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Summary

Darkly magical and beautifully imagined, The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a rich and dazzling fantasy adventure in which a con artist, a vigilante and a crime lord must unite to save their city. 

Nightmares are creeping through the city of dreams....

Renata Virdaux is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra - the city of dreams - with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister's future. 

But as she's drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, she realises her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupted magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled - with Ren at their heart.

©2021 Alyc Helms, Bryn Neuenschwander (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Utterly captivating. Carrick spins an exciting web of mystery, magic, and political treachery in a richly drawn and innovative world." (S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass)

"Wonderfully immersive - I was unable to put it down." (Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter)

"An intricate, compelling dream of a book." (Melissa Caruso, author of The Tethered Mage)

What listeners say about The Mask of Mirrors

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  • Overall
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Great characters and outstanding world-building

I’m not gonna lie, this book has a steep learning curve. The authors throw you into this fascinating, but complicated web of a city (Nadežra), full of rich cultures, politics, noble houses, a masked vigilante, crime lords and magic. There is a lot - and I mean a lot - to learn and the authors don’t hold your hand. I personally love this type of world-building, where the reader is just thrown into it and has to slowly figure everything out.

The setting is reminiscent of Venice but saying that simplifies it way too much. There are influences from many different cultures and it all comes together into something that feels new, unique and real. I immediately fell in love with the city. In General, the world is beautifully rich and alive, also due to its complexity; and the same is true for its politics, the magic and the characters.

I instantly connected with the main character (and enjoyed most of the other POV characters), which kept me engaged throughout the first part of the book, while I still struggled to remember/understand all the names and relationships between the characters. Ren, the main protagonist, is a former street kid returning to the city with an elaborate con. She pretends to be a long lost relative of one of the noble houses in an attempt to gain their trust, influence and ultimately their money. She is clever, resourceful, charismatic and very good at lying/manipulating people and it all makes sense given what she went through. Her arc throughout the book is beautiful and very believable. Most of the protagonists are not “classically” good (Ren obviously included, given her profession), but rather varying shades of grey. However, I still sympathised with most of them. I think the characters, together with the beautifully created world, are the two high points of the novel!

The book is slow and very dense; a lot of things are happening and not all of them seem connected to the main story in the beginning. And while all this might sound negative, it wasn’t, at least not for me. I loved the very intricate plot!

There is little action, but Magic does play an important part, especially in the second half of the book. There are different types of magic in the world and they are tightly interwoven with the different cultures, making everything feel even more immersive.

The tension and the stakes are raised markedly after the midpoint of the story and at that point, I was completely and utterly hooked and couldn’t stop reading. The book has a satisfying ending, but at the same time keeps me hooked for the sequel.
I'm utterly in love with this series and can't wait for it to continue.

Narration:
I very much enjoyed how the narrator uses different accents to highlight the different masks Ren wears and also had distinct voices for all the characters. I would have liked it even better if the narration (outside of dialogue) would have been a tiny bit more energetic; it seemed a tad monotone at times. Still overall a great experience!

5 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable and richly detailed fantasy

This falls firmly into the 'Renaissance Mediterranean reimagined and rewritten' sub genre of fantasy, but that is not a criticism, and it is well thought out and very detailed, with the political system akin to Italian medieval city states, and multiple national groups with a fully realised history. There are also magical elements, but again, properly thought out and not too whimsical . It reminded me a little of Robin Hobb or CJ Parker, and I approved of the female led plot, which included multiple strong and varied characters. Regional or ethnic accents are always a dilemma for fantasy works read aloud or filmed, as the choices rather break the illusion (why Eastern European for one nation and Irish for another?) but it does help to differentiate the groups and characters, which for an audiobook is definitely a plus. The narration is good, although you do need to keep your wits about you to keep track of plot and characters, and is very long (good value for money!) but as my first exposure to this author I was favourably impressed

2 people found this helpful

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Fun, engaging and misterious

I liked this book a lot. The plot has so many layers, interesting characters, engaging mystery and great worldbuilding.

1 person found this helpful

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Best book I had the pleasure of lisening to

This is hands down the best book I have ever listened to. The setting is fantastic and immersive. The caracters are great. And the narrator was just fantastic. 11/10 would reccomend to anyone.

1 person found this helpful

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A very very good listen

I don't usually read "fantasy" stories but I was but I was drawn in by the write up, I am very pleased I was. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing story. Set in a very different world with different customs and very believable characters all brought to life by very good and creative narration. I really could not stop listening, the plot just pulls you in. I am really looking forward to book 2.

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Difficult following the thread of the story

I've got to say, I found this story very difficult to follow, very little or no introduction to characters, . Wont be following onto the second book I'm afraid!

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The best so far

Amazing audiobook. Captivating fantasy story with an incredibly talented narrator. My favourite audiobook so far. You are completely immersed in the complicated world of gangs, family, politics and magic. The narrator has excellent range and the best accents I've heard so far.

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Brilliant! Best listen in ages

Okay it was a little difficult to identify all the various characters at first because there are quite a lot of them, but once you got into it it was fine. Wonderful story, great mystery all the way through and compelling characters. Why do you recommend it? it’s the best listen I’ve had in a long time

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Good fun!

Gripping, good world building, good characters. I enjoyed it! Would recommend for fans of the Lies of Locke Lamora.

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Well done!

Great story and reading of the book! I am usually apprehensive of longer audio books, but this book has captivated me throughout. It felt a bit more like 3 books in 1, so value for money there ;)