Masks by E.C. Blake
At the age of fifteen, citizens are recognized as adults and must don the spell-infused Masks—which denote both status and profession—whenever they are in public. To maintain the secure rule of the kingdom, the Masks are magically crafted to reveal any treasonous thoughts or actions. And once such betrayals are exposed, the Watchers are there to enforce the law.
Gifted people have the ability to see certain colors of magic, and are given jobs according to their magical gifts. Mara Holdfast is the daughter of a Maskmaker, and hopes to be her father’s apprentice. But instead of seeing the red, gold color of those with craft magic, Mara can see all the colors. And at her Masking ceremony, her Mask rejects her. And Mara is sent to work in the mines along with the “traitorous” unMasked. Mara isn’t sure if it was because she lied about her magic or because she didn’t speak up about the unMasked boy she met. But soon after leaving the city, Mara is taken by a group of rebellious unmasked – there, she’ll need to make a decision about her future. And confront the truth about her magical abilities.
Masks is a fresh and original take on a coming of age story. Fantasy fans will want to check this one out. I loved the concept of the masks that hide everyone’s faces, yet revealed any traitorous motives. Mara is an interesting central character. She has a tender heart, but is forced into difficult situations. And she has a power that she can’t yet control. Well-paced, intense, and dramatic – the story is completely captivating. And the characters are vivid and engaging. I couldn’t put it down. This is first in a new series that I will definitely be following.