Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Release Date: August 29th 2017
+ ASSASSINS! Buzzword like heck from me! I love assassin stories, and stories where people are competing to become assassins? Yep, sold. You got me!
+ The worldbuilding was interesting. It’s set in the aftermath of a magical war essentially, and people in the stories survived and are directly affected by events that happened back then. It kept the losses that happened very in the forefront of the story, keeping the tensions and the worry that the characters had very immediate.
+ Sal very openly states that they want to be referred by she/he/they depending on how they’re presenting themselves that day, and the characters just accept this and move on. I haven’t read many fantasy books where the main character is genderfluid and was so pleased by it.
+ QUEERNESS! Sal has a very cute relationship with a girl in the story. It’s told in the most adorable way possible. The issues that arise within the relationship have zero to do with queerness. Again, I didn’t know this book was queer and it just made me so happy to read!
+ I really liked Sal’s voice throughout the story. Miller’s writing was engaging and fast-paced and really fit this person who has quite a complicated history and view of the world that is being challenged during the book.
+ Plot twist that I really didn’t see coming!!
– Names. Lots of names. Those we are competing are given numbers and there are a lot of numbers. There’s not a lot of distinction between each character and I kept getting two of the numbers confused, which threw me out of the story a little during one of the peak moments.
– Conflict. Sal has conflict within her personal views and, of course, the whole competition is conflict but the stakes didn’t feel super high in moments where I thought they would. It also meant that Sal’s character development seemed quite weak.
– The plot twist that I may not have seen coming because it wasn’t hinted at all
Mask of Shadows was an unsuspected gem. I really enjoyed reading it, really enjoyed the romance and the magic system and the world that these characters exist in. It does have flaws, mostly in execution than in the actual story, but they weren’t enough to make me dislike the story or want to put it down. I read this book so quickly, I was so invested in Sal and her pursuit for the more that I literally couldn’t put the book down.
I found out this was a duology and you bet your butts that I am going to be getting my hands on that book because I really want to see how this ends!
Have you read Mask of Shadows? What did you think? If you haven’t read it, do you think you will pick it up? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!