Hello Humans! I’m trying something a little…different. I realised at the end of last year that I was pretty much only reviewing the ARCs I had and barely ever wrote reviews for the books I bought, whether they were new titles or backlist books. I want to change that but I’m also aware that the reason I never write those reviews is that as soon as I finish one book I pick up the next one. I don’t want to write bad quality reviews for these books, because I do like the majority of them, so I thought I would do Readalong posts instead.
What do I mean by that? Well, whenever I put the book down to take a break or to start work or whatever I’ll write a few words about how it’s going, I wanted to do every ten chapters or so, but that’s not exactly realistic. So I’m going to give it a go with Mask of Shadows and we’ll see how this works out.
I won’t be including explicit spoilers – but I can’t promise I won’t type things like ‘OH MY HEART IS BROKEN’ on occasion…
Let me know in the comments below if you love this, loathe it, or if you have any ideas I could incorporate into this new kind of blog post – I’d love to hear what you think!
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.
Chapter 1 – Chapter 17
This book first caught my eye when I started blogging but I didn’t actually buy a copy until my trip to Foyles in late October last year. WHY DID IT TAKE ME THIS LONG? So far I am loving it. The genderfluidity of Sal is (as far as I can tell) handled really well, they explain what they want to be called and people for the most part just do it, without it being an issue, their character is so much more than their gender identity and I love that.
This is kind of like fantasy Hunger Games – that’s the best way I can describe it at this point. I’m interested to see how this idea pans out because I kind of don’t want to get to know any of the characters on the assumption that they are going to die – but I do know that this book has a sequel. I think I’m just getting to the point where this has to shift from just being a contest to being something more than that, and I’m excited to read on.
Chapter 17 – Chapter 26
YESSSSSSS things are getting more intense and there is even more intrigue. I also feel there is more magic in the future – something I am always here for! Not 100% sold on the flirting that seems to be happening but since there are ulterior motives at play I suppose I’ll give it a pass. I blame Beauty and the Beast for me being a total sucker for any story where a character learns how to read.
Chapter 26 – End
Sorry, this is quite a large chunk, I read some more on the bus and then there was the crisis of leaving my phone on the bus and all of that stress, so I ended up finishing this in a nice hot bath later in the evening. It’s the next day now and I’ve had a moment or so to process. I actually liked how this book picked up, the pace certainly gets faster as the story goes on but then kind of drops off towards the end. I almost feel like this would have benefitted from being a giant amalgamation of this book and the sequel as it kind of falls into that duology trap of not feeling quite satisfying at the end of book one.
I ended up giving this book four stars overall. I hugely enjoyed reading it, getting so engrossed that I left my phone on the bus is a sad thing for me but a ringing endorsement for the book! Other than the main character, I do have to admit that it’s fairly generic fantasy YA, it’s not doing anything particularly novel with setting, plot or magic or anything. But the writing is good enough that it didn’t feel like just a copycat of other similar books, and there’s that comforting familiarity of reading something that’s a bit trope-y. I will absolutely be reading the sequel Ruin of Stars but I’m going to have to wait until my next trip to a bookshop to do it – and I’ve been SO GOOD this year!
My TBR Tea-cup has chosen my next read and it is Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman so stay tuned for that readalong coming soon!
Did you enjoy this kind of post (I know this one ended up being a little weird because of the phone crisis)? Let me know your thoughts on Mask Of Shadows and readalongs in the comments below. Also if you have a better word than readalong that would be super helpful!