Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)
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.

Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1) Details

TitleMask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
Number of pages384 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Glbt

Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1) Review

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    February 16, 2017
    Release date: September 5, 2017I read this because the description said it was perfect for fans of Bardugo and Maas, but this is nowhere near the same level of writing or creative story. I can see how the competition feels like the one in Throne of Glass, but it's pretty much just a Hunger Games ripoff. The only thing this book has going for it is Sal, the gender fluid thief who's the main character. Sal likes to be referred to as he/she/they depending on what they're wearing. The explanations o Release date: September 5, 2017I read this because the description said it was perfect for fans of Bardugo and Maas, but this is nowhere near the same level of writing or creative story. I can see how the competition feels like the one in Throne of Glass, but it's pretty much just a Hunger Games ripoff. The only thing this book has going for it is Sal, the gender fluid thief who's the main character. Sal likes to be referred to as he/she/they depending on what they're wearing. The explanations of what it meant to Sal to be gender fluid were well done, so I added another star!But otherwise the plot was cliche, the writing and pacing were clunky, and nothing held my interest. The main idea is that Sal and 22 other people are brought together in a competition to the death to win a place with the Queen's Left Hand. Sal robbed a pretty noble girl at the start of the story and she comes into the plot again later. Sal is from a poor background like Katniss and kind of the underdog. All of the contestants are referred to by numbers -- Sal is 23. (Referring to everyone by numbers definitely made them hard to care about or distinguish, too). The scenes where they're all training with weapons or waiting to be examined by the gamemakers people running the competition reminded me SO much of The Hunger Games. Sal is the last to go in and needs to impress them: "Twenty Three!"I rose, rolling my shoulders back, and took long, steady strides to the door. Let the audition begin. Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC. The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.
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  • Simona Bartolotta
    January 30, 2017
    *I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*From the blurb: "The first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character."YES. Sadly that was basically the one true interesting thing in the book -and very nicely done at that, in my opinion. The plot is bland, the characters are bland, the storytelling is bland, the world building is so confusing I still have no idea what was going on and why. I am not sure I'll pick up the sequ *I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*From the blurb: "The first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character."YES. Sadly that was basically the one true interesting thing in the book -and very nicely done at that, in my opinion. The plot is bland, the characters are bland, the storytelling is bland, the world building is so confusing I still have no idea what was going on and why. I am not sure I'll pick up the sequel; honestly, this was truly disappointing. Full review to be posted closer to the release date!
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  • Bentley ★ Book Bastion
    February 2, 2017
    EDIT FOR CLARITY:On the way Gender Fluidity is described by Sal: "I dress how I like to be addressed - he, she or they." So Sal is often referred to as either male or female depending what Sal chooses to wear in the morning. I chose "he" as a pronoun in my review for a simple reason: it's easier to understand for readers of this review than going back and forth between genders. Hope that helps!_______________________________If I had one to describe this book in one word, it would have to be: R EDIT FOR CLARITY:On the way Gender Fluidity is described by Sal: "I dress how I like to be addressed - he, she or they." So Sal is often referred to as either male or female depending what Sal chooses to wear in the morning. I chose "he" as a pronoun in my review for a simple reason: it's easier to understand for readers of this review than going back and forth between genders. Hope that helps!_______________________________If I had one to describe this book in one word, it would have to be: Reductive. Have you read the Hunger Games, or any other dystopian fight-t0-the-death novel? Then good news, you've already read this one! Mark it off your "read" shelves folks! There is nothing new or exciting about any of this. I suppose it could be the familiarity of it all that made this book a total snooze for me, but I also think a distinct lack of character development definitely didn't help.Lets take a look at the plot for a second: Katniss Everdeen Sal, our "gender fluid" (we'll get back to that later!) main character, is a lowly thief with a thirst for vengeance against the noble class, and joins a competition to the death in order to sneak into their ranks and get revenge. Sound familiar? At least in the Hunger Games, the author took the time to establish and develop characters. Here, Miller employs a really strange narrative choice, by making the competition require every character to wear a mask with a number on it. Sal becomes Twenty-Three, and every other contestant in the game is only referred to by a number. Four, Five, Fifteen, Eleven, etc. Every time a number was referred to, I couldn't help but think:"Why was 6 afraid of 7?"It made it impossible to care about characters, when they have no face or name to associate with them. They are literally just numbers waiting to be killed off for 300+ pages. We don't even know the ages or genders of almost all of these characters. Now, onto the Gender-Fluidity I accept that this will be a controversial opinion, but this was the BIGGEST disappointment out of the novel for me. Seriously. Sal's gender-fluidity is such a nonentity that it hardly factors into the story at all. I think it was Miller's intention to create a world where gender fluidity is accepted by all, because no one ever questions Sal on what it means to be gender fluid. However, Sal still gets teary eyed when people accept him dressing how he likes, implying that an accepting society isn't the case at all. Because there's no extrapolating on what it means to be gender-fluid and how Sal fits into this world and society as a gender fluid character, there's no learning or growth for either the characters or the reader. Like it was included as an afterthought almost. I was incredibly disappointed. There are just so many strange choices made in this story. Such as: making Sal illiterate, only to turn around and have him be able to read a name on a piece of paper that a messenger is carrying, from his vantage point hidden high above in the branches of a tree, after 2 reading lessons. Like, what? I just don't even know. I really wanted to like this, but I was totally let down. 1.5/5 stars________________________________*I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewGender fluid MC? I'm sold! Can't wait to crack into this one
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  • ❀EᖇYᑎ❀
    February 15, 2017
    I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not persuade my actual opinion of the book.1 star - maybe 1.5, if I'm feeling nice.I'm sorry, but I just couldn't enjoy this. From the first chapter I sort of guessed that I wouldn't, with how the story just jumped into the action so quickly and so suddenly - I really disliked it. But not only that, but the writing wasn't great either - it lacked depth and barely described any of the scenes in ways people could actually I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not persuade my actual opinion of the book.1 star - maybe 1.5, if I'm feeling nice.I'm sorry, but I just couldn't enjoy this. From the first chapter I sort of guessed that I wouldn't, with how the story just jumped into the action so quickly and so suddenly - I really disliked it. But not only that, but the writing wasn't great either - it lacked depth and barely described any of the scenes in ways people could actually image. Ah, I feel quite rude writing this, but again, I'm sorry, it just wasn't good. Which really is a bummer considering this book was recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, (I loved ACOTAR) so I was ecstatic when I read that. Only to end up feeling somewhat offended for Maas. Maas's writing is much more advanced and fluid in one paragraph, than this book was in its entirety. Again again, I'm sorry, but it's true! I just don't think it's right to compare the two, when one is so much more advanced than the other.Also, don't even start me on how I didn't even know what was going on - for nearly the entirely of the book I kept wondering: what am I reading? I'm still quite confused, even now.Overall, I only finished this because I received it before anyone else, and because I wanted to see if maybe, maybe it would get better somewhere down the road.Unfortunately, it didn't.
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  • Claire
    February 2, 2017
    - Full review coming soon, closer to pub date - Action-packed, daring, engaging and romantic, Mask of Shadows was everything I wanted and more! I will definitely be pre-ordering my own copy of this one off of Amazon, and I already can't wait for the sequel!
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  • The Bookavid
    October 11, 2016
    genderfluidity rep. from a big publisher.what a time to be alive, im so happy.
