Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows

Book - 2017
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The gender fluid thief Sal Leon enters a competition to become a replacement member of the Left Hand--a quartet of the Queen's personal assassins--but must first survive the training and the contests while putting the reason for auditioning into motion--revenge.
Publisher: Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Fire, [2017]
ISBN: 9781492647492
1492647497
Branch Call Number: FICTION (TEEN) Miller, Linsey
Characteristics: 335 pages ; 23 cm

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MorganOfTheFey
Jul 16, 2019

I loved the main character's voice, and the love interest was actually interesting and believable too. She's strong and witty, but not in that extremely overdone "I'm a Strong Female Character because the author said so and gave me lots of snappy one-liners that would sound stupid in real life, and everyone describes me as 'feisty' even though I don't actually DO anything" sort of way. (It's sad I have to clarify that.)

The world-building is good too, but this book is more about the characters. Still, the world doesn't feel derivative of any other series, and the book extends far enough past the competition (with entirely different goals and political mechanisms) for it not to have any similarity to the Hunger Games, imo.

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blue_dog_31717
Feb 25, 2019

Loved this book! Almost everything about it was worthy of a 10/10 rating. There characters, the plot, the idea, the politics, the ending... this list goes on and on. However, I have one minor and one major complaint. My minor complaint is that the book can be somewhat confusing at times, but not enough to strip it of its 10/10 rating. However, the big thing for me was that Sal was "gender fluid". First of all, what does that even mean(?), second of all, if it is what I think it means(that he is two genders), it makes zero sense in the plot. Sal is a man, and nothing he has done have changed that. The most likely theory of how he became is "gender-fluid" is that he was written as a man all the way through(this book would be at best a 6/10 if I didn't imagine him as a guy throughout the entire book), but the author changed it at the 11th hour. I am very disappointed with that decision, and it nearly ruined my read-through. Overall, I give this book a 8/10, and a "Would Recommend Reading" but very strongly recommend you assume Sal is a man throughout the book(the "gender-fluid part makes no difference it the book whatsoever; it only ruins things).

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 12, 2019

Sallot Leon wants out of a lifetime as a thief; their opportunity comes when the queen needs a new assassin. As you may guess, from this standard trope, they enter and they win.

Why this book is more than a Throne of Glass rehash:

1. Sal hasn't killed before they enter the competition to become Opal, one of four assassins of the queen, named for the stones in her rings, and collectively known as The Left Hand. As Sal shifts from thief to assassin, it is a difficult transition, with equal parts physical revulsion and guilt.

2. This novel continues well after the end of the competition, allowing us to see the political machinations and danger begin.

3. The world, especially the political background is established early and developed throughout the novel. The politics are key to this novel.

So, if you're looking for something character driven, you may not find this as engaging. I mean, I like Sal as a character. I especially like that Sal is genderfluid, and Miller doesn't back down from this, telling us about Sal's primary sexual characteristics. Sal is Sal. We know a lot about their background, and motivation, but Sal still feels somewhat shallow as a character. This doesn't bother me because this is an action novel all the way, with political intrigue tied closely to the action. I've already got the next one checked out and ready to go!

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marcelh
Oct 24, 2018

This story is wonderfully exciting and beautifully written, with a great cast of vivid and compelling characters. Sallot is so, so important, as an incredibly rare example of a nonbinary, human character and, even rarer, a nonbinary protagonist. This book fills a place in my heart that no other book has reached.

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kristenpfae
Sep 05, 2018

I really enjoyed this book! I loved that 23 was either, she, he, or they depending on how 23 was dressed. I also found this book moved at a good pace with lots of plotting and action! A great fantasy read!

LPL_ColtonS Mar 22, 2018

Mask of Shadows is the first in a series that is great for any fantasy lovers. Living in a post-magical world, the characters in this book must make due with arrows, daggers, and shields to do their dirty work. While it hit all my personal sweet-spots for the traditional assassin competition plot line, this novel’s main character, Sal, was the most intriguing part. Sal is a gender fluid thief who enters the competition for a chance at revenge. Having a gender fluid character in a fantasy setting is a very welcome change to the traditional narrative and allows for greater diversity within the rest of the book. Highly recommended for those looking for more LGBT representation within the sci-fi/fantasy genre and in YA at large.

OPL_KrisC Feb 03, 2018

If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas, then Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller would be a great book for you! I love that the main character is gender fluid and the fact that this book is about becoming one of the Queen's personal assassins. This is a great start to a new fantasy series.

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blue_dog_31717
Feb 25, 2019

blue_dog_31717 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

OPL_KrisC Apr 06, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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