Review: Daughter of the Burning City

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. 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.

So, either I have too high of expectations of YA lit, or books are just getting worse in the past few years. I always want to like the book, but I think I get my expectations too high (like for this one).

This book was… weird. The MC has a god complex, I could not for the life of me figure out the setting, and the writing was both modernized and old-school fantasy. It was just… weird. Not necessarily bad, but weird.

To start, I had some general disagreements with the fact that the MC could literally CREATE LIFE with her brain, and no one questioned that. Like, everyone was all “oh how cute, Sorina made another person for her family, and will randomly lock them up in her brain.” No one ever questioned this ability, or questioned how legitimate these “people” she made were. Yet, it wasn’t a common gift in her world… So why weren’t people FREAKING OUT. Were these “illusions” real or not? Did they have to disclose to their partners that they weren’t really people? Although I thought the whole concept was super, super weird, I could’ve dealt with it if it had been explained well… It wasn’t. So, I was hung up on this the entire book, and could not focus on the plot whatsoever. Because, well, I couldn’t care about any of the characters because I had no idea what their role in society was! And just. I had so many questions.

So, was every town in this place a traveling circus? I was also very confused by the setting and the world building. I could not understand the context of anything that was in this society, which really turned me off from the story from the start. Where WERE THEY?! I had no idea, and the story wasn’t helping me figure it out. The language went between modern, and then medieval. It was really bizarre.

The plot was also a bit predictable. Honestly, the book just seemed like it was written for a younger audience, as it was simple. I really did like the writing overall, the style was very spunky. However, there were major plot holes and inconsistencies that really made the story difficult for me to enjoy. Thus, it was a miss for me.

I give Daughter of the Burning City 2.5 out of 5.

Maddie

 

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