Tag Archives: mask of shadows

A Look Back: Three Star Books

2020 is coming to an end, and for my own curiosity, I thought I would share the books that were good books, but not quite my favorite in the last 12 months. I count December 2019 in this collection since I’m obviously not done with December 2020 yet. This is my final list of the year. These books were ones I didn’t truly connect to, but had enough merit that I felt someone else might enjoy them.

#IMomSoHard – I read this book by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley on a whim from my library at the end of 2019. While it had some funny parts to it, it was a bit tone deaf when it came to infertility and pregnancy loss.

Followers – Debut novel by Megan Angelo. Divided into a present-day and a future point after a cataclysmic event called The Spill, we follow Orla and her roommate, Floss, as they chase fame and fortune through social media. The writing was pretty fluid, but I felt like the characters lacked depth.

Born in Fire – Nora Roberts romance novel. I’m not big into romance, but I inherited this three book trilogy from my grandmother. Apparently, I have read this author before and didn’t remember, but the big problem I had with this story were the problematic relationships that edged on the side of abuse and codependency. Set in Ireland (whichc is my favorite part about the book), Margaret Mary is a glass artist who is also quite the loner, but her world is turned upside down when an art dealer takes an interest in her work.

Mask of Shadows – Debut novel by Linsey Miller. I met the author at a Farmer’s market and decided to give her book a try. The story follows a gender-fluid character named Sal who enters an assassin contest. There were a lot of characters in this contest which made it difficult to follow, but the last part of the book was the most interesting part, once a lot of the minor characters are killed off.

Never Let Me Go – A Kazuo Ishiguro novel set in a boarding school for special students, this book was overall just unfortunate for me. But if you like science fiction, a little romance, and a lot of flashback foreshadowing until everything is revealed in the end, I would recommend it.

Any books you read this year that weren’t quite bad but weren’t quite for you?

Mask of Shadows: A Review

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first book that I received with my Page 1 Subscription Box. I didn’t hate it enough to contact them to ask for a different book (which they do that), but I think I did something I shouldn’t have before reading the book. Something I don’t normally do for any book.

I read reviews on Goodreads. I didn’t read any particular star amounts, just the first few reviews on the page, and it definitely colored my reading of this book.

So, Sal is a gender-fluid thief who joins a masked competition for the position as one of the honored assassins to the Queen. This was not my first gender-fluid character in a fictional book – I remember Jericho in the Arc of the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman who was male in the sun and female in the shadow, but it was the first lead character who is. I think there’s a lot of creativity in a gender-fluid character, or there can be. Sal is male when he wears “male” clothes and she is female when she wears a dress. So you have to really pay attention to what he/she is wearing, so you could understand when a character slighted them.

Which isn’t my favorite part of books, the description of clothing, and there was a lot of that. It felt like every time a character entered a scene, we had to know every piece of clothing they were wearing, including the masks on their faces.

The other issue I had with this book was also mentioned in the reviews. There are a lot of characters in this book that seem to be throwaway characters. There are twenty-three competitors. Plus, in the midst of the competition, Sal talks about all of the backstory of the kingdom which I honestly couldn’t remember the names of the good and bad people in the war, which made remember them later when Sal references them really difficult. I literally used a notebook to list characters so I could understand what was going on.

I did find Sal’s past with shadows really interesting, and how it plays into the book. The plot really speeds up towards the end, but it feels more like it’s just for the set up for the next book. I don’t think I will get the next one right away, but just let that book simmer on the shelf, maybe pick it up at a later date to read again.

There is profanity in the book. Sexual content includes pretty chaste kissing, hugging, and holding. Lots of violence including but not limited to cutting off hands, weapon play, flaying, poison, and lots of death. There is, of course, LGBTQIA representation in the main characters.