  • Maria
    May 4, 2016
    I had the honor of reading Mask of Shadows and I have been haunted EVERY DAY since reading it. This book got under my skin. Way under my skin. The world is so rich and so real, and Sal is such a vibrant character. They're visceral and present from page one and I don't connect with characters so deeply that often. I alternated between wanting to feed Sal, throttle Sal, and whisk Sal away to a gentler life. But they wouldn't have wanted that so whatever. Basically: SAL.Also the world building. Ent I had the honor of reading Mask of Shadows and I have been haunted EVERY DAY since reading it. This book got under my skin. Way under my skin. The world is so rich and so real, and Sal is such a vibrant character. They're visceral and present from page one and I don't connect with characters so deeply that often. I alternated between wanting to feed Sal, throttle Sal, and whisk Sal away to a gentler life. But they wouldn't have wanted that so whatever. Basically: SAL.Also the world building. Entire histories and nations and cultures and politics and wars and magic. It's breathtaking. I felt like I learned quite a bit as a writer simply by witnessing the level of craft that went into this story. What I'm saying is that this book is a total treasure. It checks off a lot of my personal all time favorites. Unabashedly flawed main character. Gender fluidity handled sensitively and seamlessly. Surprising moments of humor. Actual masks. (What. I like masks.) Sweet, authentic first crush. Charismatic, dangerous people. Assassins.ASSASSINS. Did I mention assassins? Because OMFG do I love assassins in stories and especially when there are consequences, emotional and otherwise, to being someone who, you know, kills people. This book is dark and gripped me hard. At some point I literally could not put it down and often read with my hand clasped over my mouth. (No joke.) Sal and the people they encounter on this journey feel like friends to me now in a way that reminds me of reading Harry Potter for the first time and getting head over heels invested. I'll just be sitting here waiting for the next one and pretending to be patient about it.
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  • Emily Duncan
    February 16, 2017
    I'll review this in full a little closer to the release date but holy shit y'all this is one of the best YA high fantasy books I've read in YEARS.Gender-fluid protagonist! AMAZING WORLDBUILDING! An excellent cast! Sharp dialogue! Politics! Murder! Blood! An assassin who actually assassinates people! Fantastic. Amazing. I loved every single damn second of it.
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  • Taylor Knight
    March 19, 2017
    The synopsis for Mask of Shadows says "perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo". I think whoever wrote that set this book up to fail in comparison to those two writer's books. Comparing a book to the likes of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo is a very bold claim and I feel like because of that claim and the epic sounding synopsis, I was let down by this book.The plot is kind of boring and unoriginal. It felt a lot like The Hunger Games and by a lot, I mean almost an exact copy The synopsis for Mask of Shadows says "perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo". I think whoever wrote that set this book up to fail in comparison to those two writer's books. Comparing a book to the likes of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo is a very bold claim and I feel like because of that claim and the epic sounding synopsis, I was let down by this book.The plot is kind of boring and unoriginal. It felt a lot like The Hunger Games and by a lot, I mean almost an exact copy. I'm not really into reading books that are very similar so the plot really wasn't for me. I liked the writing. It wasn't Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo level but I liked it. It felt like the writing of a debut novel but I think there's a lot of potential for the author. The diversity in the main character is what held this book together for me. I'd never read about a gender fluid character before and to be honest, I don't know a lot about gender fluidity. I was very interested to learn about Sal and see a new perspective. If the main character wasn't diverse, this would be a two star book for me.Overall, Mask of Shadows was okay. I liked it for the most part but whenever I think about this book being compared to Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, I roll my eyes. That line is clearly a marketing ploy and shouldn't be taken seriously. If you don't mind books having similar plots, you might really like this book. Or if you're on the hunt for a gender fluid character, Mask of Shadows would be a good one to pick up. But, if you're looking for amazing writing and an original plot, you'll want to skip this book.
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  • K. Wolf
    April 20, 2016
    THIS BOOK GUYS.EVERYBODY ADD THIS TO YOUR TO-READ.PRE-ORDER ITALL THE THINGS.I can't impress upon you how awesome and amazingly written this book is, and the feels you'll be reeling with for a week(s) after. So yeah.YOU GUYS HAVE GOT TO READ THIS.
  • Carrie DiRisio
    January 7, 2017
    I was lucky enough to read an earlier draft of this, and it is seriously one incredible book. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Scott Lynch, this action-packed, twisty novel will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sal is an incredible protagonist, the world-building is incredibly real-feeling, and there's even some gorgeous romance for all your shipping feels.
