Book Highlight: The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

book highlight the mask of mirrors m. a. carrick

Title: The Mask of Mirrors (Rook & Rose #1)

Author: M.A. Carrick

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: January 19, 2021

Genre: Fantasy


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 previous Book Highlight (for Pretending by Holly Bourne) featured the very first physical copy I received. This one is for the first physical copy I received from Orbit. I’d been on Orbit’s reviewer list for about a year and was finally feeling a little more confident in myself as a reviewer, so decided it was time to start requesting physical ARCs. Fortunately, Orbit makes it easy and I just had to fill out a form. Still, I never take receiving any kind of ARC as a given. Receiving a hefty package in the mail was a big surprise, but I was absolutely thrilled to open it up and find this lovely book. Of course I’m incredibly thankful.


My review: “it’s quite a lot packed into this book, and I’m a little surprised it, more or less, flowed. But that middle part, as much as it had me rolling my eyes and feeling a little letdown, really did come through and add a little more to the story. Though it also bloated the story to near bursting”

Blogging with Dragons gave this 4 stars, saying “There is literally so much going on in The Mask of Mirrors that I don’t know how Ren keeps all of it, and her many aliases straight. It’s both amazing and makes me feel like I need to reread the novel again in order to grasp all of the many layers of it. Though I did not find the pacing in The Mask of Mirrors slow at all, I honestly had a lot of trouble keeping the entire cast of characters straight.”

Inkandplamsa reviews gave this 4 stars, saying “That’s because THE MASK OF MIRRORS is a very complicated political fantasy, set in a gorgeous Venetian-esque world. It’s heavy on the politics, complex and nuanced, and light on fantasy”

Space and Sorcery gave this a 5, saying “I had a great deal of fun with The Mask of Mirrors, its skillful blend of adventure, mystery and drawing-room verbal battles creating a rich, multi-layered story I enjoyed losing myself in: the seamless transitions from day-to-day life to vicious political battles, from high-end social gatherings to drug-induced, reality-bending nightmares, proved to be so compelling that it was hard to put the book down”

The Bibliophile Chronicles gave this 4.5 stars, saying “Mask of Mirrors is an impressive start to a new fantasy series. With a compelling plot and impeccable world building, this is an absolute must read for fantasy fans.”

Grimdark Dad said “The overall vibe for me was like…this dark & grimy, city-based fantasy novel, but with layers and layers of fancy makeup, masks, and costumes on top.”

Armed with a Book gave this a 3.5, saying “The first half of the book feels like introductions, the building of tension, and the continuous laying of various traps by the different characters. Each conversation with both ally and foe is like a sword fight (with some literal sword fights!), but overall the amount of information overload at the beginning made the pace go very slow at first. However, once the tarot card magic was more fully introduced, the pace picked up and the stakes grew even more.  While my immersion wasn’t at its highest point during the first half, the second half made up for that, and how the book ends gives me hope for an even better second and third installment in the trilogy”

Devouring Books gave this 5 stars, saying “The Mask Mirrors was a really cool fantasy with characters that I really loved and a world that felt incredibly real. There was so much scheming and political maneuvering that kept me guessing. The pacing wasn’t fast, but it was consistent and there were plenty of twists that I never saw coming”

I Should Read That gave this 3 stars, saying “I think the majority of my trouble with The Mask of Mirrors was the unnecessary complexity that led to confusion and poor pacing. This book feels like five different books in one with the number of storylines running at the same time”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Target | Walmart | Waterstones (UK) | Books-A-Million | Flipkart (India) | Kobo | Audible | Google Books | Apple Books | Thrift Books | Book Depository | Abe Books | Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore | Powell’s | Ebooks | IndieBound

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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