In a land of masquerades and mystery, Evie is a mask maker in Venesia, where masks represent rank and identity. When a cryptic bandit strips away Evie’s mask and destroys her home, she goes into hiding at the palace to find both a new identity—and revenge. Fantasy lovers will be caught up by the mystique, romance, and magic of "What Is Hidden."
I have a background history with this book that I should probably disclose in the interest of, um, full disclosure. I met Lauren during our freshman year of college in 2004. We became friends and blog-buddies. She wrote Hidden one year for NaNoWriMo and I beta read it for her waaay back then. I loved it instantly. It was so great. She cleaned it up some, and then spent the next few years trying to get it published. I watched her and banged my head against the wall every time she got a rejection.
Last year, I got an editing internship with Cedar Fort Publishing. The instant I got the internship, Lauren's named flashed like a giant neon sign in my head. I strong-armed her into submitting it, and less than two weeks later, Cedar Fort had decided they had to get their hands on her novel. Darn straight, Cedar Fort.
So yeah, I am biased. But believe me when I say that this book deserves my bias. Lauren worked her butt off on it, and it showed. The story is impeccable. It's so refreshing and unique - like a fairy tale, but not a re-working of one. (At least, not the way I saw it.) The characters are AWESOME. Holy crap, I love Evie. I love her snark and her awesomeness and her everything.
And let's talk about my most favorite love - the world. Venesia sounds AMAZING and I want to live there. Well, kind of. I can't decide if I would have an awesome mask or a totally lame one. Probably lame. Sigh. But yeah, I would totally visit Venesia if it were a real place. And I would buy a commemorative "VENESIAN VACATION 2014" mask for the occasion.
The pacing moves along very well and there are a few slow parts, but they are not overly slow and the novel picks right back up. It feels very tightly woven to me too, which is a great thing.
All in all, Lauren is a fantastic authoress and I will definitely be stalking her for her next novel.
Oh, and as an aside, if you're looking to buy this book as a gift, DO IT! My two 17 year old sisters loved it and made their friends (males included) read it too. Everyone I know who has read this book was a fan. It's clean, it's fun, it's awesome. Win win all around. Check back here next week, when Bekah and I will be having a giveaway of TWO signed copies of What Is Hidden!