness:
Profile Image for Boston.
404 reviews1,846 followers
January 5, 2020
3.5 stars. I wish I would have loved it more because the representation was so good 😭
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
904 reviews274 followers
March 8, 2018
I cannot think of the last time I read a book that was so unique, and yet so in line with today's young adult themes. Amanda Foody has taken the currently popular setting of a circus, a main character with unique powers and put a spin on it that is so imaginative I'm jealous I can't think like her.

Uniquely Imaginative
Our main gal is able to make illusions that become permanent. So her friends and family are all 'living' embodiments of people she has created in her head. This clever element of Daughter of the Burning City puts into question what is alive, what is dead and above all else what is 'real'. These illusions speak and interact as their own personalities on their own. They are tied to our lead gal but not in an physical essence, just on a plain only she can see. I cannot over emphasize how unique this is and how much it affects the entire story from there. Our leading gal is also able to create illusions that trick people into believing they see (or don't see) something that isn't there which goes hand-in-hand with her living characters. While the beginning of Daughter of the Burning City is difficult to follow at first, once you settle in and get past about 50-100 pages the drop you in beginning is long forgotten because the story and characters start to feel like long lost friends.

I am usually not impressed with romantic entanglements in young adult. Graceling being one of my few exceptions to the rule for example. I can now add Daughter of the Burning City next to those rare young adult books that take a story with teenage romance and make it believable in that scary and uncertain, with no confidence or logic. The relationships in this book between everyone are very real and genuine but our main gal alongside the love interest felt like I was reliving one of my first relationships as a teenager. An attraction where you feel lost and everything is scary yet exhilarating at the same time. Additionally the pacing of the relationship is very well done. Kudos to Foody for not creating an insta-love situation (and no love triangle!!) and instead creating that lust and draw that comes with first teenage attraction to the moment where you realize you may never breathe again without that person next to you.

I was very worried around the 75% mark that I was not going to be pleased with the ending of this story. I couldn't figure out the mystery and all the theories I came up with just didn't make sense or were 'cheap' (broke the confines of what was known to be true).
So I was blown away by the ending and absolutely loved it!! It makes total sense and is like the icing on the cake to this gorgeous, engaging and captivating novel. I can't say anything more for fear of spoilers; so if you want to know more you'll just have to read the book!

Immediately after finishing the Daughter of the Burning City I felt like maybe Foody missed something. I couldn't quite place my finger on why I didn't want to give it 5 stars. So I mulled on it for a couple of days, and I've come to the conclusion (without re-reading it) that it's because it is just so imaginative and the ending had so much impact that I felt like there should be a hole somewhere. Besides finding the beginning a little bit confusing I cannot deny the fact that I've never really experienced a story quite like this one. It stands alone in my mind as a truly unique story, with interesting characters and bizarre concepts of magic

On a reread I believe I would love this book even more. (If only I had time to do so!)
Officially my grade would be 4.25 stars but as I think this is a story to be revisited and re-read many times I am upgrading it to 5 stars.

I would easily recommend this to any young adult fantasy reader and look forward to putting the trade paperback version on my permanent print bookshelf.

For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 4 books482 followers
March 23, 2017
Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this book. My views are entirely my own.

For a debut, Foody wields the power fo the pen with expertise. The writing is succinct and clever, the world beautifully crafted and explored, and the characters are engaging and witty. I felt swept up by the world and accepted by Sorina's family. What more could a reader ask for?

Gomorrah, the festival of wonders, full of twists and turns, adventure and charm. Foody manages to paint this living, ever-expanding, always-moving city beautifully, Gomorrah coming to life upon the pages. If Gomorrah were real, I would want to lose myself within its wonders almost immediately. The city teems with mystery and political intrigue, magic and mythology.

Through the adventures of our MC Sorina, we uncover the mysteries of Gomorrah. Sorina is an able, unique MC, equal parts tenacity and bravery, wit and creative. Sorina is an entirely unique character in the world of YA, for many reasons, including her unique appearance (lack of eyes). Sorina's cast of creations, also her family, are equally fleshed out. For fabrications, the mystery of their demise is still heart-wrenching because of Foody's clever writing.

Overall, fans of Stephanie Garber's Caraval and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone are sure to love this book and the world Foody has created. I can only hope that Foody continues to explore Gomorrah, a world ripe with mystery and adventure.
Profile Image for Irene ➰.
494 reviews76 followers
October 31, 2017

"The smoke is part of Gomorrah's legend: once upon a time, we were burned to the ground. But we did not die. Instead we kept burning, kept moving, kept growing. The smoke surrounds us, even if we no longer burn."

When there's a book with a circus involved, sign me in!
I loved the drawings in the middle of Sorina's friends and family, aka her illusions. They were so helpful to actually picture them, how they would look like.
I wished there was a map though, I think that in a book like this was quite essential. We travel a lot in there!

The concept for this book was very particular and very interesting, the fact that it's an entire city that it's moving and not just the "freak show".
The plot in general was well studied with a pretty vast worldbuilding, and I think that it's even more exciting if it's read in a short period of time.
Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the suspence and mystery/investigation part as I wanted because of my lack of time that week.
I was able to read only two chapters in a row because I was squeezing the book between work and stuff.
It was pretty frustrating to be honest, this book is actually a page-turner, full of action and events with a very exciting story.

There's a little bit of general introduction at the very beginning and then the book starts straight away with the whole mystery and creepy murders.
While reading we explore quite a bit of the "burging city" and we discover a lot of its backstory and what's happening outside, in the other cities.
This is, in fact, a moving festival costantly on tour, so of course there are people from the outside who attend the festival and its attractions.