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  • Candace Robinson
    January 30, 2017
    I was really interested in this one by the book description... The book wasn't even long, but it sure felt like it! Some parts were good and others were a big pile of cliches.
  • Andrew
    December 3, 2016
    While the summary and cover sound and look amazing- Reading some of the reviews already are making me re-think reading this-
  • Crazy4Books
    February 3, 2017
    waiting closer to publication date to post review.
  • Scrill
    February 3, 2017
    ARC from Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire. "And I was what I was - What Nacea had made me, what Erland had made me, what Our Queen had made me. There was no innocence left in this world, left in me, not after all we'd done." Okay, before I really jump into my review, I would like to say to those who are turned away from the book because of the "gender fluidity" should probably just ignore that it is even an aspect of the book, because it is hardly even a noticeable aspect. In fact, there are very ARC from Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire. "And I was what I was - What Nacea had made me, what Erland had made me, what Our Queen had made me. There was no innocence left in this world, left in me, not after all we'd done." Okay, before I really jump into my review, I would like to say to those who are turned away from the book because of the "gender fluidity" should probably just ignore that it is even an aspect of the book, because it is hardly even a noticeable aspect. In fact, there are very few instances where the "gender fluidity" even is incorporated into the book. When it is mentioned, it is very subtle and really doesn't have much to do with the plot. Here are some examples of how it was woven into the book. "I dress how I like to be addressed - he, she, or they."or"'Address me however I look.' I was both. I was neither. I was everything, but that wasn't exactly a friendly conversation between strangers trying to kill each other."With that being said, I would like to say that this book could have forgone the gender fluidity, and it wouldn't have made a difference in the story. I felt that it was included in the book...just for the sake of being included in the book. It didn't add anything that the character sometimes preferred he at times and she at other times. As far as the actual plot of the book, I can see why they say fans of Sarah J Maas would like it. I mean the main part of the story is about a person who is a thief and decides to join this competition of sorts to be a part of the Left Hand to the Queen, who is essentially her mercenaries to do her bidding and dirty work on the sly. From what I could tell, the Left Hand are basically above nobility (except the Queen of course) but are known for all the dirty work they do - except they are still honored among their noble peers. Their identities are private for some reason on top of that. I didn't quite understand the purpose of their hiding their identities, because whenever they are out....they are in their masks. It's not like they are some nighttime vigilante group, they always wear the masks. Who cares who they are, they are revered regardless because of their station as members of the Left Hand.So the competition goes on, people die, our protagonist struggles with the ups and downs of the competition and learning the way of the nobles etc. There is a love interest in there that doesn't feel very well developed. That's basically it. I mean, there's some stuff that happens at the end of the book that you weren't really expecting, but mostly because it just builds up the premise for the next book. It wasn't exactly a twist in the story.The characters were a bit wishy washy. I felt like I didn't get to really know the characters very well, even the main character felt lacking. Here's what I know about the main character - they're a thief, their home country was ruined, they like X person....Essentially the entire story was Sal going through the motions of the competition. I felt like Miller tried to give people personalities, but somehow they slipped through the margins in the book and got lost.The world building was very minimal in the book. In fact, I spent the majority of the book wondering about the history of this world, besides the obvious that causes the revenge set mind of Sal. The last few pages tried to make up for it with some sort of history of the country, which at that point why bother? I didn't even care anymore to read it. Why? Because I don't plan on reading the second book, it's essentially useless to me at this point.
