October 13, 2017

#BookReview: Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1) by Linsey Miller

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.

Linsey Miller is a wayward biology student from Arkansas who has previously worked as a crime-lab intern, a neuroscience lab assistant, and a pharmacy technician. Her debut novel is Mask of Shadows. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere that there is coffee.

Deryn Edwards studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music. She sang and toured the world with the a cappella group The Swingle Singers, and she has extensive operatic credits. She has sung on numerous film soundtracks, including Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, and her West End credits include Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins. This is one of a wide range of audiobooks that she has narrated. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

I was so excited to read this one I am a sucker for covers as most of you know so when I saw this one with its knives I about died.  But shortly into this one, I knew it just wasn't going to work out. 

This one has a few things going for it. First off was that cover, the second was the blurb....yes yes I read it!!! But this one after those two things just sucked. Yes, I am sorry to say this but it did.  So where do we start?  This one starts off with a robbery which worked out the issue that I had with the first chapters was that you really didn't know who Sal was.  Was it a girl a guy? Some blend of both?  You just don't know. I actually had to read the flap again just to find out and to my horror it doesnt say!  I like knowing who the MC when I read.  I have never read a gender-fluid book so this was very weird. 

The next thing was info dumps. I really loved learning about their world but not in this way.  Give us a little at a time, not giant chunks it made the book feel like a history book versus a great story. 

 The next issue was that even just 60 pages in I was bored out of my mind.  This book is overly done with descriptions which could have been great if it would have been done just a little better.  But with the way it sits there is no shinning spark or glory to make you want to read it or get interested in what is being taught. I really did like the assassin aspect. There are a ton of these books out there but I still enjoy a good book about someone offing someone else. 

I have heard a few people say that this one is really really close to Throne of Glass but I just don't see it.  Throne of Glass was epic and this one falls really far from that bar.  The next thing on my list was the MC Sal I just didn't like her at all. Yes, Sal is creepy and pretty much a psychopath killer in the making but I just didn't connect with him/her at all after the first few chapters.  His/Her character felt like it was all over the place. One minute he/she would choose to do this then the next to do that.  You can't really get a feel for how the character can grow and change if they can't make a sound choice on who they want to be to start out. 

Lastly, the issue I had was character names after numbers that's just REALLY weird. At that point, I was just pretty much done with this book.  I was very frustrated with this title and will not be picking up book 2. 

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