Mask Of Shadows by Linsey MillerMask Of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Mask Of Shadows

byLinsey Miller

Hardcover | August 29, 2017

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I love every aspect of this amazing book-a genderfluid hero, a deadly contest, and vicious courtly intrigue. Get! Read! Now!" -Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling authorI 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.More Praise for Mask of Shadows:A Bustle Most Anticipated YA of 2017!"Compelling and relatable characters, a fascinating world with dangerous magic, and a dash of political intrigue: Mask of Shadows completely delivered. Fantasy fans will love this book."-Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane"An intriguing world and a fantastically compelling main character make for a can't-miss debut. Miller's Mask of Shadows will make you glad you're not an assassin-and even gladder Sal is."-Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken and Now I Rise"
A wayward biologist from Arkansas, Linsey previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She is active in the writing community. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there's coffee. Visit her online at
Title:Mask Of ShadowsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.14 inPublished:August 29, 2017Publisher:SourcebooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1492647497

ISBN - 13:9781492647492


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Did not live up to my expectations Gah, this is so frustrating. Okay, so this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and not that it was ~bad~ per say, but it feel so far short of where I expected it to be. The concept of a gender fluid main character in the fantasy series grabbed me immediately, not to mention early reviews made comparisons to Throne of Glass, which ya'll know is an obsession of mine. Maybe I had pumped this one up to myself too much, but I found it lacklustre, and at times hard to get through. It is a debut novel, so I am sure the writing will improve, but I found myself having to re-read passages because things were happening that just did not make sense to me, and the world-building fell flat. The saving grace throughout the book were the characters, I was especially fond of both Ruby and Maud. While it took me way longer to read than it should have, and I contemplated stopping a few times, I will stick with the series. I am genuinely interested to see where Miller takes the next book, here's hoping that the editing is tighter and the world-building is expanded in the second instalment.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A uniquely story! The whole theme of competition in YA is getting really popular, but it was so nice to see an assassin competition where the premise was just killing the other people and surviving to the end. It was basically "okay, you lot are chosen, hope to see less of you tomorrow" and that was AWESOME!
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This was Definitely an Interesting Book I read this book over the weekend and I actually found that I liked it. It was refreshing to read a book set in more of a medieval setting that deals with some modern issues of sexuality. The actual storyline I found to be entertaining and full of action; if the author decides to write a second book I will definitely be buying it.
Date published: 2017-12-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was an amazing read I highly recommend it! It was an amazing read I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderfully written fantasy Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller is the first book in a new fantasy series about a gender fluid pickpocket who joins an elite assassin competition in order to infiltrate and take down the nobles that let his people get massacred. With lots of blood, fights, schemes, and court drama, Mask of Shadows has it all. I really enjoyed reading Mask of Shadows. I thought it was a great beginning to a new fantasy series; especially one with a genderfluid main protagonist which hasn't been done before. Miller's writing and characterization were on point. The world that she has created was immaculate and wondrous. Although the assassin type games have been done before, this one was far better than the ones in the past. I just wish the majority of the story didn't revolve around them. I also quite enjoyed the romance between Sal and Elise. I thought it was adorable and didn't take away from the plot but added a nice human element to it. The plot was very fast paced and was pretty easy to read. The ending few chapters were the highlight for me to be honest. It sets up what could be an explosive next book. I highly recommend Mask of Shadows if you're looking for awesome characters, tons of action and a fantastic ending.
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Highly recommend even if you don't normally read fantasy
Date published: 2017-10-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Fell so Short I really, really wanted to like this book, but it fell short for me in far too many aspects. I had to force myself to finish it out of respect for the author. World-building was almost non-existent. Whoever said fans of Sarah J. Maas would love this has never read one of her books. I'm a reader who loves detail and has no problem conjuring an image in head. That did no happen here. Same with the characters. Almost no one has a description beyond male and female and muscle amount, and everyone is named a number. Meaning, I didn't care about any of them at all. Same thing goes for Sal, the main character. It took four chapters before anything about Sal's appearance was mentioned and it was useless. As for the gender fluidness, all I'll say is it did not translate well. In fact, it annoyed me each time it was brought up because it did not seem to fit in. Finally, the story itself was lacking. Sal's motivation for joining the auditions is barely there in the beginning. It takes so long for it all to come to light that I had almost finished the book before I understood. Most of the time I was asking "What the heck?" because the only names that seemed to be used are for people we never meet and don't understand the significance. A lot of the auditions came across as unbelievable as well. As for the writing, it was often very abrupt and jumpy, forcing me to go back a paragraph or a page to understand what happened. Like I said, I really wanted to like this story, but the emotion, the imagery, and the relatability was lacking immensely. 1 like
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! I just finished this and it was the greatest! Genderfluid main character was represented amazingly and the plot rocked!I've been in a reading slump and this book brought me out!
Date published: 2017-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book is amazing and you need to read it!!!!
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay Not so great but not bad either. Not really my genre.
Date published: 2017-09-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Filled With Unfulfilled Potential Long Story Short: This was a good book, fast paced and filled with its fair share of action scenes but there was something missing, specifically the lack of deeper story or explanation to the gender fluidity and some world building plot holes. Let’s talk more in detail: I first saw Mask Of Shadows on NetGalley. A gender fluid YA protagonist? I hadn’t read a fantasy book with someone who identified as gender fluid much less a contemporary novel and so this fact, and the BEAUTIFUL cover, were these unique selling points in my head that made me go: NEED. TO. READ. Sure, I liked the Assassins plot, and the competition to become an assassin but we’ve seen it before. The gender fluidity was supposed to make the book stand out, but it was BARELY TOUCHED UPON. Post Reading THOUGHTS: 1. The world building was SO SUB PAR. It started off throwing a few facts at you, when a common thief magically decides to audition to serve the Queen who he/ she/ they “HAS ALWAYS LIKED.” These random facts keep hitting you. Later we find out that Sal’s country was destroyed by “Shadows” (WHAT. HOW. THESE ARE NOT EXPLAINED AT ALL) and Sal lost “his/her WHOLE WORLD” but WHO IS THIS WORLD? From where I sat, Sal had some motivation to do the things he/she/they was doing BUT I WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY INVESTED AT ALL BECAUSE I WAS GIVEN NO DETAILS TO FIND ANY EMOTION. 2. I like that this book was fast paced, all stab stab stab, and not slow like the last book I read (which nearly put me to sleep) and that kept me entertained. The last test, specifically was interesting and it had me hooked. 3. THERE WERE TWO DEATHS THAT WERE SO RIDICULOUS IN THIS BOOK THAT THEY MADE ME CRINGE. Honestly, they were some of my two favourite secondary characters and the manner of death, the way it was described and just WHY annoyed me to no extent. 4. Since this book name drops Sarah Maas in the beginning, I think it’s only fair to compare Sallot Leon to Celaena Sardothien (If that’s even her spelling. I can never get this right. WHY ARE FANTASY NAMES SO COMPLICATED?) When I was reading Throne Of Glass, I felt like Celaena was a GOOD ASSASSIN. She was dangerous, ruthless and well, GOOD. I didn’t feel that with Sallot. It seemed that Sal got by on luck and instinct which I wouldn’t have minded, considering where he/she/they came from BUT SAL DIDN’T IMPROVE OR GROW DURING THIS COMPETITION WHERE NOBODY LEARNT ANYTHING, which brings me to: 5. WHY WAS THE COMPETITION SO FAST PACED? If we were going to have Trials AND Classes, don’t these classes have to at least be long enough for the Auditioners to learn and master things, and not for two DAYS each? 6. I felt like the Genderfluidity could have been handled better. Or actually, handled MORE. It’s an important topic to talk about that I haven’t seen before in books but other than it being mentioned with Sal’s dressing sense I had some high hoped for this book, I will admit. I give it stars for the fast pace, the fact that there was a lot of killing and that some parts of the plot were very unpredictable, but I WISH IT WAS BETTER and now I want to SOB because it COULD HAVE BEEN. 3 stars.