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  • Amanda
    March 21, 2017
    A high fantasy about assassins and a gender fluid MC? The synopsis of this book definitely piqued my interest. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectations.***ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***Mask of Shadows is a diverse high fantasy that follows our gender fluid main character Sal. Sal is a thief, street fighter and general hooligan until one day he gets wind of a competition being held by the Queen. The competition will be to choose the A high fantasy about assassins and a gender fluid MC? The synopsis of this book definitely piqued my interest. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectations.***ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***Mask of Shadows is a diverse high fantasy that follows our gender fluid main character Sal. Sal is a thief, street fighter and general hooligan until one day he gets wind of a competition being held by the Queen. The competition will be to choose the Queen's next personal assassin, and it will be a fight to the death between circus acrobats, soldiers and poison experts. This is Sal's only shot to get close to the lords he wished to execute vengeance upon after the destruction of his home land. I was intrigued by the gender fluid MC since i have yet to read a book in which gender fluidity is discussed. I'm not educated enough to comment much on that aspect on that aspect of the book but I will say that it felt rushed and was not explained very well. In parts of the book there was a lot of info dumping, so much so that some events are still unclear to me. I also found that by referring to the competitors as numbers it was very impersonal and hard to keep track of who was who. I found it quite improbable that our MC went from being a thief -who had not killed anyone- to being this assassin who kills a bunch of people without feeling any sort of guilt.
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  • Christina
    February 11, 2017
    I received this book from NetGalley for an honest opinion and I feel so incredibly lucky I did.Ahhh, my friends. This book, this book is a beauty. Right away I need to say that I am both cis and straight, so the gender fluid aspect of the book, while a huge delight to me, can't possibly be as important to me as someone who identifies similarly to Sal. I'm so looking forward to those reviews in the future, seeing how special and meaningful this book could be. That being said, this book is an abso I received this book from NetGalley for an honest opinion and I feel so incredibly lucky I did.Ahhh, my friends. This book, this book is a beauty. Right away I need to say that I am both cis and straight, so the gender fluid aspect of the book, while a huge delight to me, can't possibly be as important to me as someone who identifies similarly to Sal. I'm so looking forward to those reviews in the future, seeing how special and meaningful this book could be. That being said, this book is an absolute joy.The setup is fairly simple--it's even familiar: a main character with revenge on the mind enters a contest in the hopes of becoming one of the Queen's assassins in the hopes of punishing those who destroyed their home country.Yes. It could be Throne of Glass. Could be, but honestly? It's better.Main character Sal is a pickpocket and highway robber. Having lived a life as a child thief, fighting to stay ahead and survive, they make an apt candidate for an assassin audition. Ad yet, refreshingly, Sal's life of crime really doesn't give them much leverage. Every step of the way the competition is bloody and brutal and unforgiving. People die and they die horribly. Rather than tell the reader over and over how talented and cunning Sal is, Miller lets the story show who Sal is. I was one of those people that was disappointed in how thin the contest in Throne of Glass felt. Most of the contests are skimmed over or left off the page, and the ones we *do* see never feel like real challenges. Mask of Shadows is almost entirely the competition. The catch? Almost every waking second of Sal's day (and even most of their nights) are the competition. The assassins-to-be are encouraged to take out their competition, so we do see a good deal of death and deception. Sal is quiet but sly and competent, making the most of every opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead of the other auditioners. Even knowing that Sal can't die, the stakes feel real. You wonder who to trust, and watching Sal inch closer and closer to getting revenge for the death and destruction of their homeland and family is engaging. The ending makes me especially curious for the second book.The world-building is seamless. While I would say I docked a star because I'd have liked a little more exposition on the history of this world, the fact that at no point was there clunky exposition dropped into the plot is a huge plus. It was a vivid world I did want to see and understand better. With this being a duology, there's definitely that chance in the next book.And of course there's the diversity in the book. First of all, Sal is gender fluid. Not only is this not something that is merely glossed over, it's something that is so well-integrated into them (in my mind anyways) that it feels *right* for the character. We see Sal defend their identity and explain it, but also not apologize or justify it to anyone, and it felt so good. There's also racial diversity in the book and female friendships and women not shown to be petty and catty! And best of all, it all felt effortless. This is what fantasy is for, for creating new worlds. Worlds are not made of only one caste--they are supposed to feel huge and varied, and this is how you do it.As someone who read a lot of Tamora Pierce growing up, I can't say enough how much this book felt like it could be one of hers. The diversity! The well-drawn characters! The gender politics! I'd have no problem believing this book belongs on a shelf right next to the Tortall books. Over the years I've seen references to her work on other books. Sometimes they feel right, other times, not so much. This one, I feel, definitely would earn it.Even though I technically own the book as an ebook, this is a title I'd have no problem buying in hardback in September to support the author. And really, in the world of books, is there a higher compliment?
