Reviews tagging 'Xenophobia'

The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick

5 reviews

18soft_green's review

Go to review page

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.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

valpuri's review

Go to review page

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


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

astroprojection's review

Go to review page

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).

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

azrah786's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

 [This review can also be found on my BLOG]

**I was gifted a copy by Orbit Books UK in exchange for an honest review**

CW: violence, death, death of a parent, grief, poverty, child abuse, kidnapping, substance abuse, xenophobia

Don’t you just love when a book that was not even on your radar absolutely blows you away!

The Mask of Mirrors welcomes us to Nadezra, the City of Dreamsa place laced with magic and full of manipulative nobles, crime lords and vigilantes – through the perspective of Ren, a con artist and her sister. They have returned to the city of their childhood to trick the elite members of society and secure a fortune for themselves. However, it’s not long before they get caught in the web of the family feuds, political power play, dangerous magic and machinations of the city.

First things first this book is slow paced and when I say slow I mean s l o w… but personally I loved it. The world-building and magic within this story are impressively extensive and rich. From the awe-inspiring outfit descriptions and entangled character relationships, to the excursions to the various nooks and crannies within the city, the pacing delicately immerses you into the setting and story.

We’re introduced to a vast number of characters, two intriguing magic system and their accompanying terminology, which to begin with are a tad overwhelming, but they painstakingly shape the discordant communities that form Nadezra. An annexed land rooted in xenophobia, we get a glimpse of how history and culture have pieced it together.

The amount of detail and thought behind everything in this story is truly remarkable. One thing, as someone not familiar with anything tarot or spirit related, that I did have some difficulty with though was fully understanding the magic system. However, as the seeds of plot and political intrigue started to trickle in I found myself not too bothered about that and I became totally engrossed with everything to do with this world.

Just as intricate as the world are the protagonists. Along with Ren there are two other leading narrators – Grey Serrado, a captain of the city’s police force following a lead of missing children and then Derossi Vargo, a notorious crime lord and businessman determined to climb into the ranks of the nobility. Other than it seeming a little too farfetched that Rin was able to uphold her array of identities under her circumstances for as long as she did, I thoroughly enjoyed all three storylines. Along with a handful of other subplots, they are continually entwining and it gets more and more interesting with each page!

Now I don’t know what more to say without giving stuff away but honestly if you are able to be patient with it, this book reaps the rewards. I’m just mad now that book 2 is nowhere in sight because I was nowhere near ready to leave these characters and be thrown out of this world after being so absorbed into it, particularly after THAT ending… I have a mighty need!!!

All in all I really enjoyed this book and I guarantee if you love intricate fantasy stories and misfits getting tangled into more than what they bargained for, then you will too!!
Final Rating - 4/5 Stars 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

literaturesciencealliance's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Video Review: https://youtu.be/4Vxz6q5gKEU

What a fun fantasy read! I loved the character relationships and how they developed throughout this story. I think even though it is a slow pace at the beginning I didn't mind because all I wanted to do was watch these quiet moments where characters are interacting with each other. Once the pace does pick up then the mystery and tension takes over and I couldn't put it down. My one complain is that the character relationships took more of a back seat than I wanted in the later end of the story when the pace picked up. The magic is also really interesting. I am always a fan of dream magic which plays a large roll in this story. There are lots of things still to learn but for a first book in a series I was really intrigued and happy with where it ended and the answers I did get to all the intriguing questions that this narrative gives you. Recommend this to anyone who likes multiple point of view adventure/political fantasy. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings
More...