Ruin of Stars
Ruin of Stars

Series: Mask of Shadows Vol. 2   

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Annotation: As Opal, Sal now has the power, prestige, and ability to exact revenge, but must first identify the murderers while ignoring the fact that Elise is a virtual prisoner and the queen may have ulterior motives.
Catalog Number: #159853
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 404 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-492-64752-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-492-64752-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017057879
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Gender-fluid Sal Leon, crown assassin, has finally begun taking their revenge against the forces who wiped out Sal's people by unleashing monsters from a twisted magical experiment on an unsuspecting populace. To destroy the shadow creatures, magic was eradicated from the land. However, as Sal closes in on their targets, they uncover a trail of disappearances and mutilations suggesting that someone is trying to recreate the past. Meanwhile, Sal's beloved Elise has been kidnapped by her father, one of the people Sal has sentenced to death. Can Sal, a refugee-turned-killer for an adopted kingdom, avenge their people without sacrificing the realm's peace? Sal's strong-willed personality and rich emotions create a protagonist who continues to shine against an obscure setting and conflict. Divested of the organizing structure of the previous book's competition plot, this sequel to Mask of Shadows (2017) struggles with pace and coherence. A bright spot is the romantic chemistry between Sal and Elise, also a winning character. The antagonists' tyrannical opposition to freedom of gender engagingly broadens Sal's fight beyond retribution alone.
Kirkus Reviews
In this conclusion to a fantasy duology, genderfluid assassin Sal hunts down the five Erlend nobles on their hit list.Sal is out for revenge on North Star, Deadfall, Riparian, Caldera, and Winter, the code names for those responsible for the decimation of Sal's home country, Nacea. Designated the new Honorable Opal and afforded the resources of the queen of Igna's elite assassins, Sal hunts down the Erlend nobles who now threaten Igna with war. While uncovering the dark plot that connects flayed corpses, severed ears, and missing children, Sal copes with PTSD and deepens their relationship with Elise de Farone. The bloody action is diluted by scene after scene of lengthy dialogue and repetitious narration. Despite technical issues, readers will appreciate the novel's timely parallels to our world; Erlend's "us first" mentality and adherence to heteronormative gender roles are particularly familiar. Miller (Mask of Shadows, 2017) remedies the previous book's misstep of conflating expression and identity. This time, she more accurately represents genderfluidity by asserting that presentation does not equate gender identity and by introducing more transgender and nonbinary characters. The cast is also racially diverse; Sal is presumably white, with other characters' skin ranges from pale to dark brown.Though at times long-winded, this is a fitting conclusion to an inventive fantasy series. (Fantasy. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up In this sequel to Mask of Shadows, genderfluid Sal continues their career as Opal, one of the Queen's Left Hand, an elite assassin corps. Sal believes that they are the sole survivors of their homeland's annihilation and vows to kill every responsible political leader. Gruesome zombielike monsters, Shadows, are thought to be extinct with the banishment of magic, but they are being secretly harvested by Gaspar del Weylinaka North Starthe kingdom's most powerful and ruthless leader. Sal's route to murder North Star and his cronies involves investigating the recent disappearances of children; surviving the deaths of friends and allies; and sustaining their romance with Elise, the daughter of one of Sal's targets. Political allegiances, real and false, are difficult to track even as the story reaches its conclusion. The convoluted plot and confusing multitude of geographical and personal names frustrate the flow of what could be an engaging genre-bending hybrid. A clear message about challenging society's binary gender and sexual orientation definitions motivates the Queen to unseat the supremacist leaders who devalue or outright forbid an individual's right to a spectrum of identities. Sal, in spite of all the throat-slitting, remains an endearingly sympathetic character, and their passionate voice for justice is this story's gem in the rough. VERDICT Overall flawed world-building makes this ambitious fantasy a choice for fans of the first book who want to see Sal's journey through. Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (6/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (6/1/18)
Reading Level: 9.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: HL690L

The thrilling conclusion to the Mask of Shadows duology that weaves a tale of magic, shadows, and most importantly, revenge. As one of the Queen's elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen andthat the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father. But there's something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can't be forgotten.

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