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Queen of the Masquerade    by Tiffany Trent & Amanda M. Jenkins order for
Queen of the Masquerade
by Tiffany Trent
Order:  USA  Can
Mirrorstone, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

For lovers of Tiffany Trent's Hallowmere dark fantasy series, Queen of the Masquerade is not to be missed. Co-author Amanda M. Jenkins really know how to tell a good, haunting tale of deception and true love.

Christina has been thrown into a rath - similar to, yet older than, her native France - and knocked unconscious. When she comes to, she finds herself in the castle, Lemasque, with a Fey Duke and his family. She does not remember how she got there or why she came there; she does not even remember her own name. Stemming from her loud dreams of her past life as Brighde, the Duke, DeGlisse, names her Brigitte. Christina is blissfully happy at Lemasque, although some of their customs seem a little backward to her more modern sensibilities.

She soon learns that DeGlisse hopes that since she came into the rath, that means there is some way to unseal it, which will free his dying people. A prophesy in the forest tells of someone such as her, and DeGlisse believes that she is the one who can find the stone to open the rath.

On her search for the stone, Christina's memories start coming back to her, and she does not always like what she sees. However, she realizes that she was sent to Lemasque to find the rath stone, so she must continue in her quest. She meets a small, frog-like dragon who reveals the true nature of the inhabitants of Lemasque and Christina realizes that they are part of the Unhallowed. Now knowing that she can trust no one, she must find a way to leave the rath with the stone and her beloved Rory, the Unhallowed Prince's bound servant, with her.

Queen of the Masquerade is a real page-turner full of mystery, adventure, and romance. Jenkins has taken Trent's Christina and brought her to life in a way unseen in the previous Hallowmere books. Her flaws make her all too human, and her love for Rory is shown for what it is, not for what the other characters see it as. All of the characters are fully-realized, rich with pathos that makes Queen of the Masquerade a book easy to lose oneself in. The ending is a little different from previous books in the series, but that is also what makes this one stand out so much.

Tiffany Trent and Amanda M. Jenkins' Queen of the Masquerade can almost stand alone from the other Hallowmere books, so it is a book that dark fantasy fans could pick up without having read the previous books and understand about ninety percent of the storyline. However, be warned, once you read this, you will want to read the previous books in the series, and you will be hooked.

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