Review ⤞ Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Mask of  Shadows
(Mask of Shadows #1)


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.


Admittedly, this is one of those stories that I started and wasn't really sure I would like.
Because it is a controversial book. And, unfortunately, I am not used to reading that many novels who share this trait. But, that would never really stop me from reading a book, unless the storytelling or the way the book was written was painful to me.
Fortunately, this book had neither characteristic.

In fact, I so enjoyed this story, that I found myself more and more immersed into it, despite my initial hesitation. The plot had everything, from honor to vengeance, from (sometimes a little raw) violence to heartwarming romance, all the way to an agonizing cliffhanger.

Sal, our protagonist, was brilliant, honest and even kind in an honorable way.
His/her/their quest for avenging the death of all Nacean people through various ways, was the focus of the book. And, I found myself empathizing with this goal. For Nacea had been the victim of vicious shadows and the even more vicious warlocks who had created them.

It was such an easy read, and I am anxious to find out more about what happens next to Sal and to a particular other person I grew to love through the protagonist's eyes. Although, I have to admit, there are plenty more characters that grew fond in my heart through the struggles and pains they endured during this book.

My overall advice to everyone thinking about picking up this book is this:

Do not be put off reading the controversial blurb. This is the second book I've read this year that deals with controversy around gender identity and both of them haven't failed to amaze me with their awesome plot and unique qualities.
If you like the rest of the plot and you only hesitate because of that, please don't. You really won't regret picking this book up.

All in all, 3,5 stars for a book that was controversial and I loved every part of it, 
even if it had a little bit more violence and fighting than I would have liked otherwise.


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