Reviews tagging 'Slavery'

The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick

7 reviews

18soft_green's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

4.75/5 This book is soo good!!

The writing itself is consistent, practical, funny, and rhythmic. It’s very rare that I read/find a book where the writing style is so well done that it’s flow offers yet another layer of information about the story and characters. I loved how the authors know the characters so well that while the style of writing stayed the same, the tone of the story would change depending on whose POV it was.

The world the story is set in is enchanting and complex but not in a confusing way. It has rules that make sense. I loved that we never stopped learning about the magic system and cultures of the world. I liked the creepiness of the monsters and the streets, the way the grossness was handled.

The characters, oh my god, the characters are so peoplie!! Vargo has my heart, I love his narrative so much! I have so many questions about who he is, what his story is, what he REALLY wants. He’s so good at hiding even from himself! And who the fuck is that guy in his head?! I love Ren! I wasn’t expecting to love her so much. She has a lot of growing to do and I love how we can see, even through the trauma, that she has child-like notions. I love how her loyalty is above all to her siblings. I love how even though her attachment to them is clearly a trauma bond it’s love as well. And not smothering toxic love, but love for who they are as people. I love that that love is returned. And the familiarity they have with each other that is so sibling-like. It reminds me actually of my own relationships with my siblings. We have the shared trauma but we chose to have each other in our lives still and our link to each other is because we care for one another and know each other. Tess, Sedge, and Ren love each other deeply and their attachment to one another is consistent and pure. They lean on each other hard and it hurts and strains them but they still love and hold fast to one another. I love that we got to know Tess and Sedge instead of just having to assume that they were worth something because Ren said so or because they had some nice dialogue with Ren. I like Donaia but I don’t like Guina. And Leato, my heart. I thought he might end up wrong and weird but no. He is so sweet! I’m torn about Grey. I hate the police so fucking much and this bitch is out here saying they actually care about people?! Absolutely not. Nope. You can’t,, and the Rook?! The authors are going to have to explain a lot in the sequel because though I expected that reveal it makes NO SENSE! 
I loved the villain too. I don’t like the message of nonviolence the authors tried to send at the end. They brushed over a lot of nuance to send that message and also,, like honeys, you’re two white women, is this your place to say?
I also dislike how few MCs are actually queer. And how limited the gender systems are. They gave us, like, five MCs and only ONE(1) is queer? And they’re pretending that’s enough? And they also coded him as a villain?! That ice is pretty slippery for them to marching so confidently. And Guina doesn’t count, she almost never got a real POV and she is such a limp character rn. I don’t like her. And then after her ALL the queer characters are suspicious.
4.75/5 stars. I’d recommend this book to anyone that likes fantasy or adventure stories.

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ariel790's review

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adventurous mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.25

Decent read. 

The story had plenty of mystery and adventure to keep me reading. However, there were many places it fell short. Moments that were rushed through that if the author(s) had taken more time to describe, it would have elevated it to another level. As I read, I wanted it elevated to be able to immerse myself into the story without needing to guess and fill in the blanks, but that never really happened. Don't get me wrong, details are given, but more so on world building by describing location with emphasize given on the story's tarot card/astrology equivalent. Where I felt it lacked, was often during the action - how that made a character feel, or what they were motivated by in the moment. Other places, importance was given on the differences in the cultures or races, but this difference was never really explained, only glossed over. Some of the minor characters were not described at all beyond their name. Some things just existed without a how or why given. Often times, this left me with more questions than answers.

The main issues were resolved, with some mystery opened up for the sequel - and because there is sequel with further chance for the author to delve more into the world and explain the intricacies where I felt it lacked, I'd say at least worth a read, if you have the time. Wouldn't suggest it as a top priority though.

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valpuri's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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astroprojection's review

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adventurous dark mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I liked this a lot. I think the world-building and politicking were pretty interesting and I loved the focus on clothes and fashion, whether it was Tess’s outfits for Ren or Vargo’s peak Slutty Crime Boss Ensembles. I especially loves the magical girl-esque transformation scene at the same end lmao, it was unexpected but stuck to the aesthetic so I dug it. I also like that as a first novel in a series, it had a plot that was developed and resolved so, while we do have some lingering threads, it’s not like we have a whole cliffhanger or anything. I did think the accents were kind of all over the place in the audiobook (not the reader’s fault but more so how haphazardly the settings in the book were mapped to different English accents).

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rubyhosh's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25


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bookforthought's review against another edition

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adventurous slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

What a ride this book was! I mean, only by reading the blub I knew this was a book for me: a con artist, a vigilante and crime lord, plus magic? Count me in for the ride!

Ren was an absolute joy as a main character and I loved, loved, loved following her. She definitely has everything it takes to pull off such an elaborate con: she's incredibly smart and knows how to manipulate people, using her knowledge, beauty and talent for disguise to their full effect. She's also fiercely loyal, and I adored her relationship with her sister Tess. Multiple POVs alternate throughout the book, and I think that worked extremely well.

I ended up feeling really invested in all the key characters. Each of them had their share of dangerous secrets, and they were all extremely well-rounded and multilayered. Special shoutouts to Vargo, a crime lord trying to work his way into local nobility, and Serrado, the conflicted captain who wants to use the guards' resources to benefit the lower classes instead of the rich. I loved these two so much!

But this is just scratching the surface. In this book there are so. many. characters! The cast is extremely varied and diverse, and it got to the point where I really struggled to remember who everyone was (especially when some of the names look quite similar). I did find out that there was a character list at the end, which I hadn't realised up until I got there (joys of reading the e-arc version!), and I would have definitely consulted it frequently if I had! There was also a glossary, which again would have been very useful had I noticed its existence before getting to the end of the book, since I struggled with remembering a lot of this world's vocabulary. Definitely won't make that mistake again!

The world itself was beautifully built, with its complex society and history. I particularly liked that characters came from different backgrounds, and seeing the world through their eyes made it easier to understand the ethnic, religious and class conflict in the book. The local traditions were especially interesting, and so crucial to the plot, that it was a great pleasure to just learn more about them. The descriptions were quite detailed, which often was nice, but sometimes felt just a tad too long, and didn't really help the pace.

Now, the pace was where my biggest issue with this book was. I often have this problem with adult fantasy books, so it's most likely a case of "it's not you, it's me", but for a large part of the book it just felt as if I was stuck in a loop: it didn't matter how much I read in a sitting, I just wasn't moving forward. As I said, I loved the characters and I enjoyed spending time with them, and the plot was engaging, full of twists and turns and danger and revelations, but still... somehow the pace felt off. Again, this is most probably me rather than the book itself, but it took something away from the experience for me.

Overall, though, The Mask of Mirrors was a really great read. Filled with engaging characters, a complex world, lies, danger, magic and a gripping plot, it's the perfect companion in these long, cold winter days. I'll take the rest of this trilogy now, please and thank you, I need to know what Ren gets up to next!

For this and more reviews, visit Book for Thought.

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.


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erin_lovell's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious sad tense slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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