Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller #bookreview #fantasy #YA

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

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. –

Mask of Shadows is full of action, suspicion, lethal fights, and retribution – all good things in a fantasy novel.  The action sequences are exciting, well-written, and played out easily in my head.  I also applaud Linsey Miller for writing a gender fluid main character, a very underrepresented demographic.


I struggled with the world-building and character development.  The beginning of the book was a bit confusing, with the explanation of Sal’s world almost an info dump, and I never felt as if I had a good grasp of that world.  I understood Sal’s need for revenge after living through such a horrid experience, but the decision to audition for Opal seemed quite sudden.  The other contestants are referred to by numbers only, and with so many, it’s difficult to keep them straight or even imagine them as actual characters, with zero information given.

Mask of Shadows contains a good story, but a familiar one.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.


13 thoughts on “Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller #bookreview #fantasy #YA

  1. I completely agree with you on the world building and character development. I felt this book had so much potential but I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters which is what usually draws me into the story. I think the world was interesting but I would have loved for it to be more flushed out throughout the novel.

    Do you think you will continue the series? I haven’t really decided myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And I completely agree with you about knowing more about the world – that could have made a world of difference. I’ll look into the next book, but doubt I’ll continue with the series.


  3. I very honest review, Teri. Your comment about the information dump iro the description of the world is most interesting as there is a lot of advice about warning writers not to do that. I don’t think I will go for this one but I enjoyed your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Reading Links 9/12/17 – Where Genres Collide

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