3.5 stars. This is Briggs' first novel, which has been out of print for ages and ages but was recently reissued. She added an introduction that makes it pretty clear that she finds the novel kind of embarrassingly bad and agreed to the reissue because of fan demand and not because she actually thought the book deserved it. So I was kind of wary going in, especially since I'd read a couple of her other novels set in this world and found them kind of meh--I figured the very first would be even worse.So, considering my low expectations, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Masques. I didn't adore it, but it's a fun traditional fantasy. There isn't any playing with genre tropes or doing anything unique with her worldbuilding, but I'm a sucker for shapeshifters, and Briggs' characteristically strong characterization and clear, concise prose that keeps the plot moving is present even in this, her first novel. So if you enjoy straight up uncomplicated sword and sorcery with a dash of romance, this is worth the read.