Monday, June 6, 2016

Hidden Series Review

Book One


  “The Chameleon is on the loose.” Despite the whispers that sprung up, the Speaker continued, “He’s stealing our masks and assuming the identities of the victims. It is our duty to warn you—do not trust the masks alone.”

In Venesia, your mask is your life. It is your face, your rank, and your identity. Without a mask, you are nothing.

Which makes the Chameleon the most dangerous criminal in the land.

When the Chameleon attacks the talented mask maker Evie, he not only strips away Evie’s mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but he also brands her face with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrongdoings should it be discovered. Her only choice is to go into hiding—at the royal palace. But as she creates a new identity —and plans to exact revenge— Evie soon learns that masks hide more than just faces ...
Unmask the secrets that Venesia holds in this unique and romantic spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.


This is one of those books that I just wanted to fall into. Such a beautiful world and fun concept! I didn't really catch the Cinderella theme until the closer to the end, but that was fine. There was enough going on and intrigue that I didn't really care. If allowed, I would give this 4.5 stars because it was soooo close to perfect. (for me)One solution seemed too easy and I think I figured out the twists before the reader was supposed to. But I'm not sure on one because the secret becomes pretty obvious as the book goes on. Perhaps my reader revelation was intentional, and the real suspense comes from the MC's reaction. But I should shut up now...

Gorgeous world, delightful voice, chemistry and bond between characters, frills and masquerades, everything I like in my YA fiction. :) I hope I get the next book for Christmas!

4 stars
* * * *

Book Two




Angry at his failure to exact vengeance on the prince, mask maker Joch flees Venesia to find his lost love. When a red-cloaked assassin promises answers, he has little choice but to trust her-though he may be walking into a trap. Unravel the deception in this dazzling story of second chances that will keep you guessing to the last page.


What is Lost was surprisingly my favorite in the series. When I read the synopsis I wasn't too thrilled about reading an entire book about the antagonist of book one. But the author did a great job with What is Hidden, so I figured she knew what she was doing. Turns out, she's great at writing male POV. I was captivated from the first chapter. This book is full of page turning chases, intrigue, and daggers at the throat moments.

While Joch wasn't someone I added to my list of book boyfriends, he was a very complex character. He had a few more flaws than saving graces, but the author illustrated each aspect in a "This is who Joch is. He is not perfect. Take it as it is" kind of attitude and I really respected it. I loved following him along on his road to redemption and his interactions with the other characters were brilliant. Kit his perfect companion. I loved their bitter banter and the slow kinship that developed between them.

Unlike What is Hidden, I never saw the plot twists coming. I was completely shocked by the ending. So much so, that I just sat the book down for a second and laid there with my mouth open staring at the ceiling. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that kind of an ending in a book.

What is Hidden is great, but What is Lost is what makes the series worth the read. 

5 stars
* * * * *

Book Three


Princess Bianca returns to her court to find it poisoned from the inside out. Faced with mysterious sicknesses, power disputes, and whispers of impending death, Bianca turns to an unlikely ally—a former assassin—to find the antidote that will save her kingdom. But Bianca quickly realizes that she might not even be able to save her own life in this Snow White story.


Upon seeing the cover for The Fairest Poison, I was confused as to whether or not it was a continuation in the Hidden Series, especially since it didn't follow the "What is" title theme. It definitely is, following Princess Bianca that was briefly mention in book one and introduced in book two. If you read my interview with Lauren Skidmore, you will find out that the publisher was intending to market The Fairest Poison as a standalone, therefore making the title and cover different from the rest of the series. Fun fact: The original title for book three was What is Found.

I went into this book with high hopes because I really enjoyed the first two. I'll admit, I was a little let down. On paper, The Fairest Poison had great stuff I love to see in books: castles and courts, royals, romance, scandals, and danger. But for me, it just didn't all come together like I expected it too. Maybe because Evie wasn't in it nearly as much as I had hoped. Bianca was nice enough but I just never felt a connection to her like I did in book two. There wasn't as much story driven action as the previous books and it felt a little slow moving. Perhaps that's partly because due to the title, I knew she was going to get poisoned eventually, also as this is a snow white theme. But there were few twists and less surprises than the first two.

It was a still a fun, quick read. I imagine that if I had read this in the days before I was married with a child, I could have finished the whole thing in one rainy afternoon. The ending was sweet and satisfying and I felt like I had said a proper goodbye to the characters. I think if I had just read The Fairest Poison as a stand alone I would have liked it a lot better, having not compared it to the first two. But that's not my recommendation at all. The characters and the history of this world are too rich to just skip to the ending. If you haven't already, definitely pick up What is Hidden.

3.5 stars
* * * * 


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