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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Review: Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1) by Linsey Miller
Published: August 29th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

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 an ARC in exchange of an honest review.*

I devoured this book. Mask of Shadows is the perfect combination of fantasy and action. Forget the Hunger Games, this fight to death to become the Queen's new Assassin will have you gripping the edge of your seat.

Sal is a highway thief. He grew up on the street, working for a ruthless master and wishing for a different life until one day a flyer to the audition presents the best opportunity for a new life.

Sal is one of the best characters I've read in a while. The fact that he's gender fluid adds a new dimention and to me was a very enjoyable experience. I loved reading how some of the characters just went with it and how others found more difficult. IIt was a nice touch of the author to add it in a way that drew attention to the subject and make it be just another little detail to the story. Sal's ambition isn't about money or fame but the chance to revenge and justice for his people, but next to his competition he's the least qualified for the job. Reading about his experience with the killings, how it affected him but didn't stopped him was like a fresh air in the genre. While most would chose to write the character with remorse and and shock for taking a life, Sal treats it almost distant. He regrets it, but understand is the way it has to be.

The rest of the characters add an unique light to every aspect at the story. From the more experienced fighter to each of the Assassins trainning them. I personally loved the relationship between Sal and his maid, Maud. She's honest in her intentions and complements and understands Sal in ways no one else does. They found a nice rhythm to work together and among all the stranger there, she's someone he can trust.

The world building is excelent. I didn't feel confused about the history of this new land or the politics in it and the writing paints a beautiful and dangerous world. Sal's development through the book was great. From starry eyed follower to an independant thinker and I was more than proud of him, but that's all I can say without giving away details.

I loved everything about Linsey Miller's new book. From the main's character journey and development, the world building that transport you to a diffent place and time with just one page and the politics plot to make the story move forward with twists and unexpected results all along.

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About the author

A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.


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