cover image Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows

Linsey Miller. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4926-4749-2

Sallot “Sal” Leon, a genderfluid highway thief, has spent 10 years vowing revenge against the nobles who allowed shadows born of magic to kill their family and slaughter their people. When Sal discovers that the queen is holding auditions for a new Opal (one of four private assassins/guards), Sal decides to compete, but it won’t be easy. The other assassins—Ruby, Amethyst, and Emerald—won’t accept anything but the best, the competitors can try to kill each other at almost any time, and they’ll be tested mightily in the many ways of dealing death. The competition offers the opportunity to get close to some of the names on Sal’s kill list, but matters are complicated when Sal falls for tutor Elise de Farone. Miller’s gritty, lightning-paced debut features a rough-and-tumble yet movingly vulnerable protagonist: Sal is uncompromising in their convictions, and doesn’t hesitate to kill when necessary but wishes to be more than just a weapon of vengeance. A complex but intriguing start to this planned duology. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rachel Brooks, L. Perkins Agency. (Aug.)