Mask of Shadows
“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 Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.
Except 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. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.”
Interesting premise, poor execution. I wanted to like this book more, but sadly it was lacking in a few areas. To start with what I enjoyed, the Protagonist. Sal is a very interesting character with a lot of grief and revenge. This was only the second time I’ve read about a non-binary character, and the first time it was the main character. As the character’s self-identity was not clearly stated in the beginning, I assumed they were female as most of the YA I read tend to have women as the protagonist. (I did not clearly read the summary before starting the book.)
Something I count against this novel is that the premise wasn’t very unique. I saw a lot of similarities between this book and Throne of Glass. The competition, the monarchy’s assassin as the position, fight to the death, etc. While the whole “left hand” aspect made it unique in a sense, that wasn’t enough for me.
Another aspect I had trouble with was the world building. With the lack of a map to accompany the book, yet a plethora of locations named, I had trouble visualizing the world within this novel.
And while I know this is going to be a duology, I was not impressed enough, so I probably won’t be continuing on with the series.
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.”
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.