The main backstory was written a little too much in a rush, personal opinion. I wanted to know a little more in the specific the past and the things that happened in this world - but I wanted to read a lot too of the "present" time lol
The characters in here are very unique and I loved every single one of them. All of them are "used" costantly throughout the book and, in fact, they were the ones who were killed even if they were just illusions.
We put the pieces together slowly but it was still very exciting to discover those little pieces one by one.

The ending was full of revelations and my guesses were actually right *high five*.
What I didn't like of this book? The smell of its pages, big no for me lol
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,336 reviews1,016 followers
September 11, 2017
3.5 stars

Gomorrah is a travelling circus that is so large it's practically a city in it's own right. It's a place of magic and mystery and everything about it is designed to entice the crowds to spend their money before it passes on to a new destination. Gomorrah is also a safe haven for magic users (known as jynx-workers) and misfits who aren't always accepted in normal society.

Sorina has been with the circus for as long as she can remember after being adopted by the show proprietor, Villiam, when she was a young child. Born with no eyes but able to see with the use of her magic Sorina is a master of illusions and she is in charge of running the freak show at Gomorrah. Sorina's illusions are so real that they actually become people that are capable of living their own lives, she has used her abilities to create a family for herself from the stern but caring uncle Gill who is part man and part fish and unable to breath out of water, the motherly Nicoletta whose super strength isn't a reliable gift, to her beautiful, and incredibly bendy younger sister Venera who makes a perfect acrobat and more besides. Each of Sorina's illusions has become a real person and she loves them all deeply.

No matter how happy Sorina has always been at Gomorrah things are about to change for the worse, the unrest in the world outside the circus is causing friction between the jynx-workers and the general public an there is a darkness lurking inside the circus that Sorina is only just starting to uncover. Sorina has always believed her illusions are immortal, they are connected to her in a way that she believes keeps them safe so when one of them is killed she is shocked and horrified. Now she must try to figure out what is going on before more of her family are lost, why are her illusions being targeted and how can she keep them all safe when she doesn't know where the danger is coming from?

The story was a little bit of a slow burner for me, it took me a little while to get completely sucked into this world but once it hooked it's claws into me I was totally invested in the characters and heartbroken every time Sorina lost another member of her family. I think where the book fell down a little was the world building outside of the circus, there is obviously a lot of political intrigue and things happening outside are having a huge effect on life inside Gomorrah but there were times when I struggled to connect to what was going on.

When it came to Sorina's life in the circus I thought the descriptions were wonderful, I was easily able to picture the setting and I loved the different types of magic that were mentioned. I also really fell in love with Sorina's whole family, I loved how they all had their own personality traits and how they could irritate each other like any family but that they were always there for each other no matter what. I also really enjoyed the introduction of Luca's character, he had his own jynx-worker abilities and was a bit of a mystery man so I was intrigued from the start. I liked the hint of a developing romance but was glad that it didn't overtake the rest of the story and the focus remained on Sorina trying to figure out why her family was being targeted.

Daughter of the Burning City is a great debut from Amanda Foody and I really hope we're going to get more stories set in this world, I'd love to revisit Gomorrah and spend more time getting to know the different jynx-workers we came across here. Either way I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever this author publishes next. I have very high hopes for her next story!
Profile Image for Rachael (RedRchlReads).
163 reviews114 followers
August 19, 2017
5 Stars!

I finished Daughter of the Burning City moments ago and absolutely loved it! As with most of my reads, I went in completely blind. (I didn't even know that it was set in a carnival or that the city is literally burning.) To me, this only serves to heighten the mystery and keep the allure of the story intact. I loved every second of it! Not a single piece of this book was cliche, predictable, or boring. Tropes are avoided and the balance between YA and Adult fantasy is perfectly achieved.

From the very first page, I was completely enthralled with the story and the world that Amanda Foody brings so vividly to life. The traveling city of Gomorrah is so real it is almost as if you are a participant blending in with the crowds of performers and visitors. The tents, caravans, atmosphere, and characters were masterfully portrayed in a way that sweeps you off your feet and brings you right into the heart of Gomorrah. No detail is left incomplete in this often dark, somewhat magical, certainly extraordinary world.

The characters are absolutely fantastic. The main character of the story, Sorina, is a blind teenage girl with the only illusion-worker powers seen in hundreds of years. Although this makes her quite rare, Sorina is not your average YA protagonist. She is incredibly real and, by association, incredibly flawed and I found her quite refreshing. Sorina is easily one of my favorite main characters in a YA book. The supporting characters are no less unique, real, and flawed in their own ways. These are characters that will stick with you long after the book is finished.

The heart of the story is a murder mystery. Again, this is expertly written and left me guessing right until the very end. Every time I thought I knew what was happening, I was proven wrong. Then my originally suspicions were renewed, only to be proven completely wrong again! I love when an author keeps you on your toes and strays so far from the predictable that only at the last moment is there an inkling of the truth.

Foody does not pull any punches in this raw and often emotional story of family, love, and loss. As the characters experience a wide range of emotions, so too does the reader. Even just a few short chapters in, the characters experience joy, love, worry, grief, everything beyond and everything in between. It is not often that we see such a range of truth in YA novels. Life is messy and complicated, and DotBC shows that in all its glory.

There is so much more to say about this book and I'm not sure I even conveyed the points I was trying to make here, but I don't want to say much more. This was yet another fantastic debut novel and I will definitely be following Amanda Foody to see what she writes next. I highly recommend that everyone read this book. It is wonderful and I guarantee you won't be able to put it down!
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