Saturday, July 18, 2015

Faces - E.C. Blake

E.C. Blake
DAW, Jul 7 2015, $19.95
ISBN: 9780756409395

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 so that she can create masks for them.  Though like her father Mara can see and use all the colors, her efforts crumble (see Shadows and Masks); unlike her despotic sire, she fears draining the life forces of others needed to compete her magic.

Distrusting her father to instruct her, a wary Mara turns to the only other known person with their skill level, Lady of Pain and Fire to teach her.  As she learns to use her extremely rare talent in the sanctuary of the Lady of Pain and Fire, Prince Chell’s army and the Unmasked plot to overthrow the deadly rule of the Autarch.

Targeting young teens and tweeners, the final Masks of Aygrima fantasy is a tremendous climax to an excellent coming of age trilogy.  The keys to the anticipated confrontation are the heroine and her teammates and allies suffer setbacks that amplify their already deep fears of failure and death; and doubts about the road taken and more crippling thoughts of the “Road Not Taken” (Robert Frost).

Harriet Klausner

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