I am so glad I was able to snag this via trade! I’ve been looking for this (and 27 Hours) for a couple of months now and finally was able to get my hands on it.
Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsy Miller
Series: Untitled (will be a duology)
Rating: 4/5 stars
This story follows Sal, who enters a competition in order to be part of the Left Hand, who is the Queen’s assassins crew. They (more on this later!) are fighting to become the Opal as every person in that group is named after a precious stone. Throughout the book, Sal encounters someone from their past, escapes death multiple times and shows everyone what they are made of. It is action-packed, with a love story on the side, and a bigger backstory than I ever saw coming.
ALRIGHT! There’s going to be a lot in this section because I have a ton to say. Let’s first talk about Sal: Sal is gender-fluid, which means that they can present as a male or a female, depending on how they feel. They say in the book their pronouns are they, but also he or she was acceptable if they are presenting in that specific way. This might be confusing for some but I punched the air a little in excitement when Sal set the characters straight about their gender. Gender is something so highly debated today and it really doesn’t need to be. Sex is what we are born with but gender is what we feel and nobody should tell us that we shouldn’t feel a certain way. It doesn’t need to be this hot topic that is debated: it should just be and people need to realize that. Anyway, I could go on and on but I will say that the representation was on point. It was accurate and portrayed it in the correct way. But let’s talk about Sal as a character: THEY WERE AWESOME. Oh my god, I envy their flirting power, for one. The bada**ery cannot be overstated in this character and they were stronger than anyone expected them to be. The story exploits that strong nature and I definitely can’t wait to see more in the next book. Speaking of the story: it was an easy read but it was so gripping. The contestants were allowed to kill each other if they could do so without being caught and it made the tale that much more interesting. Sal also learned how to read and write in the book, which is where they formed a close relationship with Elise. That relationship was sweet and I really enjoyed reading about it. Sal reminded me a little bit of Arya from Game of Thrones because they didn’t care what it took to get where they needed: they would do whatever it takes to win.
Clearly I don’t have many dislikes because I gave this such a high rating! I would say that the side plot, that will become a main plot in the next book I assume, needed a little more expansion. I understand why it was just lightly glossed over so that the second book will have more on it but I needed more to fully understand the situation. I also feel that I needed more of the love story because it was so good!!!! I am excited to see more of Elise and Sal in the second book. I think this book also had a great cliffhanger, well more of a set-up for the next book. It made me excited to pick up the next one but didn’t leave me screaming at the book, which is good.
This book was marketed as for fans of Sarah Maas and Leigh Bardugo: I’d agree with Maas because Sal could be compared to Caleana but I wouldn’t agree with Bardugo. I think it is unique in its story and it kept me interested the entire time!
Happy reading! ~ Taylor