Pantomime at the Strange Chemistry (remember them?) launch party and had an early copy for review. I loved it. Whilst bound by confidentiality not to mention that Micah was intersex prior to publication, it was a brave step in a time when there wasn’t a whole lot of LGBT+ young adult fiction about, let alone fantasy. All the books are very much about acceptance and not judging people by what they are but instead by what they do.
You accepted me, you loved me, and you weren't afraid that I was different. Do you realize how much that means to me?
After a long gap between books, a recap is required. If you don’t have the time to re-read, never fear, Anisa starts off the book telling the story so far in her own way. Anisa has spent much of the story inside a Vestige so is as much an observer as the reader.
Masquerade manages to be rather topical despite being a gaslight fantasy. The Foresters are a movement wanting a better life for the working classes of Ellada. Whilst the royal family appear to be living a life of luxury, many are living in poverty, exploited by their employers. The people feel disillusioned by the lack of progress made by the Foresters and a splinter group has emerged, one who thinks you can get more done with violence.
He was a man murdered solely for looking different, killed while explicitly asking for peace and understanding.
As the crowds are riled up, blaming people who are different for their problems, it’s hard not to compare it to world events happening right now. The chimaera are the immigrants here, feared by some or just a convenient scape goat for others. The revolutionary tension is felt throughout the book and Micah can see both sides; once part of a noble family, now living in the poorest part of the city.
At the end of Shadowplay, Micah is left with a fever, supposedly his chimaera powers getting out of hand. He starts taking a potion from Doctor Pozzi, a mix of Lerium and Vestige. I was a bit frustrated that Micah was so trusting, whilst at the same time suspicious. Lerium is a highly addictive drug, one that Drystan was once in grip of, and who knows what else dangerous is in it. Yet he allows himself to become dependent on the doctor and the drug, thinking it is his only choice.
The sun set, the sky stained red, orange and yellow. How cruel, for the sun to mirror the death and destruction that had happened just a few hours before.
There was a satisfying conclusion to many threads. We find out why the chimaera have returned after so long and whilst families may not be reunited as such, there is closure on several fronts. We meet a few old friends along the way too as well as a few new characters.
Masquerade is published by Tor and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 9th March 2017. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review. You can get some great goodies off Laura if you pre-order too, including a free Vestigial Tale.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.