Review: Ace of Spades

Today, I’m celebrating the UK release date of the phenomenal Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. This book just completely captured me and instantly became a new favourite. Thank you so much to Usborne for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Hello, Niveus High. It’s me. Who am I? That’s not important. All you need to know is…I’m here to divide and conquer. – Aces

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

TW: homophobia, forced outing, racism, sexism, car accident, revenge porn, infidelity, drug use, strangling, fire, death, implied sexual assault, mention of past suicide attempt, lying, blackmail, stalking

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

Ace of Spades is the type of book that keeps you glued to its pages well past the murky depths of night and until the sunrise. It is practically perfect in every way. 

I’m calling it now: this book is going to be one of the books everyone is talking about this year.

My copy opened with an incredible, insightful author’s note on racism and how the novel is a love letter to Black kids everywhere. This instantly set the tone and atmosphere, giving me a clear insight into Faridah’s vision. I also heavily appreciated the inclusion of content warnings before the start of the book. 

Ace of Spades revels in the strength of its two protagonists. I instantly loved Devon’s voice, which was so relatable and accessible. He had touches of humour to his narrative as well, with witty insights and relatable, complex and all too human messiness in his relationships and feelings. As soon as Chi’s perspective started, I was in love. She compared the high school hierarchy to a kingdom, where it’s a ruthless competition to obtain and maintain popularity and status. Overall, I feel like these two characters stole my heart away completely. They were complex, fractured people stuck in an awful, dehumanising and deadly situation and you just rooted for them with every fibre of your being. The cloying, claustrophobic and deeply unsettling environment of school is well created straight away, putting you on edge and that tension is expertly maintained throughout the book. 

Faridah wastes no time getting into the very heart of the mystery. It starts pretty early on and I instantly was intrigued and wanted to know everything. The tonal similarities to Get Out in how the symbol in the assembly phased no one but Devon were genuinely chilling to read. I also really liked how Faridah wove in conversations about white privilege and the privilege of coming from wealth. The social and political commentary was so well-executed and really drove home the horrors within this system. I can only describe this book as being absolutely brilliant. It features such amazing, jaw-dropping twists that genuinely catch you by surprise. The tone, pacing and plotting is all spot on. Combined, this makes for a compelling read that dares you to try and put it down. Considering that this is a debut novel, this just makes me even more eager to devour everything Faridah creates from now on. 

Ace of Spades was powerful, grounded in truth and just phenomenal. It deserves to be on so many Best of 2021 lists. Faridah has created a book that is just magnificent in every way and I’ve definitely found a new favourite.

If there’s one book you pick up this year, make sure it’s this one. 

4 thoughts on “Review: Ace of Spades

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s