I won a free ARC in a giveaway from Goodreads!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets really excited about a book, fortune shines down upon her so much that she won an ARC, and then you read it and you’re like… Well, okay then. Alas, that was me with Diamond City. I really liked the whole idea of the book, but I think this is a moment where it’s not the book, it’s me.
Content warning: Addiction, substance abuse, self-harm (The magic system includes blood magic, meaning a character has to harm themselves in order to use magic.)
Title: Diamond City (Diamond City #1)
Author: Francesca Flores
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected release date: January 28, 2020
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 400 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.
Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.
DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.
To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.
Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!“
Diamond City is an action-packed, keep you on the edge of your seat fantasy read. It weaves stories of immigrants, the rich and the poor, and a corrupt government. So…basically what we experience in real life, and I liked that the author pulled these concrete elements into her story. With the plot being so fast-paced, there were moments I wish the characters would just breathe. We’re running and struggling with the characters, but for me, there aren’t enough moments of deep thinking and analysis of internal struggle. I really wanted everyone to slow down for a second and even give me time to think about things.
The storyline around Aina and her boss, Kohl, was just…okay. I liked that she wanted to prove herself but it became a little overbearing when she kept wanting to prove herself to him as a way to pay him back for taking her in. I rolled my eyes a bit at this. I wanted more time spent on this particular element of the story as I didn’t feel a connection between Aina and Kohl and her developing somewhat romantic feelings for him. It felt out of the blue.
Aina is a trained assassin but again… I simply wasn’t convinced of this. We get flashbacks of her training with Kohl and how she “rose” to be his assassin but… I don’t know. I think I struggle with assassin storylines in general. I do expect them to be cold-blooded killers (let’s be serious here), and Aina has a softness about her, something her assassin training hasn’t destroyed, which I definitely like. She’s loyal and protective of those few people she cares about. I am glad that she eventually comes around and realizes Kohl doesn’t deserve anything from her.
While I enjoyed the world-building, I also found aspects of it a bit confusing. There is a lot going on in terms of world-building, and I think a map would have helped me. I’m not sure there will be one in the finished copy, but I sure hope so. Diamond City itself is so immersive and with civil wars, immigrants have flooded the city, so we have a lot of countries mentioned. I hope most of them come into play in the next book, so the readers have a firmer grasp on the world as a whole.
I did find some of the fighting scenes a bit repetitive and somewhat hard to follow. But I basically just remember she’s killing a bunch of people so… That helped me get past that, lol.
Anyway, like I said, while there are a lot of good things about this book and I definitely think many people will enjoy it, it simply wasn’t for me. Sometimes I feel weird for saying that because the intended audience is young adult, which I am no longer. This simply came down to “It’s not you, it’s me” thing.
Check out these other reviews:
- Breanna at Paws & Paperbacks (what a CUTE blog name!!!) gave this book 3.5 stars.
- Chloe at The Elven Warrior enjoyed the world-building, along with a variety of things she praised so highly!
- Safiya gave this book 5 stars!
There’s still time to pre-order and submit your receipt for some goodies by following these instructions. You can pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, or find it at your local indie with IndieBound.