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  • Stephanie
    February 5, 2017
    **This book is an ARC that I received from NetGalley to review.**Hi there! Stephanie here to give you a review about the book Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller.I am going to keep this short and sweet. This book was recommended to me by a friend from work who is also a book reviewer. She was super impressed with it and I was excited when I was approved to read it through NetGalley. I was not disappointed. Since the book hasn’t been released yet I am going to be brief, I hope you read this book as **This book is an ARC that I received from NetGalley to review.**Hi there! Stephanie here to give you a review about the book Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller.I am going to keep this short and sweet. This book was recommended to me by a friend from work who is also a book reviewer. She was super impressed with it and I was excited when I was approved to read it through NetGalley. I was not disappointed. Since the book hasn’t been released yet I am going to be brief, I hope you read this book as soon as you can!Top three things I loved about the book:1. Miller did a wonderful job portraying Sal’s gender fluidity. I am not gender fluid, nor have I ever met someone that is, so I can’t say if it is a true portrayal. That being said, with no personal experience with it, I felt completely at ease as the reader with Sal’s explanation of their preferences. I honestly didn’t even think anything about it until it was brought up in the story.2. The storyline is similar to "Throne of Glass", similar but not the same. No offense to the great Sarah J. Maas but, Miller created Sal. I prefer Sal. Sal is more like what I would expect a teenage assassin with a chip on their shoulder to be like.3. The world building was great, I like the history that was thought out and presented to me. I like the deal with the masks and what the Left Hand represents. Very well done.Top three things I did not care for:1. It was slow for some parts of the Audition for me. Not slow enough that I couldn’t push through it easily but slow enough where I would set the book down for a while before picking it back up. 2. I never fully trusted Maud or Elise. I kept waiting for one of them to stab Sal in the back. I think that might be because Sal was pretty much left alone for the entire Audition. I feel like they would have been targeted more heavily by Five and Eleven at the very least. 3. I was upset with what went down with Ruby. If you aren’t, then you aren’t invested in the book. It was good writing and played into the story well, but it sucked.(You’ll have to read it for yourself to get what I mean!)If you take anything away from this review, I hope that it is that it is a great read. It is worth reading for those that aren’t familiar with having a gender fluid character. It is worth reading if you enjoy a book with a good rogue character. I would recommend this book to anyone ages 12 to adult. Definitely a book I would love to have in my classroom library.
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  • Jenn *The Crimson Dark Lord Scribe, House of Slytheread*
    March 23, 2017
    **ARC provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** RTC... eventually.
  • adaline
    March 24, 2017
    pre-review 3/24/17when you're somehow getting approved for all these e-arcs and you're screaming PLEASE LET THIS BE AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS.
  • Julie
    March 18, 2017
    This book grabbed me from beginning to end. The assassins, the deadly competition, the world in turmoil, the slow-burn romance! Sal is a hero to root for, cunning and ingenious and ruthless when they need to be, but with a spark of goodness and humanity. The gender fluidity isn't a huge plot point here, especially since it seems to be accepted by others in this world. I especially loved the witty repartee between the members of the queen's Left Hand. This is a thrilling, immersive fantasy you sh This book grabbed me from beginning to end. The assassins, the deadly competition, the world in turmoil, the slow-burn romance! Sal is a hero to root for, cunning and ingenious and ruthless when they need to be, but with a spark of goodness and humanity. The gender fluidity isn't a huge plot point here, especially since it seems to be accepted by others in this world. I especially loved the witty repartee between the members of the queen's Left Hand. This is a thrilling, immersive fantasy you should NOT miss.
