Publishers Weekly Review
The Gomorrah Festival is a sprawling, traveling city of performers who cater to needs both innocent and not so innocent. Sixteen-year-old narrator Sorina, the festival owner's adopted daughter, is an illusion worker who uses her ability to create Gomorrah's freak show performers. She's also a "freak" herself: she has no eyes, only smooth skin where they would be, yet she can see thanks to her talent. Sorina's creations serve as the family she never had, among them acrobat party-girl Venera and the two-headed Unu and Du. When Gill, the "Trout Man," is killed, Sorina is shocked: her illusions aren't real, right? To figure out what has happened and who is responsible, Sorina enlists the help of gossip-worker Luca, her guide to Gomorrah's sinister Downhill neighborhood. Debut author Foody's colorful setting is vast-filled with magic, political intrigue, and the potential to grow-yet Sorina's romantic interest in Luca is a head-scratcher, given his lack of warmth and frequent put-downs aimed at her. A few big twists clear up most of the early inconsistencies that arise, but the too-neat finale may not satisfy all readers. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up-Sorina is the 16-year-old adopted daughter of the Proprietor of Gomorrah, a traveling city/circus loosely based on the biblical city of the same name. Many inhabitants of Gomorrah are able to perform magical tasks. In addition to being able to see despite being born without eyes, Sorina also has the rare ability to create illusions. Her most elaborate illusions are a group of people she calls her family, who all have unusual characteristics and fill special roles in her life. When these created members of her family are murdered at each new city they visit, Sorina wonders about the nature of her talents and whom she can trust. Amid her own investigations and mounting pressure from her father to get involved with political machinations that could end in a war between the Northern and Southern cities, Sorina must question everything about herself and her way of life to get to the truth. The richly drawn backdrop and imaginative fantasy world allow the author to thoughtfully explore complex issues such as what makes someone real and how we should treat people who are different. The illustrations add an interesting element to the unfolding mystery. However, the cookie-cutter dialogue and predictable romance keep the otherwise compelling story from being truly great. VERDICT With so many standout fantasy novels, such as Sarah Beth Durst's Conjured and Kate Elliott's "Court of Fives" series, readily available, this is recommended only as a secondary purchase.-Sunnie Scarpa, Wallingford Public Library, CT © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
A traveling circus city called Gomorrah is home to blind 16-year-old jynx worker Sorina, whose skill is creating illusions so realistic they lead their own lives: birdlike Hawk; boneless acrobat Venera; dagger-headed Crown; bark-wrapped Human Tree; conjoined twins Unu and Du; fire-breathing baby Blister; and Trout, a man whose gills let him breath underwater. Sorina, as Gomorrah's proprietor's daughter, holds a place of importance, but that doesn't prevent her creations from being killed off one by one. As she searches for the killer, family secrets are uncovered, and the controversy Gomorrah ignites each place it goes becomes an important political component of the story. Gomorrah is a freak show on wheels, surrounded by the entourage that usually supports carnival-like shows, but on a scale so large it becomes a city in and of itself. On the surface, first-time author Foody's mystery seems focused on the illusion-killer, but there is a darker story of political unrest, struggles between haves and have-nots, and those who believe that different is perverse.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2017 Booklist