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Mask of Shadows

(Mask of Shadows #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,138 ratings  ·  1,242 reviews
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 t
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
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Jackie Comparing authors is really difficult, and I wouldn't say Miller's writing style is anything like Maas'... and I wouldn't want it to be. It's very dif…moreComparing authors is really difficult, and I wouldn't say Miller's writing style is anything like Maas'... and I wouldn't want it to be. It's very different. I liked it, though, and I strongly disagree with a previous answer stating that Sal's only characteristic is being genderfluid. In fact, they don't even mention it often... (less)
Rori From a conversation between Sal and Ruby in the book, it seems Sal is genderfluid experiencing 3 gender states: man, woman, and agender. The best pron…moreFrom a conversation between Sal and Ruby in the book, it seems Sal is genderfluid experiencing 3 gender states: man, woman, and agender. The best pronouns to use for them is "they/them". (less)

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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This book was so dull, which is weird, for a book that contains mostly action and not much else.

To mention this book in the same breath as Sarah J. Maas or Leigh Bardugo is just laughable. I don't even like Maas' books, but she has a writing style that makes her books easy to follow, and easy to read. This book is composed of too much action and dialogue, with little introspection and no art. Had I not read the blurb for the book, I would not have known what it was about, even after reading it 1
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Over half of my friends didn't like this book but I freaking loved it! There was only one little aspect I didn't like but it wasn't too bad.

Sal gets into the Audition to become the next Opal a particular assassin for the Queen. Sal has other plans, Sal wants to find out all of the people involved in killing everyone in Nacea.

This book is freaking awesome if you like assassins and people going around trying to kill each other and blood and guts and what not.

There are a group of these assassins
Bentley ★
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Per Linsey Miller's Twitter:
"There are new ARCs out, so bringing this back. Sal explains it in text, but please use they/them pronouns for Sal in reviews & discussions." @LinseyMiller

In light of this, I've updated this review to reflect "they/them" pronouns when referring to Sal. I apologize if my choice to review to Sal as "he" in my previous review for ease of understanding for readers offended anyone!

If I had one to describe this book in one word, it would have
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a hard one to review. Linsey Miller’s debut novel truly did have a lot of potential, and I do believe that the following installments will be much better than this first book that was laying the groundwork for this world. Unfortunately, this book read very slow and it makes the story in general feel very underwhelming.

Trigger Warnings for: misgendering, violence, and gore.

In this world, Queen Ignasi ended the
Simona B
Full review now posted!

*I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

•I don’t think there is much to say about a book like Mask of Shadows. In some respects, it very much reflects every single YA fantasy book out there. Specifically, and I apologize if this comparison has already been made by, basically, every single person who’s already read the book, the plot bears remarkably similarities to the Hunger Games concept—I have to point out, though, and sor
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
DNF @ 34%

As much as I hate leaving books unfinished, there’s nothing that makes me want to continue. Taking place in a generic fantasy world, Linsey Miller’s debut focuses on Sal, a thief who enters a competition to become one of the Queen’s Assassins.

...sound familiar yet?

This offers some really great representation, as Sal is genderfluid. I appreciated how they weren't completely defined by this, and the plot was the primary focus. However, despite the representation this offers, Sal isn’t
Ashwood (애쉬 우드).
Dull, confusing and disappointing. Wow, I was really excited to read this book because of all the hype around it but it completely crashed and burned for me.
I rarely rate books (even the ones I really couldn’t get into) one star but this is the exception. I’m not gonna believe all the hype about another book again until I’ve read it myself so that I’m not as disappointed, like in this case.
Wren (fablesandwren)
Jun 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 01-stars, not-shelved
This was me when I read this:
"Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action."

This was me about fifty pages in:

I'm not sure who decided to come up with that little quote about it being like Maas and Bardugo, but I just have one question: have you read any Mass or Bardugo? Like I understand the whole "fight and see who whens to be on this elite team"
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s, e-book, fantasy, ya
- Full review coming soon, closer to pub date -

Action-packed, daring, engaging and romantic, Mask of Shadows was everything I wanted and more! I will definitely be pre-ordering my own copy of this one off of Amazon, and I already can't wait for the sequel!
K. Elizabeth
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not persuade my actual opinion of the book.

