[Please note that this review is spoiler-free 😊]
It’s a debut novel.
A frickin’ (I apologize for the use of slang language) debut novel that made me jump on my bed like a maniac the minute I read the last words.
And honestly, I have never read a debut novel this good.
‘All you need to know is . . . I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. ―Aces’
‘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?’
Termed as “This summer’s hottest YA debut.” by Entertainment Weekly, Ace of Spades is a dark and thrilling descent into the elite, status, and race.
How did I find the cover? The cover is marvellous. It gives some strong first-class vibes. I mean, it is marketed as Gossip Girl meets Get Out. Truth be told, Get Out scared me, like, it was a very good movie but it was scary, so I’ll go with scary good. And, as for Gossip Girl… well, you know what it is (grins).
I loved how Chiamaka and Devon are illustrated as a part of a card, with Chiamaka at the top and Devon at the bottom. You can also notice the comedy and tragedy masks fused to form one complete mask at the top left (upside) and bottom right corners (upside down) respectively. Devon and Chiamaka’s intense stares leave a thrilling impression upon the person holding the book and gazing at the cover.
Not to mention, the red colour is certainly striking. It primarily stands out, radiating calamity and danger.
How is the blurb? It seems pretty similar to the bunch of blurbs a lot of mystery novels present their stories with.
But, like all blurbs are, well, blurbs, this blurb threatens thrill. It seeks a to-be addicted reader who will keep turning the pages on and on and on until they let out a shriek or a gasp the second their eyes land on the last and final words.
What is the storyline about? Ace of Spades is narrated from the viewpoint of two students named Chiamaka and Devon. Both of the students attend Niveus Academy, a prestigious academy full of students from famous and well-off families.
Chiamaka is a perfectionist. Devon is an outcast. Both of them live in parallel worlds crossing past by in Niveus’ hallways. However, at the start of the school year, a person named Aces is set on taking both of them down. Aces leaks their darkest secrets, things that weren’t supposed to be known to everyone. Secrets that could jeopardize their academics and their futures for good.
Chiamaka ropes in Devon which subsequently leads them to team up against Aces and taking Aces down. Both of the students cruise through unexpected friendships, horrifying betrayals and the dark tales crafted by the one and only, society.
How was the storyline? I feel whatever words I put into this answer won’t be enough for how amazing the writing is. The introduction is simple, yet it leaves a humongous impact upon the reader. It starts off with the simple beginning of a school year, an unexpected decision and the meek entry of the antagonist.
However, the rise of the storyline is a thrilling ride. From the subtle nods to the legacy of Gossip Girl to how chaotic our teenage lives are is beautiful. The drama characterized is action-packed. You can literally imagine it happening right in front of you omnisciently. There are moments when you are gasping at the drama, and there are others where you just didn’t want that scene to happen at all. But I feel the happy moments are going to make up for them.
I just felt that the juncture before the climax, the writing felt slightly lazy. The moment before the climax began, I felt the writing was a bit bleak because I felt it was only that part that there wasn’t any action-packed dialogue.
The liveliness of the story does indeed take a cue from Get Out. There are parts when Chiamaka and Devon are scared about what is going to happen to them if they do not emerge unscathed from the inferno that Aces is slowly lighting up, but they both have some hope that if they are together, they can get through it.
A wonderful aspect about Ace of Spades is that how the stages of storytelling stood out pretty different from the regular way of storytelling. In most stories, the stages of storytelling have been given an equal distribution of time, give or take. However, the author has taken her time for the rising action and the climax. She has wrapped up the falling action along with the resolution quite conclusively, even though it may be short. I believe that is a very tough task to do but the author has simply done it with ease.
While the story may have a wrapped-up ending, there are parts of the conclusion which tell us that the fight is not over. It still continues in our hearts and in our beliefs and in our actions. It is a stark reminder of the atrocities of reality, which act as the primary themes covered in the story. The characters of Chiamaka and Devon serve as an extension of the hopes of the people who are leading the fight against them. And it is remarkably enlightening.
What’s my opinion on the characters? Chiamaka is a pretty strong woman. Like, damn, she would probably be listening to Megan Thee Stallion instead of her mother 😂
She is very ambitious and will do almost anything to get to the top. Throughout the story, she displays self-control over her emotions in a world where being sentimental is considered to be a weakness and not a strength. She is ruthless at times, but she does live up to her name. There are times where she has been weak, but she has bounced back fast enough to being smart all over again.
As for Devon, I feel that he is a little lost in life, in terms of handling relationships. He has truly realized what his passion is but he hasn’t quite figured out the ‘maintaining relationships’ part. It’s wonderful to see how he deeply loves his passion and how good he strives to be for it. He also has a very warm heart. And the way it has developed throughout the story left me going ‘aww’.
Each and every character in Ace of Spades was intriguing, complex and one-of-a-kind. There were only two or three similarities between most characters, but other than that, the characters carved their own way because of their actions and morals and I loved the fact that each character added a different sizzle and spice to the story.
My overall opinion? Ace of Spades is your go-to read if you’re looking for drama, action and above all, an outlook upon reality. Honestly, if anyone asks me ‘What should I read?’, I’m just going to open the author’s Instagram account on my phone and be like ‘Read her book’ because Ace of Spades is Ace of Spades and you aren’t going to find any other read like Ace of Spades.
About the Author
Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is the instant New York Times and IndieBound bestselling author of Ace of Spades. She is an avid tea drinker, a collector of strange mugs and a recent graduate from a university in the Scottish Highlands where she studied English Literature. When she isn’t spinning dark tales, Faridah can be found examining the deeper meanings in Disney channel original movies. She is represented by Zoë Plant at The Bent Agency.
To know more about Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, you can check out her website right here.
Please do note that these are my personal opinions of the novel. If you wish to read more reviews about the book, you can find them here at Marie Claire, The Young Folks and The Quiet Pond (or Amazon’s comments section 😜)
Last time, I wrote an in-depth review with a lot of spoilers. This time, I tried my level best in reviewing without spoilers and highlighting the main points at the same time 😂
What are your opinions on Ace of Spades? Do comment below and drop a like if you loved the blog post!
Until next time, then!
Love, PJ 💖