**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC of the below in exchange for an honest review as part of a tour hosted by Inkyard Press. The below contains spoilers for the first two books in the series.**
Title Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game #3)
Author Amanda Foody
Release Date September 1, 2020
Publisher Inkyard Press
GAME OF THRONES meets THE DIVINERS in this thrilling fantasy — the highly anticipated final book in Amanda Foody’s THE SHADOW GAME series.
Return to the City of Sin, where the perilous final game is about to begin…The players? Twenty-two of the most powerful, most notorious people in New Reynes.
With no choice but to play, Enne and Levi are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But any misstep could turn deadly when a far more dangerous opponent appears on the board — one plucked straight from the city’s most gruesome legends. While Levi hides behind a mask of false promises, Enne is finally forced out from behind hers and as the game takes its final, vicious turn, these two must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies.
Because in a game for survival, there are no winners…
There are only monsters.
Q&A with Amanda Foody
Q: What was the most challenging part to write in Queen of Volts?
A: The primary plot of Queen of Volts is a card game–twenty-two players, selected from among the most powerful people in the City of Sin. And every player has a target. As you can imagine, architecting such a game with twenty-two characters was incredibly complex, and I stressed about it for months over the drafting process. It was a complicated but rewarding endeavor.
Q: What was your most favorite part and why?
A: My favorite part was the fake dating arc. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but I absolutely loved the way these characters spun the classic trope.
Q: . The Shadow Games series holds a lot of different POVs. Who was your favourite character to write through, and who was the hardest?
A: Over the course of the series, my favorite, steadfast character was Levi. His POV appears in all three books, and of all six of the various POVs over the course of the series, I see the two of us as the most similar. We are both analytical, and we react to conflict in similar ways. The most difficult character for me to write was Lola. She bit back at me with an anger and a resentment that I initially didn’t know what to do with.
Q: What inspired you to model New Reynes after Atlantic City?
A: I grew up in Philadelphia, spending a good chunk of my summers at the south Jersey shore, a place known for sandy beaches, saltwater taffy, and boardwalks. Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and New York already have such a rich, connected history of organized crime in the early 20th Century. I relished the opportunity to pull elements of that setting into a high fantasy world.
Q: How does it feel to be ending a trilogy, especially one as big and unique as this one?
A: It feels amazing, to be honest. From the beginning, my focus was always on creating a sprawling fantasy series that centered queer characters and teenage girls, and I’m endlessly grateful to my publisher for giving me free reign to accomplish that. Out of the six POVs in The Shadow Game series, three of them are queer, and the ratio also extends to the supporting cast. As a queer author, that means everything to me.
Q: What’s a typical writing day for you?
A: The absolutely best part about being a full-time writer is that I can wake up whenever I feel like it, which is usually a little after 8:30 a.m. I’m the sort of the writer who normally juggles multiple projects at once, so I usually split my day between Book A and Book B, hopefully with some free time for exercise and/or lunch in between.
Q: Where do you like writing and why? Favorite snacks and/or beverages?
A: I usually write in one of two places: on my bed, where it’s very comfy; or on the floor of my living room. I’m not a big snacker, generally, but I love tea. I often brew a quart of it the night before and sip green or oolong iced tea throughout the day.
Q: What was your last 5-star read and why?
A: Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald. Emanuela, the main character of this book, is nothing short of a queer icon. In the category of Girls-Who-Do-Not-Apologize-For-Shit, Emanuela has the gold medal. I love her dearly.
Q: How would your main character(s) fare with a stay-at-home order?
A: I’m going to stick to Levi and Enne for this one. I think that Enne would ultimately fare well, surrounded by her friends in the Spirits, also quarantined with her. She’d probably plow through her collection of Sadie Knightley novels. Levi would be restless and bored of defeating the other Irons at the same card games over and over again.
Q: Is there anything you can tell us about the book that is not a spoiler and not on the blurb? Something you’d like to share with us?
A: This book has a heavy emphasis on mental illness. As the third book in a trilogy, these characters have faced a huge amount of dangers and stress leading up to this finale, and it’s not the sort that any of them can simply brush off. They’re scared. They’re grieving. And it was important to me to explore how these traumatic experiences have shaped their various journeys. I don’t write assume that just because a character flees a line of fire that they’ve escaped it unscathed.
Q: What was your inspiration for writing the book?
A: I have always been fascinated with magic systems. As fantasy writers or fantasy writers, we often have such narrow expectations for the way that magic is described, but magic is ultimately magic. It has so much untapped potential. My inspiration for The Shadow Game series was a world where magic was currency. From that, I engineered an entire world shaped by greed.
Q: What came first, the novel or the title?
A: For Queen of Volts, the title. My editor actually suggested it on my very first call with her when she offered to buy Ace of Shades. She had it simmering for three years before Queen of Volts released!
Q: Which character/s do you relate to the most?
A: I relate to Levi the most–I often feel that he and I share a similar mixture of ambition and cynicism. I did also put a lot of myself and my manifestos into Enne. I love clothes, make-up, and so much of what our culture deems to be “girly” and therefore less than. But on a purely personal level, Enne and I are very different people. She is sensitive and reactive in a way that I am not.
Q: What do you like most about writing?
A: I love the immersion it offers into a fantasy world. It is so different than the experience of a reader. When I am describing a setting in my books, I am not describing everything I imagine–I am only describing what I deem is necessary. But I still envision every unspent detail in my own mind. In the scene, I am there. I see it all. I hear it. I smell it. That degree of imagination is addictive.
Q: What scene, in the book, are you most proud of?
A: That is incredibly hard to choose. There is a scene of Sophia and Harrison in a car that I love dearly. A scene of Levi and Tock. Countless scenes of Levi and Enne. I don’t know how to discuss them without spoilers, but they were all important to me, in their own ways.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: Even though I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, I did not consider myself a writer until I was 17, when I decided unequivocally that I wanted to be an author. Before that point, I had thought being a novelist was unpragmatic and borderline impossible. It took redefining my own image of myself to turn an impossibility into a goal.
Q: What would you like to say to aspiring/beginning writers in the community?
A: If you’re serious about writing, make it your study. Read books about craft. Read books lauded for their craft. I don’t think it’s important to study creative writing or attain any degree in it, but it is important to think of yourself as a student, to devour as much information about the craft as you can find. I personally always err on the side of taking myself too seriously. Otherwise, I might not get anything done.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/queen-of-volts-amanda-foody/1133810276
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/queen-of-volts/id1481655059Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amanda_Foody_Queen_of_Volts?id=ZSiyDwAAQBAJ