Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review: The Silver Mask by Christian Ellingsen

The Silver Mask by Christian Ellingsen
Self-published, 2016
Ebook. 417 pages.

I don't read many fantasy books where the main plot is kicked off by a murder mystery, so I was very intrigued to pick up Christian Ellingsen's flintlock and alchemy fantasy novel The Silver Mask.

The first thing I want to mention about this book is how impressed I was with Ellingsen's worldbuilding. What particularly fascinated me was how carefully he shared the details about the world without ever giving too much information at one time. There aren't any excessive areas of info dumping, as Ellingsen instead shares just enough information at each necessary moment to keep the reader engaged and understand what is going on. I've read and enjoyed my fair share of fantasy novels that don't give everything away at the beginning of the story and instead leave the reader trying to piece things out for themselves, so I felt that this worked really well in that vein. As more and more of the world is unveiled, I was excited by how rich and detailed it was, leaving me fully immersed and wondering what would be a part of this world next.

Other aspects of the world-building that I particularly enjoyed were the cultural and religious components that really brought everything about the world together. Information regarding the gods and religion in this world were such a wonderful addition and really served to further expand the foundation of this book as well, and the best part was that everything felt so natural.

There are a lot different characters whose POVs we switch between, and I was glad to discover that, for the most part, each one was very distinct from the other and allowed me to easily decipher between one another. Rather than switching POVs between a single character at a time, Ellingsen splits up his chapters and features multiple character in each one, which made it hard to keep up at first, but eventually I fell into the story and didn't mind it as much. Having distinct characters is always important, but due to the style of this story, it was especially important here. I do want to note that there are truly a lot of different POVs at times, including some that don't last long and others that do, so just be ready for that if you decide to pick this book up.

Captain Marcus Fox and Sergeant Locke are two of the main characters we follow and proved to be a great pair of investigators. Fox's intelligence and dedication was apparent and well-executed, and I appreciated that he did seem to have caution regarding the various activities he undertook, as it showed some positive qualities in his character that allowed me to enjoy following him throughout the story. Much as Fox and Locke are investigating the murder from their side, Dr. Elizabeth Reid is also conducting her own investigation of the murder until her and Fox decide to begin investigating together. The interactions between the main characters were always entertaining and I enjoyed how Ellingsen executed the various relationship dynamics.

The political components of this story are strong, and it's safe to say that this book focuses much more on the politics than it does on other elements. Personally, I'm all for some politics-heavy fantasy as long as its written in a lively and engaging manner, and I found that The Silver Mask excelled in this area. I thought the divide between the upper and lower classes was also really well written and another fascinating aspect to explore.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Silver Mask and would recommend it to any fantasy fan, particularly those who enjoy a bit of politics in their stories. Four stars!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received a copy of The Silver Mask courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This book was part of TBRindr. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

You might also like:


  1. I love when an author is able to do some really good worldbuilding without resorting to info dumping!

  2. Looks like an interesting story. thanks for the review!

  3. This looks really interesting! I might have to read it.