Ace Of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Like I said in one of my previous posts, I’ve been reading a lot more recently so I want to bring you all more book reviews, and of course I had to go back to my favourite book genre: YA Thrillers. One of the latest ones I read was Ace Of Spades which I’ve seen many people review before on the WP Reader, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts. Let’s jump into it!

First of all, I want to start off by saying that the whole novel, in general, was such a compelling introduction into Faridah as an author! I thought that everything had been written so well and I truly understand why she had been given so much praise and so many nominations for a debut book. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

My personal favourite part of this book was how complex the storyline would get. Not so much in a confusing way, but more in an intriguing sense. Particularly since it’s written from the perspective of both protagonists. I thought this was a great addition as it definitely demonstrated how Devon and Chiamaka were unlikely friends, but then relied on eachother to survive at school when they least excpected it. Each shift in the plot would create so much more tension through information being withheld, and when it was released it would be so shocking – but then you would also realise how cleverly it executed was based on clues dropped throughout the course of the story!

Also, I think the extended metaphor of a card game which is constantly used throughout the book was written brilliantly. I really believe it perfectly displayed a subplot of the story and the symbolic meaning. The idea of a ‘game’ will always be playing on your mind while you read, and once you finish the book – you will realise how disturbing it is (based on the ending and what the story truly meant) but it’s also brilliant because Faridah implemented it in a way that will leave you never forgetting what the book truly means.

One really interesting thing about the story is where it takes place. Devon and Chiamaka attend Niveus Private Academy, a presitigous school with huge legacy, and this legacy makes up the best and worst parts of the school. Personally, I found this so fascinating because the two sides of the school’s legacy antitheses eachother, and when you read on and find out what past students had done (compared to the schools reputation) it’s so crazy to think about! But, it also lends itself to the true meaning of the story, which I’ll go onto next.)

The thing that sits at the very heart of this novel is tackling systemic issues. Niveus High is dominated with White privilege, and with Chiamaka and Devon being the only two Black students; institutional racism is very apparent. And placing this simultaneously alongside the shocking legacy of the school creates a very difficult situation for Chiamaka and Devon. In reality, so many Black students go through this, and may not even have the support of another student. Characters such as Devon also have parts of their identity, such as their sexuality, exposed when they are not ready. Again, this experience is not fiction for so many students. And hopefully after reading this book, people can build more tolerance and raise more awareness in our societies. I hope more writers can also use their books to spread awareness regarding more important issues!


Thank you so much for reading this review, I really enjoyed Ace of Spades and I’m excited to read more of Faridah’s future novels. Let me know in the comments what you thought, and if you have any other book recommendations!

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