My Rating: 3.5 fighting stars!
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
To be Published: September 5th, 2017
Recieved: Netgalley provided an e-arc copy 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.
First of all, I must say that I am so incredibly happy that this book exists. A fantasy novel with a strong, independent, gender fluid character is something that the world of literature needs more of and this book does it all beautifully. Sallot Leon is fierce, both masculine and feminine, and determined to do everything they set their mind to.
This novel is brutal in a very good way. Sal was born into this life surrounded by tragedy. They lost everything his home, her family, and through blood, their innocence. Living on the streets as a thief and a fighter Sal does what is necessary to survive.
Soon Sal enters the gauntlet, identity stripped away to a number and the true fight begins. The fight to become a part of Our Queen’s Left Hand. To become Opal. In order to survive, death must come. In this novel, it is truly kill or be killed.
I also enjoyed the way Sal interpreted death. The way Sal dealt with the blood that would stain their hands till death set him free. How Sal felt her regret but didn’t let it consume her. Every new day was a step closer to a goal that was burnt deeper by the darkness caused by magic and shadows of days past.
As soon as I started reading, I couldn’t get enough. I read late into the night, I thought, just one more chapter, until there were no more chapters left. I loved everything about this book. The characters, the world, the presence yet absence of magic, and the sheer will of it all.
This lovely fantasy novel is one I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t wait for the sequel!
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review. The Mask of Shadows is a novel that I hope you all read and enjoy as much as I did. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
-Till next time!