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…
Masks is the long-awaited story of Mircea Basarab, one of the main characters of the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance.
As Mircea is a hero I definitely want for myself, my expectations were high. I expected to learn about his background story: his life as a human, his Change, and his years until he had become one of the most influential and powerful vampire senators.
Instead of this, the story covers a short period of his early life as a vampire which he had spent in Venice, in the fifteenth century. It was two years after his Change, when he was still mourning his human life, was still suffering from his losses: home, family, and a possible future.
All he wanted to know was that this pain, this longing, this terrible guilt he felt every time he thought about the past, was going to lessen, perhaps one day to stop. All he wanted was a reason to go on.
Through 70% of the story I was persistent, I really was. I love Mircea, and I wanted to love his book so much. But I just skimmed the last 30% because I lost interest, patience, and all my goodwill.
In one sentence, it was boring as hell.
First, a significant part of the story is like a 15th century travelogue of Venice. Both the atmosphere and the physical beauty of Venice were depicted meticulously. But enough is enough!
Second, not only Venice, but everything else, such as cloths, masks (of course), fabrics, cosmetics, even types of candies were unmercifully detailed.
While I enjoyed as Mircea slowly accepts his new situation, and learns about the nature of vampires, their rules, laws, etiquette, customs, politics, and power relations, the repetition of his thoughts exhausted me.
Eventually he realizes that he is the same man as he was before: his intelligence, morals, and confidence survived the Change. He is still a fighter, still a leader.
The erotic scenes were the most remarkable parts of the story thanks to Ms. Chance’s sensual and vibrant descriptions.
The dialogues were slow, and often irrelevant, the plot couldn’t capture my interest. Scenes and chapters ended abruptly, making the story hard to follow and enjoy. The epilogue was sweet, with his daughter Dorina, but still lots of things remained in shadow.
Masks has its moments, and some meaningful thoughts, but overall it left me unsatisfied.
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