Mask of Shadows by Lindsey Miller
Published September 5, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres Fantasy, YA
I was really excited about this book, because the description stated that it was perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo & Sarah J. Mass. And since I am a huge a fan of both authors, I was really excited to read this book. However, I have to say I was fairly disappointed with both the writing and the story and the writing and world building definitely weren’t on the same level as Bardugo or Maas.
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 ring 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 feel like I have read this story before. I feel like this is a mix of Throne of Glass and The Hunger Games, except the writing and world building is nowhere close to the level of those series. I didn’t really enjoying the writing or the pacing of the plot and during the competition, all of the contestants are referred to by numbers, not their names, which became a bit confusing. I also never really found myself getting invested in the characters themselves. The gender fluid aspect of the main character Sal is something new to any YA books I have personally written, so the diversity in that was interesting. Otherwise, I really wasn’t impressed at all by this book and nothing really held my attention.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of the book.