I received a review copy of the book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 5 stars Series: yes - second book of trilogy
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE MASK OF MIRRORS*
Trust is the thread that binds us . . . and the rope that hangs us.
In Nadezra, peace is as tenuous as a single thread. The ruthless House Indestor has been destroyed, but darkness still weaves through the city’s filthy back alleys and jewel-bright gardens, seen by those who know where to look.
Derossi Vargo has always known. He has sacrificed more than anyone imagines to carve himself a position of power among the nobility, hiding a will of steel behind a velvet smile. He’ll be damned if he lets anyone threaten what he’s built.
Grey Serrado knows all too well. Bent under the yoke of too many burdens, he fights to protect the city’s most vulnerable. Sooner or later, that fight will demand more than he can give.
And Ren, daughter of no clan, knows best of all. Caught in a knot of lies, torn between her heritage and her aristocratic masquerade, she relies on her gift for reading pattern to survive. And it shows her the web of corruption that traps her city.
But all three have yet to discover just how far that web stretches. And in the end, it will take more than knives to cut themselves free…
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The sequel to THE LIAR’S KNOT offers everything THE MASK OF MIRRORS did, just MORE. The first book had to set up all the characters and the world and the magic, but this one has most of that in place already, so can use that space to take the book (and characters) even further. Oh, and don’t worry, there’s a recap of book 1 at the start of this one, given how complicated a plot each book has!
Ren and the character who is also the Rook have so many different identities to play with. (We found out who the Rook was at the end of the first book, but that’s one spoiler that shouldn’t be on the internet even though this is a book two review!) The reader knows who every identity is, but the characters don’t, so the authors have clearly had a lot of fun pairing all the characters and their identities up, playing with the various ignorances and knowledges.
The Ren/Grey dynamic is my favourite of the book because just !!!! *insert squealing* They’re so cute together, but have so many lies and responsibilities and secrets between them to iron out. And when Ren as Arenza walks into his house!? That was when I knew just how much fun they were going to be throughout.
This book introduces a new and much larger threat, a literal cosmic evil to defeat (but not a blue beam in the sky – have no fear. It’s something much more complex and entangled than that!) It’s clearly been set up in the first book, but it wasn’t introduced in that one.
I suspect that’s because the authors weren’t confident they could sell the series initially. These are chonky books and it’s their first collaboration (and under a pen name) so might have ended up being marketed almost like a debut. The two books so far certainly feel like a first book marketed as a “standalone with series potential” (i.e. forms an almost complete and contained story and so wouldn’t be too disappointing if nothing came later, but once reading the second it’s clear a lot of hints were laid) and a book that could not stand alone.
While the in-book main story line is wrapped up in a satisfying way, with answers and progression and some goals achieved, there is a lot more left hanging for the final book. The primary villain (who was revealed in the second half) hasn’t been defeated, for example (unlike Indestor in book 1.)
I should add, this does not impact on the satisfaction provided by either book – I loved them a lot. I just find it interesting to see how the market/publishing uncertainties can affect the way a story is written.
I am now very excited for the third book, which I hope is not too far away.
Read my reviews of other books by M. A. Carrick (Marie Brenan and Alyc Helms):
Rook and Rose (this series):
- THE MASK OF MIRRORS (#1)
By Marie Brenan:
The Memoirs of Lady Trent: