Stay tuned below for a review of Queen of Volts as well as an excerpt!
Author: Amanda Foody
Series: The Shadow Game #3
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Released: September 1st, 2020
Warning: Kidnapping, memory loss, violence, grief, suicidal ideation, PTSD, toxic relationships
I received a copy of Queen of Volts in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Queen of Volts is the third and final novel in The Shadow Game trilogy by Amanda Foody. It’s a tale of luck, legends, and sacrifice.
We’re once again diving back into the City of Sin, though the world is rapidly changing all around. The stakes are about to become higher than ever for Levi, Enne, and all of their allies. Once again they are about to be thrown into The Shadow Game.
A game not designed for a high survival rate. Levi and Enne survived once, and only by breaking the rules. Now they must find a way to bring all of their allies and friends through, as they are not the only ones playing this deadly game.
“There were warning signs now, too, but her friends romanticized the city’s tragic legends too much to understand where their story was truly heading.”
Warnings: There are several warnings that go with Queen of Volts, all of which are actually listed on Amanda Foody’s site. I absolutely adore that she took the time to warn her fans, and I respect it as well. Her warnings include: extreme violence, death, grief, attempted suicide/ideation, PTSD, toxic and abusive relationships, and addiction. I would also like to add in kidnapping and memory loss to that warning list.
I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that this is the finale of The Shadow Game. This is a series that I only recently dove into, and yet I really wasn’t prepared for the conclusion that Queen of Volts brought with it.
Mostly I’m saying that because of the level of trauma both of the previous two novels left me with. Especially King of Fools, which simultaneously broke my heart and left me terrified about the fate of other favorite characters.
What can I say about the finale? It was everything the fans deserved. In many ways, it was also the ending that the characters themselves deserved, though perhaps not in the ways they would have guessed or picked for themselves.
“A reckoning was coming for the City of Sin – and if not revolution, if not war, then it would bring violence all the same.”
There were times when I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved that we weren’t forced to move past the trauma that characters (and readers) received in the last couple of books. But I also hated the way some of the characters were reacting to it all. I loved seeing them forge forward, while I hated seeing the stakes go up again. That sort of thing.
It was all worth it in the end. That emotional rollercoaster I was forced onto paid off, and with gusto. This is every bit the ending I would have asked for, if I had thought to do so. Yet Amanda Foody still had a few surprises in store, and that came with a few more emotional gut-punches. So consider yourself warned, and get ready for that ride.
It was early morning when Harvey Gabbiano dug the grave.
Harvey didn’t like the cemeteries in the Deadman District, precisely because they were cemeteries. Most
people didn’t know it, but there was a difference between a cemetery and a graveyard— graveyards
were connected to a church. But the only place to find devotion in this neighborhood was at the bottom
of a bottle.
This cemetery was a bleak, soulless plot of land, made bleaker by the drizzle that had soaked through
Harvey’s clothes. Rusted industrial plaques marked each of the graves. There were no f lowers
anywhere, not even weeds, and the unkept grass grew patchy and brown.
“It would’ve been easier if you’d burned it,” Bryce told him. He’d watched Harvey work all morning, but
not once had he offered to help…or even to share his umbrella. Bryce didn’t see the point in helping
with tasks he disapproved of, even if this task was important to Harvey.
“It’s holier to bury him,” Harvey repeated yet again. Even though Harvey was Faithful, he wouldn’t have
gone to all this trouble had the deceased not been wearing a Creed of his own. He didn’t know many
others who practiced the Faith anymore—it had been banned for so long now. “You don’t have to stay.”
“I’m staying. You’re funny, you and those superstitions of yours. I could use a laugh.”
Harvey didn’t know how Bryce could find humor in the situation. The November weather was cold. The
cemetery was irreverent and depressing. The dead had not deserved to die.
But Bryce had come with him, and so, no matter the circumstances, Harvey couldn’t help but feel a little
“I’m not doing this to be funny,” Harvey responded, forcing his voice into a grumble. He pressed his
bulky leather boot against the step of the shovel. The mud he lifted glinted with green shards of broken
“My mistake,” Bryce said dryly. “You’re doing this to be decent.”
Harvey absolutely was doing it to be decent. To be good. Because Harvey might not have been the
person who killed this man or any of the other hundred who’d perished two nights ago at the party in St.
Morse Casino, but as long as he remained hopelessly in love with Bryce Balfour, he would always have
blood on his hands.
It was hard not to glance at his friend as he worked. Harvey hated to look at him. But he didn’t need
to—he had long ago memorized every agonizing detail of his face, his figure, his posture. Bryce could be
absent and still be Harvey’s distraction.
Harvey hated himself for it.
The body made a thump when he pushed it into the hole.
Harvey straightened, his back aching from the exertion, his fingers blistered even through his gloves. The
hours of rain had made the dried blood on the body and clothes run again, and the flattened brown
grass it had been lying on moments before was now flooded with red. Harvey watched as the puddles
washed the blood away, and he murmured a silent prayer that the rain would do the same for his
“Harvey,” Bryce said sharply.
