21826482The second most recent installment of the Dragon Age novels, Masked Empire takes place entirely in the French inspired realm of Orlais and follows Empress Celene as she and her allies navigate The Game.  A complex things that all in nobility from the highest lord to the lowest servant play.  It involves looks, words, political and social machinations, really anything and everything that would serve to increase one’s wealth, social standing, and power.

So as one would suspect within such an environment, the Empress has to contend with much backstabbing and in this case a coup.  Empress Celene is faces with a rebellion lead by her cousin, and in the end aided by her elven lover who has grown bitter and disillusioned with the false smiles and empty promises of the court as well as the realization that her imperial lover ordered the death of her parents.

Talk about a love hate relationship…fun times in the grand Val Royeux, heart of Orlais.

Not much more to say.  This is all cloak and dagger, hidden enemies, political schemes, etc etc.  But overall a must read for those Dragon Age fans like myself, especially with Dragon Age Inquisition coming out soon…

Flipping back to the Mortal Instruments, we’re checking out City of Ashes next.

1582996Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.