Hi Readers & Writers,
In case you couldn’t tell by the banner above, I am a part of the Sunday Street Team Mask of Shadows Blog Tour! If you haven’t read or heard of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller, it’s time to change that. I was lucky to win an ARC and was immediately entranced by Sal, the darkness of The Left Hand, and some other secrets I won’t reveal here.
Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling genderfluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But genderfluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
Now if that doesn’t intrigue you, maybe this will:
Tips on How to Survive The Left Hand Auditions (from Linsey’s unqualified perspective)
- Don’t Audition
I know it’s probably not the thing you won’t to hear but look: it’s a fight to the death with a bunch of killers and fighters and alchemist, and depending on how many people audition, your chances aren’t high. Unless you’re secretly like my mentor Jessie Devine and could probably fight your way out of Igna.
- No, really, there are tons of other cool jobs you could do that don’t involve a 99% chance of getting murdered.
While very few people auditioned for the earlier spots in the Left Hand, the quartet has gained a romantic reputation now that the war and recovery is barely a memory to some of the younger teens of Igna. That’s twenty people out to kill you.
Which is probably about twenty more people out to kill you than usual. I hope. I don’t know you’re life.
- Ok, we’re really doing this. Let’s go.
So there are two ways to go about the audition: let everyone kill everyone else off in order to survive to the end; throw yourself into the fray and try to kill everyone; or a mix of both (sort of what Sal did). It’s sort of like Skyrim where you start off as either sneaky, punchy, or magic-y (poison in this case), but unlike Skyrim, you don’t have to end up as a sneaky archer.
You can do whatever you’re best at to survive. Surviving, no matter how, is the key.
- Follow the rules.
The downside of survival is that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive. That doesn’t fly at auditions. A large part of what the Left Hand looks for is how you react to rules, orders, morality, and hard choices. The rules are there for a reason, and you can’t be caught breaking them if you want to
So either be a rule-obeying murderer or don’t get caught breaking the rules.
- Be nice.
Though it seems counter-intuitive, the Left Hand doesn’t want to work with jerks. As they explain to Sal, they have to like their newest colleague, and Our Queen wants trustworthy guards and assassins. The Left Hand aren’t calculating or cold murderers with no morals. They’re empathetic and kind, and they also happen to murder people on occasion when the safety of their people depends upon it. They have all mentally made a choice that killing a few will protect the many.
- Be prepared to murder people.
This may seem obvious, but the auditions is a fight to the death. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly. I’ve kept a flippant tone; however, the Left Hand and the auditioners kill people, and there are very real mental, physical, and emotional ramifications. Auditions should not be undertaken lightly.
- Or be prepared to split.
Just get out of there. Surviving auditions—even if you aren’t named a Left Hand member—is still a pretty huge accomplishment. Eat some good food, get some cool, new black clothes, and duck out of auditions with your life intact.
- Play to your strengths.
Look at you! You’ve got angles that work! Use them. If you’re the punchiest person this side of the Caracol, punch your way through auditions. If you’re the sneakiest, sneak your way through auditions. Own your strengths!
The auditions are a fight to the death filled with the best, and if you’re in them, it means you’re the best. Use that. Everyone has a strength. Everyone has the potential to survive. You can and you will.
Everything else you need to know about the author, where to buy Mask of Shadows, how to win a copy of the book, and to read other posts from those on the tour can be found below!
About the Author:
A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in August 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.
The Prize: 1 Copy of Mask Of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Open to US Residents Only
Here is the Rafflecopter Giveaway:
9/3 Tour Stops
Interview – Emily Reads Everything
Unique Post – Roecker Reviews
Review – Bayy In Wonderland
Review – Bookishly Thinking
9/10 Tour Stops
Interview – Tween 2 Teen Books
Review –Charmingly Simple
Review – Pondering The Prose
Interview – When Curiosity Killed The Cat
9/17 Tour Stops
Interview – YA and Wine
Style Boards – Here’s To Happy Endings
Review – Areli Reads
Review – The Hermit Librarian
Interview – Sarcasm and Lemons
9/24 Tour Stops
Interview – Flyleaf Chronicles
Review – Books N Calm
Review – A Thousand Words A Million Books
Guest Post – Written Infinities