Review: Freedom of the Mask
Matthew Corbett is missing. Following the events in the 5th Matthew Corbett novel, THE RIVER OF SOULS (EBR Review), our favorite problem-solver finds himself without memories of who he really is. So begins the 6th Matthew Corbett novel, FREEDOM OF THE MASK (Amazon).
Robert McCammon is in top form in this meaty novel. Yes, you heard that right. Meaty. As much as I loved the prior novel in the series, I felt like it was a quick adventure meant to set up the next several books in the series. A transitional novel. It was an excellent read, but with this 6th novel I hoped we would get something closer in scope to SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD (EBR Review) and THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM (Amazon). Turns out, this is exactly what we got.
A majority of this novel takes place in London, and McCammon spends the time helping us get to know the city, and how it compares and contrasts against the Colonies. There is a wonderful level of detail here, but not so much that the pacing ever gets bogged down. This is perhaps one of (the many) greatest abilities in McCammon’s toolbox: his ability to keep the pacing flying forward, regardless of how much detail he adds. The goal of the story, and the goals of the various characters are never pushed to the side.
One of the aspects of this novel that I enjoyed most was the tone Matthew takes. I feel like we are back to seeing the eternally curious Matthew. It seems to be a product of his surroundings. The less familiar he is with where he is, the more he reverts back to a curious and investigative nature.
Of course, where would we be without Matthew’s nemesis, Professor Fell? Fell is a major player in FREEDOM OF THE MASK, and Matthew has never been in more danger. To say any more would spoil pretty much every plot point of the novel.
Perhaps the hardest part of reviewing this novel is not spoiling anything. Right from the very beginning, important plot points are revealed. We get cameos from characters in prior novels. We get foreshadowing of events to come. Everything is so interconnected that I can only speak in general terms for fear of giving too much away.
So here is what we do have in FREEDOM OF THE MASK:
- A larger novel? Check! Over 500 pages.
- Action? Check!
- New, fascinating side-characters? Check!
- A slowly unraveling mystery? Check!
- Moments of pure horror? Check!
- Historical wonder? Check!
FREEDOM OF THE MASK has every bit the adventure of the prior two novels, but also manages to incorporate more of the historical details and stylings of the first few novels. It is, simply put, and incredible novel.
If you are a fan of McCammon’s, and a fan of the Matthew Corbett novels like I am, then FREEDOM OF THE MASK will hit every single positive expectation you have. If you haven’t read any of the Matthew Corbett novels, you absolutely should. Begin with SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, then get ready to to read the rest of the series in quick order – you won’t be able to stop. For me, FREEDOM OF THE MASK is the best Corbett novel since the first two, and I can’t wait until book seven is out!
- Recommended Age: 17+
- Language: Some, and it's strong, but it really isn't that prevalent
- Violence: It's a McCammon novel. Of course it gets crazy violent
- Sex: None
Really, you should get this novel from Subterranean Press.
If you haven’t read this series yet, start with SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD.