ARC review, audiobook, book review, young adult

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (ARC Review)

Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: August 29, 2017

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by Raincoast Books, in exchange for an honest review.

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.

– My Review –

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It definitely took me a few days of mulling things over between the time I finished reading Mask of Shadows, and once I was actually able to sit down and put my thoughts on paper (so to speak). The first thing that I would like to say is that I believe that my expectations were very high while going into this book. Secondly, I would like to say that I audiobooked maybe half of the chapters in this book, so I will talking about that format in this review as well. The thing that stood out to me the most was the care and time that was put into the world building. There was a whole historical timeline that was created, and different countries, and different occurrences between the lords and ladies. I loved that the main character is gender fluid! However, because I am not gender fluid, I cannot say whether the portrayal was accurate or not. But, I’m happy that we’re getting more and more variety in our diverse high fantasy reads! I was also a fan of the violence, and the action scenes, because I think that they were very well-done. I really wanted to like the assassin competition in this story, because I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, even though we’ve seen it in a few books before, but I was left feeling a little disappointed because I felt that it could have been better.

The pacing of this book was a little slow to me, and I didn’t really feel hooked at all until about page 200 (which made me very very sad). And finally: the audiobook. This book is narrated in the first person, and when that is the case, I get very picky with my audiobook narrators. They have to sound as close to the character who is narrating as possible, or I’m just dissatisfied. In the case of Mask of Shadows (and I don’t want this narrator to be out of a job because of me, so please keep in mind that this applies to this book only), I did not find that the voice matched the character at all for me. The narrator sounded older than Sal would be, and she sounded like Brienne of Tarth from the Game of Thrones television show, so I couldn’t get Brienne out of my head while listening to this audiobook! The narrator altered her voice when other characters spoke, which was very well done, except for Sal’s love interest, Elise. She sounded like Winnie from the movie The Boxtrolls, and it kind of messed with me during the more intimate scenes. I told you I was picky with my audiobooks! I wasn’t kidding. But in either case, it was more so the plot and how flat the main character felt to me that left me feeling most dissapointed, and I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel. However, there were plenty of reviewers who loved this book, so please don’t let my review keep you from picking this one up if you’re excited to read it! (P.S. the sequel comes out August 1st!)

– About the Author –


A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

– Purchase Links –

amazon-canada chapters-indigo amazon-usa
amazon-uk book-depository amazon-australia


11 thoughts on “Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (ARC Review)

  1. I don’t plan on reading this book (because the premise doesn’t sound too intriguing to me), and this is somewhat unrelated to it, but I always find it so fascinating to see authors who studied or worked in a completely different field write a book. I hope it gets the recognition it deserves. <3

  2. I was disappointed by the competition as well as I thought that Sal could have been involved in the action more. I also had an issue with the fact that all these historical events, places, and people were mentioned but it felt like a bit of an information overload. Definitely had higher expectations going in.

    1. Yes, it could have definitely been better. So I’m curious if the next book will be more exciting or not. Do you think you’ll be reading it?

      1. I think I will give it a try! I don’t know if it will get better though. I feel like this is gonna be a typical YA trilogy, and second books in YA trilogies are sometimes dry.

  3. I’m interested in reading this book. I love the cover. I also like the gender-fluid idea. I became with the idea of gender-fluid after I took a LGBTQ+ Studies class in college. I had many gender-fluid and non-binary students in my class. I love how people can be so different. I want to read this just to see how the author incorporates that into her story. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the audiobook too much!

    -Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

    1. Yes, that definitely made the book more unique. And I hope that you enjoy it overall more than I did! 🙂 Also, I think it’s interesting too. People are all so different an unique…there’s no way that 1 of 2 genders can fit everyone perfectly!

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