Review: Ace of Swords (ARC)

Expected publication: March 8th 2021 

Author: Clare Carter

The war between vampires and angels has been long and arduous. Logan’s father was taken by a vampire when she was a child, and her brother has long since been separated from her by the foster system. She’s spent her entire life in fear of vampires, researching everything she can about them in an attempt to someday find her father. When she meets a mute boy named Cade, who is searching for the vampire’s base, she knows this is the opportunity she’s been looking for.

Cade isn’t a normal boy, though—he’s an Izel—a half-vampire, half-angel hybrid whose species was completely eradicated four years ago. As they travel together, Logan has to reconcile with the fact that despite him having vampire blood, she starts to truly care about him.

In a war-torn 1990s, Logan and Cade search for the vampire’s base as the past and present intertwine to show how the war has affected their world.

In the 1990s, there is an ongoing war between Angels and Vampires. It is the humans and the werewolves that find themselves caught in the middle as they are not major players for one side or the other, but can be unintended victims of war. Our main story is about a girl trying to find her father after he is suddenly kidnaped by vampires. There are multiple side stories that create a vast tapestry of intertwining stories that captivate the reader to find some truths as everything may not be as it seems.  The story seamlessly includes representation of a mute character, LGBTQ+ relationships, toxic relationships, and prejudices in an entertaining supernatural novel.

This story is told from seven different points of view! Each character focuses on one character either in the present or past. Our present timeline takes place around the fall of 1994 and the story mainly stays around 1990 for its chapters in the past, with an exception in the late 1980s. First up, we have Robby, who is the father of two characters, Logan and Eli. His kidnapping by vampires starts the journey for the two children and sets off the events of the books.  Next, we have Eli, the older brother, who is a human. Our main character is Eli’s younger sister, Logan, also a human. We have the supernatural characters next, two angels, Amber, an angel, and her boyfriend, December, also an angel. You have Amber’s childhood friend, Cade, an Izel (angel/vampire hybrid). Finally, the last point of view is Denzi, the vampire king.

Eli and Logan start in the same orphanage, but are separated after Eli ages out of the system. Eli’s journey takes him to eventually end up in a transition house with the Vicky, the Queen of Swords, the human queen. He becomes a member of the Cards, a group of elites that each represents a Tarot Card. He is the Fool, which following the Tarot, represents faith in the future and new beginnings. It disappointed me that this was not further explored as it seemed to be mentioned and then the story moved on.  Eli’s main chapters are set in the past as the events he is involved in act as backstory for the events in the present.

Logan escapes her time at the orphanage and journeys on the search for her father. Near the edge of vampire territory, she runs into Cade, who is mute. It was fantastic to have a mute character included in a story as I loved the author incorporated the use of ASL and how Logan immediately wants to learn it in order to communicate with him. The two of them join forces as Cade wants to find Amber and December after becoming separated and Logan wants to find her father, both most likely will be found in vampire territory. Logan is at first unsure about Cade due to his vampire heritage, but soon she starts to think that maybe not all vampires are the enemy.  Cade is most likely the last of his kind as the Izel population was wiped out suddenly after an attack by vampires. There is a mystery surrounding the attack as the vampires aren’t completely claiming ownership of the attack and maybe other beings could be involved.

Amber, December, and Denzi’s portion of the story take place in both the past and present as Amber and December have been caught by the vampires and are now planning their escape so they can find Cade. Amber and December have a very complex relationship and it was interesting to read about how their relationship has stayed together since they were younger. I found myself very invested in their story to see not only how they will grow as characters, but also how their relationship will be affected by their capture. Although, Cade and Logan began to develop feelings for each other during their travels together, I found myself not being as invested in them in favor of the secondary characters.

Overall, Ace of Swords fits the Tarot card description as it represents the pursuit of truth and to find justice.  The entire novel is set in both Montana and Wyoming, however, I would not have known if the story did not flat out tell me where the characters were. I wish there were more descriptors of the environment as it was difficult to tell if they were traveling though the wilderness or cities. The story was really interesting when you look at the big picture. You have all the different beings who are at war with each other with those caught in the middle trying to stay alive. There is a complex web of characters who all have their different backgrounds and motivations for how they arrived at a certain place and how they fit into the story. I found it all very interesting. The most difficult part while reading was relating to each character. As the chapters switch points of view, I was unable to connect with each character as the story moved on before I was given a chance. For the plot and general pacing, this system worked as the reader got the backstory and present events presented in a timely manner, but it left the characters behind as there was no opportunity to care about them.  It was a very entertaining, but slightly confusing, read.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, FyreSyde Publishing, for an ARC to read. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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