Review: Masques by Patricia Briggs ★★★★

Masques by Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Sianim #1
Publication Date: 1993
ISBN: 0441520995
Page Count: 320
Summary:

After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. But her latest mission involves more peril than she ever imagined.

Agents of Sianim have asked her to gather intelligence on the increasingly popular and powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi. Soon Aralorn comes to see past the man's striking charisma- and into a soul as corrupt and black as endless night. And few have the will to resist te sinister might of the ae'Magi and his minions.

So Aralorn, aided by her enigmatic companion, Wolf, joins the rebellion against the ae'Magi. But in a war against a foe armed with the power of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is- or where he will strike next?

REVIEW


Disclaimer: I read (listened to) the updated 2010 version which had been re-written and fleshed out considerably (according to the author's introduction), and was almost twice the length of the original 1993 release.

I really struggled to rate this one. It's so hard not to compare it to her Mercy Thompson series, which is a mistake because that really is in a class of its own. Not even the spin-off Alpha and Omega series compares to it, in truth. But it's hard not to at least compare writing styles since you know it's the same author, and this is definitely a more simplistic style. There is none of the complex layering and weaving of story threads, and not much in the way of mystery or intrigue. Really, it's just about a simple (if magical) girl, who has a friend who is sometimes a wolf, who has to try and stop an evil mage from taking over the world (insert cheesy echo sound effect here). It's a plot that has been wheeled out for fantasy novels many, many times before.

Except that this is Patricia Briggs we are talking about here, who is a master story teller and amazing at characterization. So although the plot shows little originality on the outside, once you get into the nitty gritty of it, there were many enjoyable aspects of the world-building and characters to savour. And a sweet and touching tentative romance. Although this part of the story is minimal, it really added to my enjoyment.

The main character we follow is Aralorn, who is a shapeshifter. She can become almost any shape but she has to train and memorize each new one to be able to do them instantly. Being able to switch between girl and mouse, or girl and goose at little more than a thought, helps no end in her job as a spy, which is how she becomes entangled in a powerplay between two opposing leaders.

Wolf is a very interesting character as well, with a rather hellish back story. As you don't find out exactly who he is until after the first quarter of the book (And I try never to mention things past that point in reviews lest I spoil the plot for you) I won't be able to say too much about him, other than that I liked him a lot, and was happy with the progress he made within this story. I would like to see even more progress in the next one, but I understand these things take time.

There are a few issues with the plot even with the rewrites that have been done but I'm not going to go over them. I'll leave that to others. What I will say is that I enjoyed the story, I particularly enjoyed the narrators work on the audiobook, and I grew to like Wolf and Aralorn enough to want to read the next book, Wolfsbane, which I am looking forward to starting very soon.

4 Stars! ★★★★

2 comments:

  1. I love your review. Now, I am curious to read this one. I am looking forward to have a copy of this one.

    ReplyDelete

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