Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1)

Release Date: February 9, 2016
Authors: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Length: 352 pages
Source: eARC via NetGalley

Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent.

But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose.

The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.



Protagonist: Evelyn doesn't fit into proper Victorian Society, nor does she really want to, but her mother insists on dragging her to every ball and social event trying to finder her a husband. Evelyn shuns this and does whatever she can to foil her mother's insistence, but that becomes all but a small speck of a problem after her sister is abducted in the middle of the night. Now Evelyn runs off to London following a trail her sister left with only the witty and charming Mr. Kent as her company and help. I really enjoyed Evelyn's stubborn character; she's always up for adventure, even if it's dangerous. Over the course of the book she grows stronger and surer of herself as she searches vehemently for her sister.

Romance: So since this is a Swoon Reads title, I knew there was going to be plenty of romance, and while there is quite a bit of romance, it's not a main story line. There is a love triangle in this book and try as I might I cannot dislike either suitor. I mean, they both have plenty of faults and there are many times that I've switched allegiances, but when it comes down to it, I really enjoy both suitors and their chemistry with Evelyn, while different from each other, is done very well. I'm trying to decide if I have a preference but even though one suitor is your typical dark and brooding love interest, he's not as clichéd as all of that. The other love interest is more the witty, charming, always has a fun retort on the tip of his tongue, friendly type of character. 

World-Building: So all I really knew about this book going in was X-Men in a Victorian setting and I have to say in a lot of ways that hold up. There are strange mutant-like powers, manifesting in seemingly random individuals, and I found the explanations for these mutations really interesting. As the book continues we see more and more individuals with powers and see the full range of what some people are capable of. The other side of this world is Victorian Society, now while I always enjoy a book with societal sub-plots I also always find the rules and restrictions of what's proper and improper for a lady to do annoying. I mean, I know this takes place in the past where people were pretty much insane when it came to women's rights, but still, it can get really frustrating. 

Predictability: So this book had the perfect balance of predictable and unpredictable, and some of the less predictable stuff was done in a really cool way. So like, whenever something felt a bit off, or something felt too convenient, there would be an explanation that never felt like the authors were just trying to explain away a plot hole, it felt all very meticulously planned and was full of some phenomenal twists.

Ending: This ending was a wildfire; it was full of some fantastic action and spectacular tension. The final climax was so crazy there were so many times that I was really genuinely worried for some of the main characters, the ones that typically don't die in the first book. The very end of the book, the last chapter, really helps to set up where this series is headed and shows us where a lot of characters ended up after the final climax.



This book was spectacular! There were times when I had my reservations but as the book continued these authors found a way to turn me around on this story and make me love it to pieces! I can't wait to see where this series goes next!


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