Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick

The Mask of Mirrors Rating**Thank you to Orbit Books UK for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**


‘This is your past, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .’
Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadezra, she fled that world to save her sister.

‘This is your present, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .’
Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadezra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune.

‘This is your future, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .’
As corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled—with Ren at their heart. And if she cannot sort the truth from the lies, it will mean the destruction of all her worlds.


Don’t you just love when a book that was not even on your radar absolutely blows you away!

The Mask of Mirrors welcomes us to Nadezra, the City of Dreams a place laced with magic and full of manipulative nobles, crime lords and vigilantes – through the perspective of Ren, a con artist and her sister. They have returned to the city of their childhood to trick the elite members of society and secure a fortune for themselves. However, it’s not long before they get caught in the web of the family feuds, political power play, dangerous magic and machinations of the city.

“Fortune favours the bold. Magic favours the liars.”

First things first this book is slow paced and when I say slow I mean s l o w… but personally I loved it. The world-building and magic within this story are impressively extensive and rich. From the awe-inspiring outfit descriptions and entangled character relationships, to the excursions to the various nooks and crannies within the city, the pacing delicately immerses you into the setting and story.

We’re introduced to a vast number of characters, two intriguing magic systems and their accompanying terminology, which to begin with are a tad overwhelming, but they painstakingly shape the discordant communities that form Nadezra. An annexed land rooted in xenophobia, we get a glimpse of how history and culture have pieced it together.

The amount of detail and thought behind everything in this story is truly remarkable. One thing, as someone not familiar with anything tarot or spirit related, that I did have some difficulty with though was fully understanding the magic system However, as the seeds of plot and political intrigue started to trickle in I found myself not too bothered about that and I became totally engrossed with everything to do with this world.

Just as intricate as the world are the protagonists. Along with Ren there are two other leading narrators – Grey Serrado, a captain of the city’s police force following a lead of missing children and then Derossi Vargo, a notorious crime lord and businessman determined to climb into the ranks of the nobility. Other than it seeming a little too farfetched that Rin was able to uphold her array of identities under her circumstances for as long as she did, I thoroughly enjoyed all three storylines. Along with a handful of other subplots, they are continually entwining and it gets more and more interesting with each page!

“We live in a topsy-turvy world, Alta Renata, where the criminals are honest, and it’s the upright folk you have to be wary of.”

Now I don’t know what more to say without giving stuff away but honestly if you are able to be patient with it, this book reaps the rewards. I’m just mad now that book 2 is nowhere in sight because I was nowhere near ready to leave these characters and be thrown out of this world after being so absorbed into it, particularly after THAT ending…


Once again Nazia, I can’t even thank you enough for sending this book my way because I really really enjoyed it and I guarantee if you love intricate fantasy stories and misfits getting tangled into more than what they bargained for, then you will too!!



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