Diamond City is one of those books I wanted to love more than I did. It has all the elements – a talented assassin, illegal diamond trading, and an intriguing world. However, it was a book that fell just shy of what I wanted.
Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.
Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.
DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.
To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Diamond City is a setting full of glittering edges, sharp knives, and shining pools of blood. Aina comes from nothing. Living on the streets, addicted to glue, she’s given a chance at everything. I wanted to love Aina. She’s desperate for approval, deadly with a blade, and queer. Her whole life has been built around her gang, her way of life, taking the money and asking no questions. Questions get you killed. But for some reason, I never completely fell in love with her.
Until about the last thirty percent of Diamond City, I still had outlying questions about the world building, I liked a few side characters better than Aina, and I wasn’t sure where the story was going. While there was interesting world building – magical blood diamonds, religions that are outlawed, and class inequality – I didn’t feel like that promise was developed until the ending.
It’s the same story for Aina. Fearful of the people we love leaving us, Aina has a toxic relationship with her mentor. One founded on taking and her constant need for his approval, not to mention her attraction. So much of her life has been built around him. I understand what it’s like to be stuck in a toxic cycle, so part of my complicated relationship with Aina could definitely be personal. Even more so, Aina felt guarded, like I still don’t have a good sense of her as a character. However towards the last part of the book my feelings began to shift, but it took a while.
Diamond City is a story which asks us about our own worth. It’s about the effects war has on livelihoods and families, childhoods and memories. The opportunities that exit or disappear for us. It also asks us about personal responsibility and blame. Are we just blades in someone else’s hands? I wanted to love Diamond City to pieces. I think I’ll still give the sequel a shot!