Stephanie Burgis' Masks and Shadows
Don't let the general description of "historical fantasy" fool you--Burgis' latest is a major departure from her adorable Kat Incorrigible series--which is not at all a bad thing. In her first novel for adults, Burgis explores the political scene of the 18th century--the story is set at the palace of Prince Esterhazy in Hungary, where some nefarious elements are plotting against the Hapsburg dynasty. It's also a kind of sweet, occasionally overwrought love story between a young widowed Baroness who loves music and the castrato who's come to visit and entertain (I will say that some of the descriptions of the castrato felt a little bit weird/othering). There also some interesting debate about class, not to mention some creepy supernatural elements! And Haydn is there, composing an opera! Things move along quickly and in general this is an entertaining sort of story--and one that feels different than a lot of the other books I've read lately. I especially appreciated the historical details and atmosphere--that was definitely very well done. I maybe wanted a little bit more character development though? B+.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in April.