ARC Book Review & Discussion: Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)

Posted July 21, 2017 by booksbeautyandcoffee in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ARC Book Review & Discussion: Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)Title: Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)
Author: Linsey Miller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: August 29th 2017
Pages: 352

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.

This was provided for free by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or the review to follow.

Considering all of the two star reviews that I saw on Goodreads, I was honestly going into this thinking my rating was going to be around there. However, after reading this book, that was definitely not the case. In fact, this book reminded me of why I fell in love with the fantasy genre to begin with.

Because I only have one negative thing to say about this book, I’m going to go ahead and just get that out of the way right now. The only, only thing that I didn’t like was that the world wasn’t built up as much as I would’ve liked. I really would have liked to learn more about it, the past, what was all going on with the queen and what not, but I’m hoping that’ll be resolved in the coming books. And that really is all I have to say about negatives of this book. I didn’t get the overwhelming impression of any other book like I saw a few reviews saying, and I really liked the way the main characters gender identity was handled.

I do believe the author addressed the proper pronouns for the MC, but for right now I’m going to just use they/them and once I go check on that on Twitter, if it needs to be changed, I definitely will.

What I noticed people hated about this book’s execution of gender fluidity was that they weren’t 100% sure if they were meant to picture a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’. I loved that. My first question is, why is that such a big part of the character? They’re pretty freaking bad ass without you knowing if they are meant to be physically seen as a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’, so what would it even change? Follow up question, and honestly more of a statement, who cares? This character is what, and I’m honestly just assuming here because I myself am not gender fluid, but I would think this character is really perfect for anyone who does identify as gender fluid! Because we aren’t sure how exactly to picture the character, we only know what gender they want to be called when how they dress is described, this lets anyone who identifies as gender fluid, identify with this character. And if I’m wrong on that, please correct me, but that was what I got from it. I thought it was really well done, and I really loved this character.

Total side note, can we talk about that adorable romance? I mean, oooooow, my heart was swooning the entire time.

And now we’re back on track. I really want to discuss this further, and I’d love to see someone’s take on it if they do identify as the MC does! Please comment below and let me know what you thought!