Published by Cedar Fort on May 13, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Suspense
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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A Cinderella tale of deception and mystery.
In a land of masquerades and mystery, Evie is a mask maker in Venesia, where masks represent rank and identity. When a cryptic bandit strips away Evie's mask and destroys her home, she goes into hiding at the palace to find both a new identity and revenge.
I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read and review What is Hidden for the book’s blog tour. Due to a family emergency, I am a few days late posting my review. I appreciate the patience and understanding of Cedar Fort and Lauren Skidmore. I really enjoyed this book, and am excited to finally have some time to sit down and write out my thoughts! As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. In the land of Venisia, nobody is allowed to be seen without a mask covering most of their face. Evie’s job is that of a mask maker, and she and her father make masks together in their home studio. Right at the beginning of the story, it is announced that there is a serial murderer, the Chameleon, going around killing people, stealing their masks, and assuming their identities. Nobody knows who this person is, whether they are male or female, or how to stop them. All they know is that this person has a unique brand on their face, hidden under their mask. One night the Chameleon attacks Evie’s home, burns it down, kills her father, and steals his mask and all other masks in the studio. The Chameleon also brands Evie with the same unique symbol, marking her as the Chameleon. If anyone sees her mark, she will be punished and maybe even killed for the real Chameleon’s crimes. She must go into hiding and abandon her friends, in the hopes of finding the Chameleon herself and clearing her own name. She flees to the palace and poses as a serving girl. It’s a very exciting and unique premise!
2. Evie has one link to her former life, her best friend Aiden. He has always been a master at finding people, and shows up at her bedroom door one night overjoyed that she did not die with her father. He is a noble, and has the ability to pull some strings and make her life a little less unbearable. Of course, she is delighted to have him in her life again and looks forward to their nightly visits and self defense lessons. She confides in him about everything, except for the Chameleon’s brand hiding under her mask. I LOVED Aiden. He’s so suave and cocky and snarky and caring.
3. All things considered, Evie is a pretty strong heroine. Her father has been murdered, she has been branded a criminal by the Chameleon, so can’t trust anyone, she has lost her former life, and she is dealing with the daily verbal abuse from other palace workers. Yet, she keeps her head on straight. I really liked that, instead of rolling over and accepting what has been done to her, she is making it her life’s mission to bringing the correct person to justice.
4. There is a bit of romance, which develops from a very sweet friendship. I loved it.
5. While What is Hidden is marketed as being a Cinderella tale, I also saw some of The Scarlet Pimpernel in it! I can’t tell you why because it’s a bit spoilery, but I really liked the added mystery and intrigue. Nobody is who they say they are, and their masks make things even more mysterious.
6. In case you had not guessed, Venisia is TOTALLY Venice, Italy. I’m not sure whether it’s an old Venice, a new Venice, or a Venice removed from time completely. The language is very modern, though, so it would be hard to convince me that it’s historic Venice. There are canals and water taxis, though, and any book that takes me to Venice or a Venice-like place is welcome on my shelves.
7. The writing style is very descriptive and lovely. I loved reading about the scenery and the intricate masks and costumes.
8. I’m just a little unsatisfied with the ending… There’s some loose ends and no announcement of a sequel. And seriously, these ends could have been tied up with a paragraph or a short epilogue, so a second book is extremely unnecessary. I would have liked a little more closure.
All in all, What is Hidden was a fun, slightly suspenseful story that I highly enjoyed. I loved the friendship turned love story, the Venice-like setting, and the sweet characters. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for Lauren Skidmore’s future books.
This book is a 2014 debut