My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the second book of the Rook & Rose Trilogy that began with the Mask of Mirrors ...
Previous Review of The Mask of Mirrors
The book starts with a recap of the story so far … and a quick gloss of names and terms to jump start the story (which was greatly appreciated). Then the action picks up immediately following the events of the previous book when the nefarious House Investor fell from grace into obscurity. But that was not the only threat to the fragile balance between the ruling elites and the conquered commons of the city. While there is a little less world-building in this installment, there is still enough to keep the feel of a wonderfully deep and sometimes hidden background that enables the plot to focus more of character and building action toward another awesome conclusion.
We already know the main players: Ren struggles to maintain her con as Alta Renata, despite developing a close emotional attachment to the members of the family that was her mark … making it hard for her to cut her loses when it starts to go south. With her connection to the “Pattern” through her deck of cards, she builds up another persona as a revered “gypsy” fortune teller Arenza among the original conquered people of the city with whom she shares their heritage as the daughter of an outcast … with all of that, the Dream has granted her yet another persona as the “Black Rose” who joins the “Rook” as a vigilante on a mission … which is actually not completely revealed until the end. Then there is Grey … the Vigil officer by day and crusader at night struggling to be true to both. Finally we get Vargo … the crime boss given a noble charter who has surprising secrets of his own … in some respects, this book is Vargo’s story and my initial dislike for him in the first story was completely reversed here as we begin to dig deep into the motivations and intentions of all three (3) of these flawed heroes.
And then we have the cast of wonderful supporting characters to pull on Ren’s loyalties and the readers heart that just made each of the main characters more complex and interesting while providing the ability to tap into both sides of society to give real consequences to nearly every decision. And amongst all of that, the source of the dark corruption within the city is slowly reveals as the intrigue and secrets are stripped away. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed how this story developed and where it ended up; looking forward to the sequel.
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