This is a review of “Masques” by Patricia Briggs.
Aralorn fled the life of a noble lady in order to live life as a mercenary and spy, but her latest mission will test her in ways unimagined. With a dangerously charismatic sorcerer gaining power, Aralorn will have to join the rebellion in order to fight him. But with a mysterious wolf as a companion and an enemy who uses illusions, how can she know whom to fight or where the enemy will strike next?
The world building is nice and clear, not too much and not too little. Aralorn is a tough cookie and she knows what she’s doing, she is even likable. Wolf, her companion, is a mysterious black wolf that she rescued. There is even a hint of future romance that was done very nicely and at an appropriate pace that I found really enjoyable. The story even had a few twists and situations that I didn’t expect, and that was good.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had expected it to be much worse than it was. Of course, it is still quite stereotypical and predictable. The characters were okay but not gripping, the story was simple enough, and Aralorn hovers dangerously on the edge of becoming a true Mary Sue of Anita Blake proportions. Luckily she manages to avoid that and I’m grateful for that. The story of Wolf was revealed a bit too early in the story for my taste, I would have liked to have wondered about him for longer, but that is just a pet peeve I suppose.
I also like that in this edition the author herself had written an introduction where she admitted how badly written she thought the book to be. She says that she has improved since then, but I haven’t read any of her other work so I can’t agree or disagree. This book is a fair try for a debut it has to be said.
All in all, it is an okay read, but not good enough to tempt me into reading the two sequels right away. Perhaps in the far off future I might pick them up, but it is doubtful.