Hello, readers! So I made a rookie mistake on Netgalley and requested a book that the second book in a duology. So I felt like I needed to read the first book before reviewing the ARC. Luckily, the hoopla app through my library had the audiobook, so I downloaded it immediately.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.59
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Page Count: 352 pages
Genre(s): YA fantasy
Series: Mask of Shadows #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: August 29, 2017
Plot: 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.
Review: I DNF’d this book at 25%. I feel like I understand the general plot, but it was not moving along quick enough for me. I would describe this as “The Hunger Games with a genderfluid MC.” It is really hard to follow the characters because once the competition started, the players were referred to only as numbers. And there were over twenty players to try and keep track of! I could not get a feel for the world and was honestly bored for most of what I listened to. I gave the book a two star rating on my blog because I feel like the story has potential, but it never took off for me. I did not give the book a rating on Goodreads since I DNF’d the book.
Audiobook Review: I did not like the audiobook narrator. And that’s all I will say about it.
Final Thoughts: I will probably still read the ARC of the sequel because obviously it had sounded interesting to me when I requested it. I will pay attention to my ARC requests more closely in the future! I read enough reviews on Mask of Shadows to feel like I know what happens. As other reviews pointed out, the only hype for this book is the genderfluid main character, Sal. But Sal is not a strong enough character to carry the story for me. Hopefully the world building improves for the second book.
Thank you so much for reading my review! Have you ever skipped the first book in a series and moved on to the other books? I would be interested to know about your experience!