Author: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Raincoast Books
Summary: 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.
“But what if tonight, in my sheltered naïveté, I accept a proposal from a pitiless rogue who takes all my money and confines me to an attic?” (ARC pg. 2 → grabbed me on page 2…It was like Talis all over again!)
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion*
I’m so over the moon because of how many kick-ass female leads there are in books the last little while! These Vicious Masks was no exception. Along with an instant favourite as the female lead, the story kept me guessing, shocked me, and left me wanting a lot more at the end!
I’m going to start with Evelyn because I absolutely adore her. She is shamelessly true to herself, stubborn, and loyal to the point of recklessness (and even endangering herself). I love that she cares more about being able to see the world outside of what she has grown up in rather than worrying about which man she will marry and how much wealth her family can secure from that union. Marriage is a lovely thing…if that’s what you want. Evelyn has zero interest in that right now and as such chooses not to stress about it. Go after what you want, girl! She’s got some sass to her to, which I’m also a huge fan of. I’m pretty sure Evelyn has more bravery, strength, and will power in her little finger than I have in me in general.
Right from the very beginning, the reader is set to guessing. Incredibly strong men, people acting strange around Evelyn and her sister, tons of secrets, cryptic dreams…it’s all a recipe for keeping people on the edge of their seats. I’ve had a good record for the last little while with my predictions but every time I thought I had These Vicious Masks figured out things went haywire! There were many parts of the story that were so incredibly overwhelming (a lot of action/excitement in a very short span of time) and I was grateful to have the slower moments so that my poor, old heart could recover just a little bit.
I also adore how the powers manifested. I’m used to sparks flying, bright lights…basically any physical show of the powers you can imagine. In These Vicious Masks, however, things are a little more subtle. With most people you can’t even tell right away that they’re special; heck, they don’t even notice at first! It’s pretty cool and slightly nerve-wracking, I’d imagine, to think you could be standing next to someone just as unique and powerful as you and not know it. The magic was an important part of the story but it didn’t take it over. The swoony boys are still a big part; the friendships, the social commentary/criticisms, and the adventure of it all as well. It felt incredibly well-balanced.
I was a HUGE fan of this book. As soon as I finished, I raced to Goodreads to make sure there would be more! These Vicious Masks was my first Swoon Reads books and I can confidently say that it wont be my last. The book boyfriend material was abundant (by which I mean Mr. Kent and Sebastian were just so dreamy), the story was exciting, and the female lead was one tough lady!