2 stars · Books · Epic Fantasy · Fantasy · High Fantasy · Reviews · Young Adult

Mask of Shadows

This book just felt so derivative. Told in the point of view of a gender fluid character and at the same time completely like any other YA fantasy out there.

The gender fluid thing is no big deal. And that’s something I can appreciate. Even if the rest of a book is basically trying to be all the great YA books but poorly done.

It doesn’t do anything differently. And that’s how you get me to like your book, you do something differently in a way that I don’t expect. And if you’re writing YA fantasy, please don’t take the common tropes and tick them off.

Because this book did that and I can barely remember anything about it. There was some competition, some trying to kill each other and of course, lies and betrayal. The only thing not here which is a bonus point is romance.

At least someone admitted that this didn’t really have a place when you are basically fighting for your life.

The politics to me didn’t feel all that outstanding because it was told in the third person. And there is literally no stakes for Sal. And her reasons of her revenge are barely touched upon.

Even as people die, someone dies. Plenty of people die. The ending also has people pledging to kill another. I can’t remember who is who, what is characteristic of the character. Because none of them had anything that made them feel real.

Like there were a bunch of cool cast who were acrobats, jugglers, serial killers, mercenaries. And then a couple more who are into the manipulation. But none of them reveal why they are doing this. And let’s be honest here, Sal is a very very quiet protagonist. Keeping her head down, not asking, not inferring anything makes first person a poor choice and especially when she has no internal conflict to speak of. And why in most YA high fantasy it is preferable for the third person.

As Sal does not play in the political field, or even come into contact with the Queen at all. She is virtually isolated. And as such, third person would have done a lot better in this regard. Especially in expanding the world, the scale of the story, and real effects that it would have. Otherwise through Sal’s point of view, it is incredibly dull.

Overall, the book could have done a lot things better so that I would not come out having absolutely no idea what it’s talking about. And barely any idea just what happened.

Rating: 2 out of 5


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