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. – Goodreads.com
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.