Mask of Shadows. Linsey Miller. LGBT/Young adult/Fantasy. 2017. 384 pages. 2 stars.
Remember–you do as I say, your face stays in one piece
I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Let’s start this review by saying that not all fantasy books have to be described as perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas. Seriously, I love SJMaas but fantasy writers can be great without being linked to her. It also feels impersonal, with so many books being compared to Maas’ ACOTAR and ToG series. We can do better than that.
Things I Liked:
•A genderfluid protagonist. FINALLY. I have been waiting so long for this. It was explained and portrayed nicely by Sal. Really, this shouldn’t even be an issue. It’s 2017!!
That’s it. That’s all I liked about this book.
Things I Did Not Like:
•The romance. It didn’t feel genuine AT ALL. I could see right through it.
•TMI. Too much of it at one go. That’s a great way to turn off your reader. You have to slowly immerse them, not dump information at me while I’m still trying to latch on.
•Poor character development. For a book that dumps too much info on the history of the setting, it lacked information on the characters. I wanted more. It’s hard to invest yourself in a character when they have little to no background for you to invest in. I can’t trust them at face value even if they’re main characters. Show me they’re real.
Generally I feel disappointed. I was hoping so much for this book especially with such a unique character like Sal.