Date published: 2017-09-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No This wasn't the book for me. There was nothing enjoyable about it.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Promising Debut! *I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*#indigoemployee This novel is perfect for anyone who enjoys reading about assassins and it also provides a small touch of added fantasy. The main character, Sallot Leon, reminds me a lot of Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. Sal is a badass protagonist who will stop at nothing in order to pursue revenge. My only complaint about this novel is that the romance was quite predictable, however it was well done all the same. *The protagonist is gender fluid (and readers are taught how to properly address them) - Trigger warnings for misgendering and descriptive gore - Recommended for fans of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Date published: 2017-09-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I Expected More... *I received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* The premise sounded intriguing, and it was promised to be perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas. It took me a while to get into the story, and while the concept of gender fluidity sounded promising, I’m not sure I understand how it adds to Sal as a character. While the concept was laid out and easy to understand (Sal likes to be called he/she/they depending on how Sal is dressed), it was definitely lost in the plot. Sal could have been any gender and it probably would not have had any impact on the character as a whole. I really liked the start of the competition because the protagonist was playing it smart and anticipating everyone’s moves. There was also a lot of suspense there because it was hard to know who was going to get killed and when. Towards the second half of the book, it somehow went from being all about becoming an assassin to Sal’s love interest. Although feelings for another do humanize Sal, I wish there were more scenes of her becoming an assassin. The whole competition almost felt rushed, because a lot of it was Sal hiding away and trying not to get killed. The protagonist needed to be a part of the action more, and this is where Sal fell short. I did find this book enjoyable to read, but there were a lot of things I wish were done differently. I felt like having the other characters identified by numbers was easier than remembering names for them, but it took away from character development a bit, because most of the other competitors were lacking in depth. This made it difficult to connect to any of them besides the protagonist. There was a lack of worldbuilding and a lot of focus placed on characters and places that we don’t even see in the story. Sal’s character requires more background story regarding where she comes from and her family. It is strikingly similar to how tributes killed each other in The Hunger Games, with Sal as Katniss wanting to take down those who ruined her life.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from yes! One of the reasons I was drawn to Mask of Shadows is because I love deadly competitions. I mean, there’s a reason why The Hunger Games is one of my all-time favorite series. This book centers around a competition where auditioners compete to become Opal, one of the queen’s assassins. Everyone is there voluntarily, but some are much better at handling the competition than others. I loved the high stakes, loved seeing the characters battle it out, and loved the tension and suspense of who was going to attack and when. It kept me on the edge of my seat, flipping the pages as rapidly as possible because I had to know what was going to happen. There were parts of the competition that were less focused on killing, where the competitors are expected to learn things like how to detect poisons or how to heal themselves, and those parts were just as interesting to me. Basically, I loved everything about the competition to become Opal. Literally everything.
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Loved the concept, but missed the mark This novel was reminiscent of/a combination of The Hunger Games, Throne of Glass, and Divergent (sort of). What excited me the most about this novel was the fact that the main character neither identified as male or female and was fluid with his/her gender. This is an interesting concept and I've never seen this done before. Even though I didn't necessarily enjoy this book, I did enjoy the fact that the author included this aspect in this story. Now, onto my opinion of the story. First, a big complaint of mine was that the auditioners were named by numbers. This made it hard to distinguish, personalize, or even care for any of the characters involved. To be honest, after reading the only ones that I can specifically remember are Two, Three, Four, Five, and Twenty-Three (our main character). Having these characters named would have increased my enjoyment/understanding of the story tenfold. Unfortunately, I just could not get into this story. The plot and overall storyline did not seem properly introduced and left me feeling confused and bored throughout the majority of the novel. Admittedly, there were a couple of fighting scenes that did capture my attention because they were well written. However, overall I just felt that I was going through the motions of reading this book with little to no understanding or interest. As this was an ARC, there were a few grammatical errors as well as words missing from sentences. I hope this will be corrected prior to be publication. Even though this was not a popular read for me, I hope that others will enjoy it more. **Thank you to NetGalley as well as the publisher for supplying me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
Date published: 2017-08-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me This book started off strong and then I was just lost. The lack of description left me wondering what the scene looked like. I've never had that much trouble picturing a book before. There was a great idea and I wanted to see how the story played out but there was not much in terms of character development and I did not love any of the characters. Except maybe Maud. Maud was my favourite but there still wasn't enough interaction or character development. I didn't like how most of the characters were referred to by just a number and no name or any description. It left me not caring what happened to them and that part of the book was difficult to get through. The plot was okay. It had a great idea but it bored me so much along the way that I wasn't paying attention. I almost DNF but kept going after taking a few months break in between. The end was just too long and I ended up skimming the last 15%. The gender fluidity was really cool and it was probably the first time I ever read a book that touched on that. I found that it did nothing for the character or the plot though. Overall I wouldn't personally recommend this book but maybe give it a try and see if you like it. It's definitely not for those, like me, who need an infinite amount of detail with characters you can fall in love with. It had potential but just fell through for me.
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 384 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 2 Release date: September 5<sup>th</sup> 2017 *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher (Sourcebooks Fire) for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own, and are honest as always. Mask of Shadows is the first ARC I have been approved for. Receiving the email saying I had been approved to read it through Netgalley kept a smile on my face for the rest of the week. I obviously really wanted to love Mask of Shadows, but I had too many issues with it to give it a high rating. Let’s start with the positives. It was really interesting seeing a gender fluid main character. I don’t know that much about being gender fluid, and I cannot say anything about the accuracy of the representation, but it was interesting to see it represented in YA. I was a little confused when I didn’t quite catch how Sal was dressed (they dress how they wish to be addressed), but you quickly learn Sal’s gender doesn’t matter from a plot standpoint. On a more negative note, I spent the novel in a state of confusion. Maybe I accidently skipped over some words, but I would be reading, and there would be something that didn’t quite add up. People I thought were in the room, weren’t there in the next paragraph, the characters were in a completely different room than I thought they were, etc. Again, this might have been my fault entirely, but what wasn’t potentially my fault were the “info dumps” that were throughout the novel. There would be long stretches of time where Sal would be explaining multiple years’ worth of history, and then the plot would continue as if an entire war hadn’t just been explained. The characters were also lacking in the development department. This happens all too often with revenge driven characters. The author knows that the characters actions should be driven by revenge, but they forget that the character needs to have other characteristics. If you asked me to describe Sal, the only thing I would be able to say about them is that they want revenge for the destruction of their country. The comparison of Mask of Shadows to Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas are half right in my opinion. While it frustrates me to no end that every thief book is compared to Six of Crows, I think the comparison to Throne of Glass is pretty dead on. Let me preface this by saying that I have only given 2 Sarah J Maas books 5 stars (Queen of Shadows and A Court of Mist and Furry), but I have read all of her released novels. As a Sarah J Maas reader, here are some of the reasons Mask of Shadows is similar to Throne of Glass: 1. Celaena and Sal are both revenge driven characters. Both characters want to avenge their fallen homelands by becoming assassins in order to murder those who brought about their countries’ destruction. 2. The whole book revolves around a competition to be the ruler’s next assassin. Sketchy politics are involved. 3. The main characters are supposedly very skilled, but it is hardly shown. 4. The love interests are obvious from chapter one. 5. Magic is gone/ illegal. I’m sure there are more similarities I can’t think of at the moment, but it’s pretty much your typical YA fantasy book. Overall, the only new thing Mask of Shadows brings to the table is a gender fluid main character, earning it 2 stars out of 5.
Date published: 2017-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Debut! Set to release on September 5, 2017, Mask of Shadows is Linsey Miller’s debut novel, and the first book in a planned duology. Riddled with action and deceit, Mask of Shadows is sure to draw readers in right from the get-go. Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard and Leigh Bardugo, Mask of Shadows features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action (Disclaimer: I received and Advanced Reader Copy of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller in exchange for an honest review). I picked Mask of Shadows up because it sounded exactly like my kind of book – riddled with action, deceit and cut-throat characters who are willing to risk it all to succeed at seemingly impossible goals. Then, I was even further intrigued by the promise of a gender-fluid main character – a point which promised to add some much needed diversity to the Young Adult Fantasy genre. What I Liked: To sum it up, I pretty much loved everything about this book. It was exactly what it promised to be, delivering on the action, the political intrigue and the inclusion of diverse characters. Sallot Leon (Sal) was a badass, consistent main character who stayed true to their morals, and to themselves as an individual – including in regards to they’re sexuality. Sal is openly gender-fluid, and it was refreshing to see this diversity reflected in YA Fantasy. As Sal puts it, when they dress as a woman, Sal is a she; when they dress as a man, Sal is a he; and when they’re dress reflects neither gender, Sal should be referred to as they. Sal’s society is reflective of our own society in terms of the acceptance of the LGBTQ2+ community – some people, like the other Hands of the Queen, or Elise, accept Sal and understand they’re sexuality; others don’t understand Sal’s sexuality, but choose to be tolerant of it; and others, like many of Sal’s competitors, choose to ignore Sal’s sexuality, insisting on referring to Sal as she, or openly shaming Sal for they’re sexuality. I think this reflection of our own society in a fantasy setting was really important, and very well done – it makes Sal’s experience resonate more truthfully with the reader, and brings some much needed diversity into YA Fantasy. What I Disliked: To be honest here, I enjoyed most everything in this book, but there was one thing that I felt seriously limited Mask of Shadows – the lack of world-building beyond the competition. While external conflicts, both past and present (such as Sal’s shadows) are mentioned, they aren’t really built upon, and I felt like this limited the scope of the story, because the reader was extremely limited in the understanding and compassion for Sal’s experience. Overall Verdict: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller’s is a strong, well-rounded debut novel. While Miller fell short of the exploration of world-building, she made up for it in regards to the strength of her character development and in the action-riddled plot that was certainly never dull. Sal, as a character, was really interesting and strong, while also bringing some much needed diversity into the YA Fantasy genre (4/5).
Date published: 2017-04-06