1 star - maybe 1.5, if I'm feeling nice.

I'm sorry, but I just couldn't enjoy this. From the first chapter I sort of guessed that I wouldn't, with how the story just jumped into the action so quickly and so suddenly - I really disliked it. But not only that, but the writing wasn't great either - it lacked depth and barely described any of the scenes in ways people could actually
Aug 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, age-ya
fuckkkkkk this book. I'm so glad it's over. Oh my god. This was a struggle to finish. I had to skim read the last few pages because I was so angry and ready to be done with this shit. For my review I'm going to try to be as non spoilery as I can, but if spoilers come out then I'm sorry. You've been warned. Also I'm sorry if this is super incoherent, but I'm just writing down my thoughts as they come to me. Here we go.

Words to describe this book: unmemorable, confusing, messy, unoriginal
You know that feeling when a book jumps out at you and the rest of the world fades away? MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller did that to me and getting to the end had me thinking, now that’s a great story! Imagine Fate dumping the opportunity to better your life, gain the respect of others and get a long awaited revenge on those responsible for the death of Sallit’s people. Sallit is all that is left, a skilled thief, living in poverty and filth. This is Sal’s chance to change that, but first the a ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.)

“They’d welcomed me into their house, and I was going to tear it down.”

This was a YA fantasy story, about a gender fluid thief who trained to be an assassin.

Sal was an interesting character, and it took me a while to realise that he/she was gender fluid, and changed his/her preferred gender as often as he/she changed his/her clothes. It was an interesting element to the story though, and I fe
Jodi Meadows
Official comments: 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.

Unofficial comments: this was a seriously fun book.
Avery (Book Deviant)
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Update: Reread March 2018: god that was as amazing and heart shattering as i remember. :-) not okay.

God I love this book with all my being.

Check out my full review here.

Trigger warnings for gore/violence, misgendering, kidnapping, murder, self-harm, classism
This review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogs...

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

Sal is a thief, living in a world complicated by politics and war. Still haunted by the 'shadows', they steal for Grell, but they're tired of it. After stealing from some nobles, Sal finds a flyer that could change their life. If they prove their worth, they can audition to be part of the Queen's Left Hand, a group of assassins that get their namesakes from the rings that the Q
Lo Bookfrantic

3★★★ stars

Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Type: Book 1 in the Mask of Shadows Series
POV: First Person

Sallot Leon aka Sal a twenty three year old; was an orphan. Survived in the streets by fighting and becoming a great thief. He was the last children of Nacea; he had a goal, it was to become the next "Opal" aka the right hand of the Queen. He wouldn't stop until he accomplished it.

Honestly, this book was a bit hard to follow like I understood the story and overall it was good
BAM Endlessly Booked
A big thank you goes to Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

What an original premise and a bold move on Miller's part! Sal, a street fighter and highway thief, auditions for a place on the Queen's Left Hand, her trusted band of assassins. She/He then goes by Twenty-three and learns how to kill and also falls in love. It's a battle to the death. It's also an androgynous stand in the YA genre, which I thoroughly re
Carrie DiRisio
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an earlier draft of this, and it is seriously one incredible book. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Scott Lynch, this action-packed, twisty novel will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sal is an incredible protagonist, the world-building is incredibly real-feeling, and there's even some gorgeous romance for all your shipping feels. ...more
K. Wolf
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't impress upon you how awesome and amazingly written this book is, and the feels you'll be reeling with for a week(s) after. So yeah.
The Captain
Aug 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

This novel is about a young gender-fluid adult in a competition to become a court assassin for the purposes of revenge. Should have been a perfect catch but ended up being such a disappointment that I hereby decree that this book must walk the plank! Be forewarned dark opinions abide below . . .