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  • Cassie James
    November 14, 2016
    Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't in any way influence my opinion of it. The blurb of Mask of Shadows is so good that I had really high expectations getting into it. I'm totally glad I did because it made reading it more enjoyable. This is undoubtedly one of the best YA Fantasy I have picked up, I am glad I keep finding outstanding books like this lately. Not only does it have a rich and lush plot, the writing is simply marvelous, the wo Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't in any way influence my opinion of it. The blurb of Mask of Shadows is so good that I had really high expectations getting into it. I'm totally glad I did because it made reading it more enjoyable. This is undoubtedly one of the best YA Fantasy I have picked up, I am glad I keep finding outstanding books like this lately. Not only does it have a rich and lush plot, the writing is simply marvelous, the worldbuilding is phenomenal and supreme, the characters are absolutely bewitching and the pace of the book is absolutely engaging. From the first few pages, I was hooked. Mask of Shadows is a book to gush about, blog about, recommend and devour. This is a great feat for a debut author, This is so far my best surprise of 2017. I commend Linsey Miller for sweeping me off my feet and making me swoon with her engrossing work. Mask of Shadows is about the journey of Sal, an extremely talented thief who joins the Audition to become an Opal for the Queen's Left Hand. The Queen’s Left Hand was her collection of assassins and personal guards named for the rings she wore— Ruby, Emerald, Opal, and Amethyst. This audition/competition (Which is literally a battle of survival) will be a way for Sal to be free from thievery, the tyrant gang leader Grell Da Sousa and to get revenge on the Erlend nobles that destroyed Nacea, Sal's hometown. Though some things Sal did to get to the audition are morally questionable (That's part of why this character is quite interesting), the complexity of the situation warranted it. The audition is no child's play, it's brutal, violent and very deadly. The motto is quite frankly survival of the fittest. Sal handled the situation impressively from day one. One very recurrent trend in this book is the use of Masks and I quite like the symbolism behind it. One of the many things I like about the book is that it is quick and precise, there is no beating around the bush it goes straight to the point. Sal being gender fluid is a bonus for me, it's nice to see this lifestyle included in books. More awareness on issues like this is a plus for everyone. I applaud the author for portraying this aspect in a remarkable way that is deserving of commendation. During the audition, Sal faces so many dangerous challenges and tough training. This is a period of time where anyone can die at any minute in any way. Despite the severity of the situation, I did find a few moments here and there that gave deeper depths to the full story.My favorite quotes:“Nine dead . Lovely. If you keep taking my advice, we’ll be out of here by dinner.” “I dress how I am.” Which was fine by me. I wore a dress, and people treated me like a girl. I wore trousers and one of those floppy-collared men’s shirts, and they treated me like a boy. No annoying questions or fights over it.”I can certify you haven't read anything quite like this book before and Linsey Miller is definitely someone to look out for. Mask of Shadows is an unputdownable tale filled with action, adventure, violence, mystery, suspense, quite a bit of romance, a little bit of magic and badass characters.I definitely can't wait to see what else this YA Fantasy series has to offer. P.S: That cover is simply divine, I can't wait for it to adorn my shelf.
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  • Dani
    February 28, 2017
    Publication date: September 5, 2017I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Um.. so what was this book about? Hunger games spin-off? I'm sorry, but I was not invested in this books whatsoever. I tried, believed me, I tried. My husband is witness as to how much I complained while reading it. I finished the book and I am more confused that when it started. It was all over the place. Not only that, there was no character development. I couldn't get attach to any of them. Ok Publication date: September 5, 2017I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Um.. so what was this book about? Hunger games spin-off? I'm sorry, but I was not invested in this books whatsoever. I tried, believed me, I tried. My husband is witness as to how much I complained while reading it. I finished the book and I am more confused that when it started. It was all over the place. Not only that, there was no character development. I couldn't get attach to any of them. Okay, maybe just Maud and only a little. Ugh... I'm disappointed. Perhaps I'll write a more coherent review later. Perhaps, I won't.
