Title: The Mask of Mirrors (Rook & Rose #1)
Author: M.A. Carrick
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD. MAGIC FAVORS THE LIARS.
Ren is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadežra, she fled that world to save her sister. Now, she has returned with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.
But in the city of dreams, her masquerade is just one of many. Enigmatic crime lord Derossi Vargo, stony captain of the guard Grey Serrado, dashing heir Leato Traementis, and the legendary vigilante known as the Rook all have secrets that could unravel her own.
And as corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled—with Ren at their heart.
Why This Book
The Mask of Mirrors has an expansive cast of characters, many of whom are connected by tenuous threads called family and friendship. As a matter of fact, the scheming and plotting they all do around each other is quite a lot of fun, and some relationships are more interesting than others. But it’s the friendship between Ren and Tess that steals my heart every time.
Once part of a gang as children, they fled, leaving behind a third friend who they believed to be dead. Now, years later, they’ve returned to pull off one last con, one that could set them up for life. While Ren poses as a long lost member of a noble family, Tess poses as her maid. The lady-maid relationship is a fun one, but it’s when it’s just them, when they can take their masks off, that they come most to life. I adored everything about them, how close they are, how they never forget who they are to each other. They take care of and protect each other, and their loyalty is absolutely stunning, especially in a city where everyone would stab everyone else in the back.
My review: “Ren is the con artist while Tess plays her role as a lady’s maid and is quite a wizard with a needle. They’re a lovely pair that balance each other and I adore the close, sisterly bond they share. Tess is more of a shrinking violet, always unsure of herself when not playing Ren’s maid”
Smart Bitches Trashy Books rated this a B+, saying “I thoroughly enjoyed the escapades of clever Ren and the fascinating supporting characters, and the many twists and turns that the story takes. Readers who like political scheming, fashion as a weapon and a tool, secrets, and swashbuckling will enjoy this”
Kara Reviews said “Ren herself is such a great protagonist. She’s clever, but she isn’t a Mary Sue. Carrick deals her plenty of setbacks—some that I thought would surely sink her con—and much of the fun of this story is watching Ren and Tess adapt to the cards they get dealt”
KBbookreviews gave this a 4.5, saying ” the relationships were expertly done, form the found/chosen family, to the friendships, to the flirting and the hatred – all of it was very well crafted”
Blogging with Dragons gave this a 4, saying “In my opinion though, the spectacular character development and political intrigue more than makes up for this lackluster description of the magic system”
Forever Lost in Literature gave this 5 stars, saying “Every component of this story is important, from the setting to the world-building to the pacing, but the characters were one of the most vital to the plot, and I am so pleased to say that I think the authors did remarkable work in developing such a strong cast of characters that not only contains quite a few characters to follow, but also managed to make each character feel fully developed, fleshed out, and each have an interesting and unique personality as well as backstory and current storyline”
Grimdark Dad said “The relationship between Ren and Tess is at the heart of the story. They’ve been through so much together and Tess is fiercely loyal to Ren. Tess is also just a really fun, almost exuberant character. She has a deep passion for fabrics & for making and altering the clothing necessary to keep up Ren’s cons”
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