Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
|Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Judy Davies|
|Summary: This is a mind-bendingly unusual story, set in the world of a travelling circus called Gomorrah, where difference, special ability or disability is the norm. I loved the richly described sights and smells of the circus and wanted to buy candy floss and have my fortune told. However, the tale is a darkly, serious one which challenges our ideas of inclusion, social class and family life. We are pulled into what it might be like to live in a travelling community, but Gomorrah is a community like no other. Be prepared to be shocked!|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: HQ Young Adult|
|External links: Author's website|
Gomorrah, a travelling circus as big as a city, tours the land, entertaining the crowds with fantastic shows of magic, illusion and sleight of hand. But the proprietor of Gomorrah, Villiam, believes he has a far more important role than merely organising the acts in the circus. He has political ambition, which he keeps a secret from his adopted daughter. Growing up in the circus, Sorina knows that she will one day become the Proprietor and take over from her father. At sixteen, she is keen to start learning everything she can from Villiam.
Foody's great skill is her descriptive talent, as she brings alive the smoky and dangerous atmosphere of the fairground, where every form of debauchery can be found, alongside the colourful caravans and tents: gaming, prostitution, a menagerie and every conceivable thing to buy. Everything is turned on its head in Gomorrah: day becomes night, white is worn to funerals instead of black and nothing is as it seems. The darker side of life in Gomorrah is a good backdrop for the unsettling story which unfolds gradually throughout the book. Sorina finds herself caught up in a sickeningly sad murder mystery, and even with her special talents, she has to deal with loss, mistrust and danger.
Foody's characters are all equally colourful and strong. Sorina, the heroine of the story, is particularly likeable as she struggles with the doubts and vulnerabilities of adolescence. She trusts her father implicitly as he was the one to help her develop her special talents as an illusionist. She is brave and high principled even amongst the risky life she leads in Gomorrah. Villiam is an unfathomable character, who Foody leaves vaguely described and if I had a criticism it would be to know a little more about him.
This could be a very gloomy tale, a debauched world where civil war seems likely, but Amanda Foody manages to lighten the reading experience a little through her inclusion of some heart-warming characters and the healing love of a closely knit family. I also really liked the magical elements, which were inventive and left me wanting to know more. I did find the plot a little hard to follow, there being almost too much detail so the story did not always move along with clarity. Having said that, the ending is great and it is a highly creative plot that begs for a sequel.
You can read more book reviews or buy Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody at Amazon.com.
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