Book Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

DaughteroftheBurningCityDaughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Published by Harlequin Teen on July 25, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 384 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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 a passionate enthusiast of carnival inspired books, Amanda Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City was an absolute thrill to read. With a lush atmosphere, underlying politics, and intriguing mystery, this book captured my attention from the very first act. I was enamored by the characters and the Gomorrah Festival itself and could not help but fall in love with this story.

The Gomorrah Festival; a traveling city filled with entertainment, animals, vendors and more. It’s dark and devious with performers, criminals, and patrons populating the labyrinthine walkways. Foody crafts an atmospheric feast with her descriptions and I dream of attending such a tantalizing experience. The same can be said for the history behind the city and the political landscape of the nations stopped in.

The characters were certainly an interesting bunch. Sorina, an illusion worker and the proprietor’s daughter, is powerful but feels like an outcast in her own home. Her illusions are her family and only friends. I’m particularly fond of Tree and Nicoleta. Of course I couldn’t help falling for Luca, a poison worker who cannot be killed. He’s got swagger but can be a bit insensitive.

While Daughter of the Burning City was a super fascinating and enjoyable read I did have a few issues with it. There was some drag during the middle of the novel and I wish we could have spent more time with each of Sorina’s illusions. The other big thing was the magic system wasn’t very fleshed out. Jinx workers were prominent in the story but there wasn’t much explanation of how their powers worked.

Overall Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody was an absolute carnival delight. The dark alleys, acts, and, of course, scrumptious snacks kept me riveted while Sorina, Luca, and all the rest pulled at my heart. I did have a few issues with this one but the story was solid and the writing held up. I’d definitely recommend this one to fantasy fans especially those who like a little mystery.

Has Daughter of the Burning City piqued your interest? Love festivals, carnivals, circuses, etc?

Let me know in the comments below!

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