Series: Cassandra Palmer World
Published by InterMix on March 18, 2014
Genres: Historical, Urban Fantasy
Source: Author, Publisher
Sexual Content: Several sex scenes, scenes of dubious consent of sexual actions
Reviewed by: Kate
Fifteenth century Venice is a safe haven for the masterless dregs of the vampire world, a city where they can live without the fear of retribution for violating another’s territory.
Still, there are plenty of ways for a young vampire to die in the glittering city, a lesson that prince turned pauper Mircea Basarab must learn quickly. But there are opportunities, too—in the service of a secretive courtesan, in the bed of a beautiful senator, and in the hunt for an ancient assassin.
As a vendetta older than Venice itself comes to a climax, Mircea struggles to evade the dangers of his current life, to come to terms with his past, and to uncover the truth hidden behind a city of masks…
While I'd have to go back and read all of Karen Chance's books again to be sure, I am pretty sure MASKS is my favorite. I always loved Mircea as a character and been disappointed when he was fairly absent in the last Cassandra Palmer book, and the opportunity to have a book devoted all to him was pretty awesome.
To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to really get into Karen Chance's writing. I started with Cassie's series, but it took Dory's series and a second try at Cassie before I really started to enjoy them, so I was a little worried about the possibility that I wasn't going to enjoy MASKS. Sure, it stars Mircea, a character who appears in both series, but MASKS is also a historical paranormal, and stars Mircea from way back before he's a master (which for me was a large part of his appeal, the power) - it could have fallen really flat. Not to mention the idea started out as a freebie novella. Luckily, MASKS totally worked for me. Now, I'm just upset that we don't have more to read about Mircea's back story.
My one complaint was that at times, the sheer number of characters was a bit overwhelming. I suppose I should be used to it, since it's not as if Cassie's books ever skimp on people, but since this is a stand-alone, there obviously isn't going to be the investment in each individual that you'll get in a series. Otherwise, I loved reading about the vampire politics, and Mircea as a newly created vampire was a wonder. His thinking seemed so much different than his thinking now, and it was fascinating to get inside his head, since that's one place I always want to be in the Cassie series. Not to mention the action, mystery, and relationships (Mircea's friendships especially) that keep the plot moving along and make sure the reader is always occupied.
For a fan of the Cassandra Palmer and Dorina Basarab series, MASKS is a must-read. While not perfect, it is an awesome addition to the world, and gives some great back-story of a main character and vampire politics as we know them from their modern day counterparts. Even if you aren't a fan, I think MASKS offers plenty for you. Since it's back-story, this isn't like jumping in at the middle of the series, and like I said, the story moves along at quite a clip, so readers not familiar with Mircea should find it interesting while they're getting to know him. If you're curious, I would definitely try it out - and have Dory's books on order, because I'm confident you'll want to move directly to them.Series Titles:
- Cassandra Palmer series
- Dorina Basarab series
- For a reading order from the author, click here.
- Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance