Summary from Goodreads:
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 the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
I really enjoyed Mask of Shadows. I’m pretty sure this is the first book I’ve read with a gender fluid character and I felt that it really added to the story. Sal watched everyone he/she knew die and has wanted revenge ever since. Sal decides to try out to be Opal, a member of the queen’s “The Left Hand”. They are the queen’s assassins and the other Opal died while on an assignment. Sal was living life as a thief up until then, not able to read or write, but very skilled. While on their last heist, Sal meets a lady whom they feel something different for. Sal even let her keep a piece of jewelry. Sal found the paper about the Left Hand auditions, kills someone for the entry, and leaves.
While trying out for The Left Hand, Sal is competing against 22 others. Sal is 23 (fitting since it’s my favorite number). The audition includes learning different skills, both physical and mental. I really liked the poison lessons. Sal goes in for a lesson to learn how to read and write and finds Elise, the same girl he stole from. They flirt and she remembered who Sal was right away.
“I was Sallot Leon-one of the last children of Nacea, orphan and street fighter, highway thiefand Twenty Three.”
I loved Sal, but I really found myself loving Maud, the maid. She was funny and a great side character. Elise was bold and smart, always a good combo. I also really enjoyed the rest of The Left Hand.
I won’t ruin anything for anyone who hasn’t read this yet. Sal competes. There is a lot of death, some backstabbing, a little romance, and revenge.
I gave this book 4 stars. It was a little confusing with all the names and places, but the story was fast paced with a lot of action.
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review. Mask of Shadows will be released August 29th 2017 by Sourcesbooks Fire.