Book Review: Night of Masks by Andre Norton

If you are a dietitian, doctor, insurance adjuster, mechanic, or most any occupation continuing education is critical to the performance of your profession. Authors, novelists, writers, and poets also require continuing education. That education, however does not come as a Grammar class (thought some could use one) or other formal seduction. Continuing education for an author consists of reading.

As part of my Writer’s Journey, I choose to read extensively both within my preferred genres and from both fiction and non-fiction. This keeps my writing fresh and teaches me how others did it.

Night of Masks

by Andre Norton (1964)

Grand Dame of Science Fiction Andre Norton created a complex universe for her Science Fiction and expanded them with each novel. The shared world that she uses with her stories is perhaps her strongest suit. Tightly written, the book contained no excess verbiage or unnecessary scenes. Night of Masks is one of Norton’s many Juvenile Science Fiction Novels. Her characters are sympathetic and relatable to her audience. Having read the novel as a teenager in the mid-1960s, it was like meeting someone I knew briefly a long time ago. It was better than my expectations because I am older and able to appreciate the world building aspects of her work. She writes clear, concise prose with no frills. It is not great literature, but it is appropriate. This book harkens back to a kinder and gentler age. At no point did she stoop to inappropriate. Night of Masks is not a book to change your life. It is entertainment and escape.  Falling within the subgenre of Space Opera, it is a bit dated. Modern tastes run to grittier and more realistic tastes. Her depiction of the “dipple” would be at home in any dystopia, but readers of Space Opera will find it mild. For me, the investment was a great value, both as a good story and from personal nostalgia. I recommend it to readers of science fiction and space opera.

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