Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé was a new dark academia thriller. Devon and Chiamaka are being targeted by someone named Aces, and they’ll get to the bottom of it.

From Goodreads:

Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

“I have to stop myself from apologizing- because what would I even be sorry for? Existing too loud?”

Rating this book was difficult, as the first 50% felt like a three-star read and the other 50% felt like a 5 star read. I am settling on 4 stars, but that twist really does make this hard to lock into. The audiobook was incredibly well narrated and put together, though. There wasn’t a moment where it was hard to follow, and the two separate narrators did a fantastic job.

“Growing up, I realized quite quickly that people hate being called racist more than they hate racism itself.”

The social commentary here is really solid, and the inclusion of multiple generations of racism true to reality. However, the pacing of the book dragged in the first half, and made me question the hype around the book. It didn’t feel like the amount of build-up was necessary, as there wasn’t an excess of world-building to be had. This made me pause the book for a bit, as I was finding myself bored. The book picks up a lot in the second half, and was incredibly enjoyable. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get there.

“What I felt was a desperation to be powerful in a world that doesn’t let girls be. Especially girls like me.”

Overall, this was a solid thriller once it got going. Despite the slow build-up, I enjoyed the twist immensely. It does require a level of setting aside reality, as something on this scale (without spoiling), would require more working together than I think is possible anymore. There were moments where the character’s actions were very horror movie standard, but, I still enjoyed reading about them and this plot to discover Aces.

“I think anyone can be nice, but it’s not about being nice. You can’t escape a history like that and not be affected.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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