A review by 18soft_green
The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick

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


4.75/5 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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