Book Club: Daughter of the Burning City

Author: Amanda Foody
ISBN: 9781489242068
RRP: $19.99
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Daughter of the Burning City is a captivating debut that I would love to see expanded into a series. The world building is both captivating and convincing and this was a young adult fantasy novel that I found to be truly unique.

There has been a lot going on around me lately which has messed with my focus, my motivation, my reading time and my writing time. It has now been a week since I finished the book and I need to get back in the zone to review. It took me a lot longer to read Daughter of the Burning City than I thought it would and that left me trying to work out why. I have always loved the fantasy genre and expected to get dragged right in from the outset but it took me ages to get hooked. It seems I need to be in the right headspace to be able to lose myself in a fantasy world, to be able to get my head around the world building required of a fantasy novel.

Gomorrah is a travelling city, and it travels in formation. It is a festival city, a circus of the strangest kind. The Gomorrah Festival began as a city 2000 years ago and what we learn of it’s history we learn from our leading lady Sorina.

Sixteen year old Sorina is a performer and heir to the proprietor, she has grown up within the fiery borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Even surrounded by those who are different and wield all types of magic, still Sorina stands out.

Daughter of the Burning City, and the Gomorrah Festival, are built on magic. All types of magic come together and still Sorina is an exception. Sorina is the girl who sees without eyes and is the only illusion-worker to be born in centuries. Sorina’s abilities as an illusion-worker allow her to create a family to surround her, a family of illusions that people can see, feel and touch and who make up the cast of the Gomorrah Festival Freak Show.

Illusions, created in the mind of Sorina, corporeal though they may seem are still just that… illusions. They may seem very lifelike but they aren’t truly real. So, if that’s the case, how then does someone murder an illusion?

Sorina is desperate to protect her family so she sets out to discover who is killing her creations, and more importantly… HOW. So begins a race against time to solve the situation before she loses anyone else.

There was a lot to love about this book and it’s world building. The scope is massive with the creation of an entire world, a host of different magic workers and a history that ties all the pieces together. It was a lot to take in and I found that I needed focus to be able to get in the zone and be able to keep it all straight in my head.

My biggest issue is that this seems to be a stand alone single title, with the depth of the world-building and character development I would have loved more books in the Gomorrah Festival. I would love more stories centred on Sorina and her adventures within the Gomorrah Festival.

Sorina is a strong and capable young woman, she created her very own family out of her very own imagination and gave them life, even if they didn’t turn out quite the way she planned. She is destined to take over the festival one day but she still has quite a naive understanding, being fed what her father wants her to know.

Daughter of the Burning City is a captivating young adult title that is more about the mystery and uncovering the culprit than anything else. There is an element of romance but it’s quite understated and well written. There’s no love at first sight, no love triangles; only a young woman who has never met anyone like herself that wonders if she will ever meet anyone that can accept her how she is. The suspense is well written and we are offered clues throughout but I certainly didn’t get close to working out what was going on.

Magic workers of every description, political power plays and religious fervour came together in a captivating story that tied the ending up quite convincingly, yet still left me wanting more. I think it will be a hit with fans of young adult, fantasy and suspense gneres.

Amanda Foody can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and

Daughter of the Burning City is published by Harlequin and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Daughter of the Burning City so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.


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