Harvey’s gaze shot toward him, and he flinched. Bryce hadn’t worn his brown-colored contacts since
that night at St. Morse, when he revealed himself to be a malison, someone with the talent to create
curses known as shades, a talent the world feared but hadn’t believed to truly exist. And despite always
knowing what Bryce was, Harvey wasn’t used to this adjustment.
Bryce’s malison scarlet eyes were a reminder of how low Harvey had fallen.
But Harvey’s gaze didn’t stop there—of course it didn’t. It traveled across Bryce’s face, down concave
cheekbones and lips chapped from kissing someone who wasn’t him. Down bony shoulders and a tall,
skinny frame, over threadbare clothes and a black wool coat that draped shapelessly over him. Harvey
lingered on the places he had kissed, on slender fingers and narrow hips and the smooth pale skin
between. Those memories haunted him.
Bryce didn’t pay Harvey’s staring any attention. He never did. His concentration was focused on the card
in his hand. He ran his thumb over its foiled gold back.
It was a Shadow Card, one of the cursed cards the Phoenix Club used to play the Shadow Game. Except
it wasn’t. Shadow Cards were silver. This one belonged to a different game, one Bryce and his girlfriend,
Rebecca, had devised themselves, one they had set in motion at St. Morse two nights prior. Harvey had
helped them deliver golden cards to every designated “player” across New Reynes, and now all that
remained was to wait for the star player to make a move.
“They’re here. I can feel it,” Bryce said hoarsely, squeezing the card so hard it bent.
By “they,” he meant the Bargainer. The City of Sin treated all of its legends with a hallowed reverence,
and this one was the oldest, most famous of them all: the wandering Devil who would bargain for
anything. Bryce had been obsessed with the tale for a year, ever since Rebecca had fallen sick. Despite
every effort—ethical or otherwise—Rebecca wasn’t improving, and Bryce had convinced himself that
her last hope for a cure was the Bargainer’s power. It was why he’d murdered all those people at St.
Morse—a desperate, ruthless attempt for the Bargainer’s attention.
I’ll sell my soul, if that’s what it takes, Bryce had once confided in Harvey, back when his smiles weren’t
so much like sneers, when he looked more like the boy Harvey used to love—the kinder version of
himself, the one Harvey couldn’t manage to let go of. Though Harvey had never voiced his opinion,
Bryce had lost his soul the moment he’d formulated this despicable plan.
They all had.
Harvey tried to ignore Bryce’s words. In the legend, the Bargainer approached people of their own
choosing. The only way to summon them directly was through chaos.
Surely Bryce wouldn’t attempt such evil, Harvey had once told himself.
But he had, and since that night at St. Morse, all of New Reynes seemed ablaze. The Scarhands, the
largest gang in the seedy North Side, had crumbled, their lord executed. Séance, the notorious assassin
of Chancellor Malcolm Semper, had been unmasked as both the last surviving Mizer and, to the city’s
shock, a seventeen-year-old girl from finishing school. Mafia donna Vianca Augustine had been shot
dead, and her son had won his election. Luckluster Casino had burned, and the Torren Family empire
along with it.
Thanks to Bryce, the City of Sin was in a state worse than chaos—it was in hell.
And now the Devil had returned home.
Even though Harvey was an accomplice in Bryce’s plans, the thought of all that had transpired—and all
that was still left to unfold—filled him with dread. He tried to focus on the shovel and the dirt and the
grave, on this one good thing, but his sins weighed heavy on his soul.
“Harvey,” Bryce snapped again. He never tolerated being ignored.
Harvey sighed. “How can you be certain the Bargainer is in New Reynes now?”
“I told you. I can feel it.”
At that moment, the rain began to fall harder, shifting from a drizzle into a downpour. Harvey’s brown
corkscrew curls stuck against his fair skin, and he wiped the water from his eyes.
“Why haven’t they come to me yet?” Bryce rasped, his hands trembling while he clutched his umbrella.
“I’m the one who summoned them. I deserve my bargain.”
“The legends never mentioned whether the Bargainer was prompt,” Harvey pointed out. He dumped
another pile of mud into the hole.
Bryce’s lips formed a thin line. He trudged over to the grave. The body was now entirely covered with
earth, but the plot was only half-filled. “That’s good enough. We should go back.”
“You can go. I’ll finish,” Harvey told him.
Bryce nodded and fiddled with his card anxiously. It was moments like these, when he looked so young
and vulnerable, that made Harvey weak. Because even if Bryce Balfour had lost his soul, Harvey still
kindled a hope that it could be found. That he could be the one to find it.
“Never mind,” Harvey murmured. “I’ll go with you.”
Harvey heaved his shovel over his shoulder, said a final prayer for Jac Mardlin and his unfinished,
unmarked grave, and followed his friend home.