Book Title: Mask of Shadows
Book Author: Linsey Miller
Page Count: 384
Publishing Date: August 29th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date Read: July 25, 2017
Mask of Shadows is full of action and adventure. It will take you on a journey of betrayal and bloodshed. Prepare for murder, double-crossing, political plotting, and intrigue!
The Plot: As a highway robber, and a good one at that, Sal wants more from life. Sal wants revenge against the Erlend nobles for the murder of the Nacea people. Sal has an idea of who needs to be targeted, but has no way of getting close to them, until an opportunity arises. Sal finds a poster about an audition for the Queen’s Left Hand (a group of 4 trained, personal assassins) and decides to enter. Little does Sal know that it is a fight to death. Can Sal win the competition, the heart of a kind Erlend noble girl, and get revenge?
The beginning of this one had a rough start for me. It felt a little too forced, confusing, and slightly boring. It took me about 10% of the book before I finally got in to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the remaining 90%, though.
I loved the interesting backstory of Sal. I loved the idea of the Queen’s Left Hand. And, even though the competition thing is used a lot in YA books, I loved the idea and point of the competition and the things that I felt made it different from books like The Hunger Games.
I feel like the competition had a good reason behind it. The Queen was on the hunt for the best assassin in the country. An assassin must be fast, strong, skilled in multiple areas, and discreet. The rules of the competition were quite intriguing, and fit nicely with the search for the new member of The Left Hand.
The beginning of the book was a little disappointing, but easy to get past. I felt that the backstory and world history was thrown in too early, and in a confusing way. I also felt that Sal’s character seemed odd in the beginning, like they weren’t quite themselves. Once past this awkwardness, I was able to enjoy the story and Sal.
Sal was a fantastic character. They were brave, strong, curious, and dead set on a mission. They were always up for learning new things and working on their weaknesses. My favorite thing about Sal was how they went about describing themselves and how they dressed in the moment of feeling. Sal was a gender-fluid character, meaning when they didn’t feel like they conformed to just one gender. I really admire they way that Sal’s character was just naturally Sal, and it wasn’t made to be a book selling point. Yes, it is in the synopsis, but it felt natural to the story, and not forced.
I also loved our supporting character, Maud. Maud was our Darby to Lady Helen (Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman). She was sneaky, kind, curious, moral, and determined to make a better life for herself. She paired well with Sal and brought humor and intrigue to the book and competition.
I would definitely recommend this book and I will be waiting for the next installment! Was it the best? No. I would have liked more world building and less confusion in the beginning of the book, but it was still thrilling and enjoyable! I would give it 3.5-4 stars (or 4 faeries, since I do not want to face the wrath of cutting a faerie in half).
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with this free Advanced Reading E-copy in exchange for my honest review.
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