Hello Bookish Buddies, and welcome to my review of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. I feel like I finished this book quite a while ago, but Mask of Shadows is released exactly one month from today, so I thought I’d post this now to get ya’ll hyped. If you haven’t heard of Mask of Shadows, here is the Goodreads synopsis:
“I love every aspect of this amazing book—a gender fluid hero, a deadly contest, and vicious courtly intrigue. Get! Read! Now!” —Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author
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 was everything I expected Throne of Glass to be. After enjoying Throne of Glass, but being disappointed that my expectations for an epic, high stakes competition with intricate politics and backstory were not quite met, Mask of Shadows is just what I needed.
I loved how Sal expressed their gender identity throughout the story enough to educate and build empathy with the reader, but not so much that it took over the entire story. I feel like Mask of Shadows is a beacon of hope for all of us in the LGBTQ+ community that things are changing for the better, in literature and otherwise.
My only complaint about Mask of Shadows is that it was too short. I wish it was a little longer so the characters and the world and the backstory were a little bit more fleshed out. For example, there are two characters, that should have had more distinct and separate personalities. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get the know them better in the sequel, which can’t be released fast enough.
Overall, I gave Mask of Shadows 4/5 stars.