Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Publishing Date: August 29th, 2017
Series Status: 1st book in an untitled duology
My rating: 4/5 stars
Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
*I received a free copy through the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’m so glad I got to read this book now because I have been wanting an easy read fantasy for a little bit now and this one was perfect for that.
One of my negatives about this book was definitely the pacing. While I enjoyed the plot and loved the idea behind it I felt like the pacing was erratic. There were some fast paced moments that I enjoyed and once I was hooked into the story I didn’t mind the pacing as much but it definitely dragged a little bit.
I did love the main character, Sal, and the other characters surrounding them. It was really interesting to read about a gender fluid main character. Sal’s point of view was interesting to read from but I found that the focus on their fluidity wasn’t as main of a point that I was lead to believe. I still enjoyed the story even if the focus wasn’t on their fluidity as much.
Something else that I really liked was the plot. Even though it is similar to a lot of other stories that I have read I don’t think this diminished the story for me. I really enjoyed this fight to become the Opal where you kill off the other competitors. It was a dark twist and even if it wasn’t unique I felt like the story was handled in a way that fit well.
One thing that I wish had been done a little better was the world building. It wasn’t nonexistent so we got some glimpse into the world but I felt like there wasn’t enough and even know thinking back there isn’t much to go on. Hopefully the next installment will provide more of a set up.
Overall I really enjoyed this book despite some of the minor problems I had and I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting an interesting fantasy.