Friday, August 8, 2014

Shadows-E.C. Blake

E.C. Blake
Daw, Aug 5 2014, $19.95
ISBN: 9780756407605

With her father being the Autarch Master Maskmaker in Aygrima, Mara Holdfast's future seemed predestined as his apprentice.  However, at her rite of passage ceremony, the mask her father made for her broke apart marking her as a traitor.  Stunned and despondent, Mara is banished from her upper class existence to a deadly short life at a mining camp.  Believing Mara is the key to their revolt, the Unmasked rebels rescue her (see Masks).

Still concealing her unique skill to see all the colors of magic as she always has, her new friends assign her to use her ability to abet their cause by making masks for them; but she fails as her creations crumble.  Mara knows she must sneak into the city to obtain guidance from her mentor father, but unsure she can trust him after her masking debacle.  Instead a boat arrives with a person demanding to meet the Unmasked Community chief.

The action-packed second Masks of Aygrima coming of age fantasy contains a strong storyline that continues to focus on the two-caste society, but with the additional effect that “Strangers from a Strange Land” (Robert A. Heinlein) have on the divided country.  As she fears her magical talent will destroy everyone without prejudice towards masked and unmasked in her path, Mara continues to learn that "… great power involves great responsibility" (FDR in a speech never given).

Harriet Klausner

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