Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – A Stunning and Thrilling Descent into Dark Academia, Race, and Class

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide. A badge at the bottom-left that says, 'Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond'. In the centre is a image of Xiaolong, the pink axolotl wearing a flower hat, waving at you.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading Ace of Spades, I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling: I wanted to go back to the very first page and read it cover to cover again. I wanted to relive the descension of horror this book takes you through. I wanted to experience the terror and fear that this book instils with its incredible twist and turns. And, knowing what I know now, I wanted to feel that absolute dread of knowing what was coming, because how this story devolves and leads to was thrilling and so satisfyingly brilliant. I am in awe of Ace of Spades, and it is one of the most phenomenal debuts that I have ever read.

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Black History Month – Interview with Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Author of Ace of Spades; On Black Horror, Dark Academia, and Her Exciting Debut

I have had the privilege of already reading Ace of Spades, an upcoming young-adult thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, and I have already called it one of my favourite books of 2021. Set in an elite high school, the story follows two Black teens as they are taunted, their secrets spilled by an anonymous texter who seems set on ruining their lives. Ace of Spades is absolutely stunning – and jaw-dropping and shocking and it will, as the cliche goes, make you hold a breath you won’t realise that you are holding.

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