The Flame and the Fire
We must rise up against injustice. We must take what is ours. And we will. No longer will we let the Twelve Trees of Nobility soak up all the water, the sunshine, and the nutrients of the world. The rest of us are hungry, and we will be fed.
— Extract from a Forester pamphlet
Every chapter in the Micah Grey series has a short found document at the start, ranging from a variety of sources: history books, diaries, songs, poetry, and more. It’s basically a sneaky way to add in more worldbuilding and detail about Ellada & the Archipelago.
I wrote the ‘rise up’ bit before Hamilton, I promise! Politics come into play a lot more in the final instalment of the trilogy. The royalty is still living lavishly while the bulk of people in Ellada are struggling (sound familiar?). The Foresters are the anti-monarchy party who want better rights, but some factions are more violent and forceful than others. This comes to a head early on in the novel. Micah grew up very rich and privileged, so he’s trying to decide where he stands and what he believes. The threat of civil war is making this difficult.
If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart's desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn't. At times she misses the sunshine.
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?
Micah's Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?
Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy's blessing - and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they've re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.
What an end! Genuinely, the only disappointment is that there aren't going to be more books and it's only a trilogy! But Lam has brought her trilogy to a fantastic finish and wrapped everything up nicely, the ending felt perfect for the characters.
The book has a prologue that recaps everything, kind of like a "previously, in Micah Grey" and got you back up to speed. I started this directly after finishing the second book but it jogged my memory for some things from Pantomime! The book immediately brings you back to all the tension and suspense from the previous book.
I love how things have been building up over the course of the trilogy and in this book the Forester party and politics take centre stage. There's violent and peaceful protests providing a contrast, as two factions clash one wanting civil war and one just wanting things to change. I loved how the title of the book highlighted a large part of this book. Deception. There are so many people who aren't who they're supposed to be, who are hiding something or hiding who they are and so on, and I loved how the title of the book fit that.
We still got some magic in this book, but a big magic show wasn't the most important thing to this book, unlike the previous books. There was less of the performances, which I was a bit sad about, but there was plenty of other things going on. Political intrigue. A royal secret. Said violent and peaceful protests. Political unrest. And you know...the whole bad guys plot to kill all the Chimaera. The Micah Grey trilogy is like reading three different acts that make up a play and I've loved that.
The world was still vividly original and imaginative. I loved the hints of others in other parts of the world of the book, it was a scene that made me smile. I would have liked to see more of Frey and Nico, and I'd liked to have seen more of the world of the book as the hints just weren't enough for me. I needed more, because I genuinely loved the world of the book and wanted to learn more about it, and see more. It was so vivid and bright to me as I was reading.
There are plenty more plot twists as everything comes to a head. We finally get some answers to most of our questions. There's action and adventure to an extent. A dangerous mission. The pace was fast and the writing kept you hooked in to the story. There where creepy dream visions of a grave robber that added another interesting thread. You where never entirely sure who you could trust out of the new characters introduced, which added another level of suspense to things.
I liked the ending. Everything was wrapped up nicely, and I enjoyed how it all ended for the characters and how their lives ended up. My one issue is that, I feel like some things just melted away. Drystan's been hinted as having secrets. Lots of secrets. SO many secrets that he still hasn't shared. We've seen him grow and develop as a character, and he overcomes a setback in this book. But we never really learned about all of his hinted at secrets. We learned some about him, but not much and how things ended for him after his seemingly huge secrets and how badly he'd been cast out and so on felt a little easy. Now that I think about it, I'm also trying to remember if we discovered what happened to Anisa at the end of the book in the Epilogue. And like I said, I loved the performance aspect to the first two books and was a little sad to see it take a backseat to the politics but it was necessary in the end.
Overall Masquerade was a strong finish to an imaginative and creative trilogy that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our characters grew and developed and came such a long way over the course of the three books and it was fun to watch them on their journey. Everything ended perfectly, perhaps a little too perfectly some might say but I was mostly satisfied with everything, if not still a little curious about certain characters, certain new ships and the rest of the world of the book. I still wish there where more books to show us more of the world and the characters!