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  • Angel Erin
    February 23, 2017
    Dnf. I received this in a giveaway on instagram thanks to sourcebooksfire! Unfortunately, I did have to dnf this one. It could have been a very good book, but it was driving me crazy. The Sarah J. Maas/Leigh Bardugo comparisons are very accurate which should have made me love the book. However, there are just a few things that were driving me nuts and I had to DNF because they were keeping me from getting into the story.
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  • Silvia
    February 19, 2017
    You honestly had me at gender fluid main character.*prays all the book gods to get an ARC*
  • Rashel
    October 11, 2016
    A gender-fluid character in a fantasy story with assassins? GIVE IT TO ME.My main concern is that I really hope the MC gets written properly - as a character who happens to be gender-fluid, and not as if the being gender-fluid IS the character. It's just that I see a number of authors so pushed to put diverse characters in their stories that a lot of times they forget that their gender or sexual orientation or race or mental illness or whatever is only a PART of that character and not the charac A gender-fluid character in a fantasy story with assassins? GIVE IT TO ME.My main concern is that I really hope the MC gets written properly - as a character who happens to be gender-fluid, and not as if the being gender-fluid IS the character. It's just that I see a number of authors so pushed to put diverse characters in their stories that a lot of times they forget that their gender or sexual orientation or race or mental illness or whatever is only a PART of that character and not the character themselves. The fact that they're marketing them as 'a gender-fluid pickpocket' without even offering a character name worries me.I REALLY, REALLY HOPE I'M WRONG. This book has the opportunity to be everything I've ever wanted and needed. Please, Linsey Miller, please don't let us down!
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  • Stefani Sloma
    January 15, 2017
    Not rating this as it's a Sourcebooks title and I don't want anyone to think that swayed my opinion, but you guys. This book is REALLY good. Kind of like Grisha meets Court of Fives meets The Hunger Games. Loved it.
  • Melanie
    February 8, 2017
    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
  •  Diana Davis
    February 18, 2017
    Mask of Shadows Hardcover – September 5, 2017by Linsey Miller I gratefully and proudly received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.An utterly magnificent book! This is the reason I read fantasy, to be plunged headfirst into worlds that are so richly detailed and perfectly built that I am swept away with heroes that! Astounding! Outstanding! A modern fantasy classic!This is truly bound to be a classic because of the unique hero and layered world with a complete history that most writers woul Mask of Shadows Hardcover – September 5, 2017by Linsey Miller I gratefully and proudly received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.An utterly magnificent book! This is the reason I read fantasy, to be plunged headfirst into worlds that are so richly detailed and perfectly built that I am swept away with heroes that! Astounding! Outstanding! A modern fantasy classic!This is truly bound to be a classic because of the unique hero and layered world with a complete history that most writers would be hardpressed to create. In fact, many masters have spent many books and years creating worlds of such integrity. Miss Miller's work reminds me of masterpieces of fantasy in the same way The Hunger Games compares to Lois Lowry and Goldberg's Lord of the Flies. Sallot/Twenty-Three is gender fluent and we are never shown his/her birth gender or why exactly this is. That is part of the mystery and the perfection. Sal's voice is also unique. S/he is moral, in his/her own way, but clearly is willing to do what others are not in order to set things right. Sal's family and country were swept away in a war by a weapon of destruction forged from magic. That magic and all magic, were swept away to stop the war and that weapon. Now, Sal is trying to set the scales of universal straight but whatever means it takes. Sal has become a thief, highwayman to survive, and after robbing a particularly wonderful Elise, discovers an invitation to an audition to become the new Queen's Opal, an assassin, one of four, that maintain the peace.The plot is foolproof, and laid out patiently, yet there is never a chance to take a break. Every character is complete, interesting and flawed the way living people are. Sal's voice is perhaps the most unique and consistent that I've ever experienced and I am thrilled to have read this book. This is a book I will return to, read and read again.https://smile.amazon.com/Mask-Shadows...
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  • Monique V
    February 2, 2017
    I just got an ARC of this!!
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