City of Masks by Ashley Capes

Sundry heroic types defend the city from invading desert tribes, foreign terrorists, sea monsters, and fiendish political plots in this epic fantasy.

The story gets off to an engaging start with a mercenary, Notch, in jail awaiting execution for a murder he didn’t commit. Of course, he promptly escapes. While he’s doing that, we bounce to a new character: Sofia, a young noble who’s about to be embroiled in politics of the life-and-death sort.

Shuttling between three different point-of-view characters whose plot threads don’t intersect until later gives a rather disjointed feel to the start, but all the characters are good and their individual stories interesting.

The plot has a lot going on (possibly a bit too much) which combined with brisk pacing, ensures it’s certainly never dull. I would have liked a bit more time spent on fleshing out the setting. For example, it’s a major plot point that some people wear masks to keep their identity secret, but exactly why this necessary is never really explained.

The writing is very readable throughout with few editing errors.

This is the first book of a projected trilogy. It works pretty well as a standalone story, though there are a lot of loose ends left for the follow-up.

Go to Amazon UK

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