Now this book is getting comparisons to Sarah J. Maas and
Taylor Knight
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The synopsis for Mask of Shadows says "perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo". I think whoever wrote that set this book up to fail in comparison to those two writer's books. Comparing a book to the likes of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo is a very bold claim and I feel like because of that claim and the epic sounding synopsis, I was let down by this book.

The plot is kind of boring and unoriginal. It felt a lot like The Hunger Games and by a lot, I mean almost an exact copy
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book grabbed me from beginning to end. The assassins, the deadly competition, the world in turmoil, the slow-burn romance! Sal is a hero to root for, cunning and ingenious and ruthless when they need to be, but with a spark of goodness and humanity. The gender fluidity isn't a huge plot point here, especially since it seems to be accepted by others in this world. I especially loved the witty repartee between the members of the queen's Left Hand. This is a thrilling, immersive fantasy you sh ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it did not like it


I am not going to spend too much time on this review because I'm glad to have gotten through it at all. I DNF'd this book but curiosity got the better of me so I came back to find out how it ended. I was hoping that like the last couple of books I've read, they would make it to my "Come Back Kid" list at the end of the year (DNF to 5 stars) . I've had a pretty good streak going but I guess all good things must come to an end at some point.

This book suffered in so many ways (plot, ch
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from NetGalley for an honest opinion and I feel so incredibly lucky I did.

Ahhh, my friends. This book, this book is a beauty. Right away I need to say that I am both cis and straight, so the gender fluid aspect of the book, while a huge delight to me, can't possibly be as important to me as someone who identifies similarly to Sal. I'm so looking forward to those reviews in the future, seeing how special and meaningful this book could be. That being said, this book is an abso
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
This book had a lot of potential. The premise was there and it made sense, but it lost itself in info dumping, inaccessible characters, and overt similarities to other books.

Things I Liked :
I actually thought the premise of the competition to become the Queen’s next assassin was great. It made complete sense: kill the other competitors and don’t get caught. It was smart and allowed the book to have a lot of action and fight scenes. The tests the competitors faced were also very logical - spe
Chelsies Reading Escape
This book has a gender fluid thief competiting to become the Queens assassin. OMG! Yes Please! The assassin competition totally gave me Throne of Glass vibes and I really enjoyed the representation of a gender fluid character. The Queen has 4 assassins called the Left Hand and each assassin is called by the gem the queen where on her left hand. Theres Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst and Opal. Since Opal died the Queen is holding a competition to replace her

At first I was dying to know what sexe the main
You know, for a book where all the characters battle each other to the death, this was really... dull. The premise was incredibly cool, with a competition to become part of the Queen's assassins, yet the execution fell rather flat.

I hardly know where to begin with this. I was really excited to read Mask of Shadows, but I never really got into the story. At times, it felt a lot longer than it actually was, and I couldn't connect to any of the characters. All of the assassins are numbered from one
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s
I was what I was - what Nacea had made me, what Erlend had made me, what Our Queen had made me. There was no innocence left in this world, left in me, not after all we had done

* * .5
2.5 / 5

I had very high hopes for Linsey Miller's debut novel and, on the whole, I was a little disappointed. Whilst there's intrigue, assassinations, politics, a competition (there's very little I love more than game plots - see A Gathering of Shadows), and a reasonably well-developed main character, Sallot Leon, the
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Originally from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She now holds an MFA in fiction and is the author of the Mask of Shadows duology, Belle Révolte, and The Game. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

Other books in the series

Mask of Shadows (2 books)
  • Ruin of Stars (Mask of Shadows, #2)

News & Interviews

Twists, turns, red herrings, the usual suspects: These books have it all...and more. If you love mysteries and thrillers, get ready for dozens...
130 likes · 31 comments
“I would remember them forever–their names, my reasons, the way their bodies slumped in death and their eyes stared through me. If I stopped, if I let their deaths weigh me down and keep me from being Opal, it was all for nothing. There was no going back. I was what I was, and they were a part of me now.” 6 likes
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