Disclosure: I received a free uncorrected proof of Masks by E.C. Blake courtesy of DAW Books via GoodReads First Reads.
The premise of this novel and the details about the uses and dangers of magic that the author provides give this fantasy tale a unique bent. Aygrima, the fantasy world in which Masks is set, is carefully crafted with backstory and geographical descriptions that gives the land a life of its own. These features almost beg for fan fiction to be written in the setting of Aygrima.
The main character Mara shows true growth from a sheltered and naive girl to a brave and decisive young lady. She is a believably teenage girl, who is admirable in her values and determination. All of the minor characters, even those with the smallest parts to play, have their own unique history and attributes to make them stand out.
Masks is a great step up for older teen readers moving into reading adult fantasy. This book has a bit of a dystopian feel without the cliches that seem to be becoming common in YA dystopian fiction. Adult readers who have enjoyed series such as Terry Brooks' Shannara novels should be sure to read Masks.
E.C. Blake has set the stage well for a coming sequel to Masks, which readers will await with great anticipation.