Masks by E.C. Blake
This derivative white bread fantasy is from the multi-penname sporting author of ‘Marseguro’ and ‘Magebane’. In the medieval stasis land of Aygrima, magic is a Gift. The gibbering psychopath Autarch rules and inexplicably lurking rebels have unwillingness to actually rebel. As part of the conspicuously failed world building every citizen must wear a mask from age 15. Mara Holdfast, the daughter of the Master Maskmaker, goes to her Masking which fails. The simpleton Mara is seen has having committed some indictable offence and suffers ostracisation.
Mara is too stupid to have a character arc as she falls in with the singularly unhelpful rebels and their non-violent ideology while retro-con dialogue is uttered. The depravity and lack of psychological insight of the Autarch is laid bare and Mara realises her perception of the truth is completely distorted. This deteriorated from an okay start. It has two sequels ’Shadows’ and ’Faces’ which I won’t bother with.
“There seemed to be a strange loss of will, a flattening of personality.”
“The magekings and witchqueens of old. They have names: The Beast of Barak’kum. Bloody Britha. Atul The Slaughterer. Ancient names that have inspired terror for centuries.”