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ARC Review: Mask of Shadows

Some people are saying they don’t understand the compassion of this book to Sarah J Maas books… Well I do! BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME (less interesting) 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. – summary

Mask of Shadows Quote + Star

Eh… kind of a random quote… sorry 😦

Review Header 1This was the first novel that I had approved for me to read on Netgalley. I had seen it around on Twitter and people seemed excited so I thought I’d give it a shot! After being approved, I found out about the gender fluid main and how that was a big selling point for many people. Sadly, that is one of the only selling point for Mask of Shadows

Review Header 2Romance: The only thing I actually cared about in Mask of Shadows! It wasn’t too in your face and kinda surprised me! You don’t see a lot of queer relationships in fantasy so I didn’t expect it here!

Gender fluid main: I was worried it would come off as obnoxious and in your face but it’s actually hardly ever brought up. I never found it distracting and it felt natural to Sal’s character. I can’t say how accurate the rep is, but it seemed fine to me.

Review Header 3EVERYTHING ELSE… (is that too harsh… opps XD)

(Also I’m probably going to compare this one to Throne of Glass a lot… #SorryNotSorry #They’reBasicallyTheSameBook)

Exposition: In your face exposition dumps are why I used to stay FAR AWAY from high fantasy, and Mask of Shadows is the worst example of it. The beginning slaps you in the face with the history of this world and I just COULD NOT KEEP UP! This lead to me totally not understanding ANY character motivations! Sal wants to kill the people who caused their home nation to be killed…? But they like the queen…? Because the queen helped their home nation or something…? I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW

I HAVE SEEN THIS PLOT A MILLION TIMES BEFORE! This is a more boring version of Throne of Glass… There is NO way around that. It’s a bunch of people in this competition to be the King’s (or in this case, the Queen’s) assassin. ONLY THERE’S NO INTERESTING MAGIC EVIL SCHEME HAPPENING IN THE BACKGROUND TO CARE ABOUT! ALSO! Of all the Throne of Glass books, WHY WOULD YOU RIP OFF THE FIRST ONE? IT’S THE MOST BORING AND COOKIE CUTTER OF THE ENTIRE SERIES (except maybe Assassin’s Blade…)

I DON’T CARE ABOUT SAL! I have the same problem with Sal that I had with Celaena in Assassin’s Blade. Both are WAYY to good at EVERYTHING! But AT LEAST Celaena had a few other character traits and slipped up from time to time (even if it was her own fault *grumble grumble*) I wanted Sal to fail at SOMETHING! ANYTHING! But everything always turned out okay for them! Anytime they WOULD slip up, the plot would break its own rules to keep them in the story!

WHO WERE ANY OF THESE CHARACTERS! I couldn’t tell you the personality of ANYONE in Mask of Shadows! They were all just cardboard cut outs that did whatever the plot needed them too!

Review Header 4If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Mask of Shadows… I went in excited and with an open mind but it really disappointed me. Had it not been for Netgalley, I probably would’ve DNFed this one… I’ve heard some other people say they like it, so maybe pick it up if you still like the synopsis but I can’t really recommend.

Oh and no spoilers for this one since it’s an ARC 🙂 Guess that’s a thing I’ll be doing now.

Oh and sorry if this was too harsh… 😦 I’m super proud of Linsey Miller for getting a book published, but this one was not my cup of tea.



I spend my free time watching Netflix when I should be reading and writing. Then I go online and blog about books and TV shows!

16 thoughts on “ARC Review: Mask of Shadows

  1. I totally relate to not DNFing a book because it’s for Netgalley… haha! It’s unfortunate, but it happens, I guess… Great review, by the way! 🙂

    I only heard little of this book and knew nothing about it, but both the synopsis and even the title sounds so much like Throne of Glass! ToG is one of my favourite books (it’s not the best, but still…) I don’t think I’m going to pick this up as I’m not interested at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I really would’ve given up if I didn’t need to finish it… XD
      I didn’t really know much going in, only that the cover looked cool and that there was a gender fluid main. I wish it had more of identity of its own instead of being just like ToG. I like ToG but find it a very average novel. Nothing stands out about the series to me until you get to Heir of Fire, then it feels like the series really starts to do its own thing and doesn’t just play it safe.


  2. I read this one a while ago (also for Netgalley!) and agree with so many points you made! I still enjoyed reading the book for the most part myself, but Sal’s motivations were very poorly explained and they had way too easy of a time making it through the competition. The best part for me by far was the ending, I have to admit that plot twist got me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you agree! I didn’t know if not understanding the motivation was just me or what. Usually I start reading boring expositions and zone out so…. XD Honestly, I know what you’re referencing, but I skimmed the last 10%… so I don’t remember details XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve actually only heard good things about this one. I’m surprised to read that it’s similar to Throne of Glass. (Didn’t like that one).
    But it’s good to read reviews from both sides of the spectrum. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s always great to hear from both people who loved books and those who weren’t a fan. I liked Throne of Glass but found most of the series to be pretty average. I don’t really get the hype. I like A Court of Thorns and Roses much better

      Liked by 1 person

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