Review: Masks (Cassandra Palmer #6.5) by Karen Chance

(Cassandra Palmer #6.5) by Karen ChancePublisher: Penguin
Author: Karen Chance
Released: March 18th, 2014
Received: Own
Warnings: Slavery, sexual abuse/assault
Rating: 4 kitties

Masks is the first and only novel (so far) written entirely from the perspective of Lord Mircea. Granted, this entire novel is also set before he became a lord. This is the tale of how he learned to be a proper political vampire.

Originally this was supposed to be a novella, but it ended up growing and growing until it became the novel it is today. It’s absolutely perfect for those that adore Mircea, and wouldn’t mind seeing a whole lot more of him.

Masks is numbered at 6.5 in the series, and you should probably read it at that time. Not because there will be spoilers – it’s set far back in Mircea’s past, after all – but because that’ll be the moment when you’ll be the readiest to learn about our leading character. Or at least, that is how it worked for me.
Because I’m doing a reread with a group of people (the Karen Chance Street Team – message me if you want to know more about it) I’m also going to include the discussion prompts we’ve been using. That will be at the end of the review, so if you’re curious, check it out.

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: There are a lot of heavier tones in Masks. Baby vampires without masters are caught, rounded up, starved and abused, and eventually sold into slavery. There are the obvious elements that come with that, but in Mircea’s case, there are also several moments that bring more into it. Like sexual assault, or concerns about consent.

This may be hard to believe, but this was actually my first time reading Masks, despite having read most of the rest of the series several times. I guess I just missed a few of the side novellas/novels. Woops.

I have to say that I really enjoyed Masks. There were moments that made me uncomfortable – like those I mentioned in the warning up above – but I’m fairly certain that was intentional. Vampire life isn’t pristine and perfect, much as they might prefer us to think of it that way. It’s messy, violent, and frequently dangerous.

It was fun seeing an all-new Mircea. Though I’ll confess I had trouble caring about well…most of the relationships shown here. Probably because I knew that they didn’t stick around, or at least that they’re not as relevant in present time.

But it was brilliant to see how Mircea’s character formed over time. What he was forced to go through, and how much of his core personality survived his being turned (granted he was turned into a vampire through slightly different means than normal).

You can really see Karen Chance’s history degree being used in this novel, possibly more so than any of the others. Those little extra details really added up, making the whole novel feel more real and alive.

Extra Comments:

Tarot Card: None mentioned

Favorite chapter/scene/plot point: The main fight scene at the end is probably my favorite, and not just for the fight. I loved the political schemes that were coming to fruition (or failing) there. All the effort that went into it.

Favorite quote: “But it never ceased to amaze him how he always assumed that his situation was unique. That no one else knew his pain, understood his loss. And yet, he continually had evidence of the contrary.”

MVP (not including Cassie): Well Cassie isn’t in this one, so she couldn’t be even if I wanted her to be. I’m going to assume not Mircea, because he is the main character here. I loved Antony and his determination despite the odds, so I’m going to go with him I think.

Favorite Political Quote: “Power is more than strength, Mircea. It takes more than that to be a leader. More of… whatever it is you have, and I don’t.”

Interesting bits I noticed this time ’round: First time reading! So everything I guess!

What further research did this book inspire (historical, mythological, etc): Nothing yet, but that’ll probably change.

Unanswered questions: None

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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