Monday, March 6, 2017
Review: The Ruling Mask by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto
Duchess' reputation among the Gray is in jeopardy. Rumors abound that she is a bloody murderer for hire hurting her standing in the Gray and threatening to put her at odds with the Red, who have a monopoly on assassination. Duchess must find the source of these rumors and put a stop to them or risk losing everything. Meanwhile Castor turns to Duchess for help as his son is being hunted due to his connection to the aristocracy. The success of Jana and Duchess's weaving business has attracted attention and leaves them with a difficult choice. Rodass is also on the cusp of a religious war and Duchess is bound to be dragged into it as well.
The most notable element to this third installment in the series is the way the authors keep track of the web of plot lines and are able to successfully incorporate them into the larger story. The foreshadowing was very impressive. With so many plot threads (my brief synopsis doesn't do them justice) there is a risk of the narrative being bogged down. Thankfully the authors don't fall into this trap and use them to add a degree of tension throughout the story, reminiscent of the way Jim Butcher does it.
As always Duchess is the heart of this story and I really feel like she matures as a character (she even gains some insight into her father;s choices and why he made them.) and has come a long way since the first book.
Well managed story-telling and a character driven narrative make this a must read. 9/10.