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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review - These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: These Vicious Masks
(These Vicious Masks #1)
Author: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Category/Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads

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. 

Buy Links: Amazon
3.5 “X-Men in Victorian Era” Stars

After waiting forever to read this, I got an ARC for the second book, so I ended up reading These Vicious Masks and These Ruthless Deeds in a matter of days.  Reading them that way helped a lot because the story was still fresh in my head, and I was still connected with the characters and the beautiful world these two authors created.

Yeah, Tarum Shanker and Kelly Zekas did a wonderful job with world building. I could see the dark streets, the beautiful dresses, the people acting shock at the smallest of “improper” behaviors, and, obviously, the display of power.

As a huge fan of everything X-Men, I’d been dying to read this series for over a year. Humans with powers to heal, destroy, control the weather, move objects, walk through walls, regenerate? COUNT ME IN. Every single time! So I can easily say I loved every part of that. I was eager to get to know new characters because I wanted to see what they could do and how they’d contribute to the already great group of characters. Even powers I didn’t think would be that cool to have turned out to be extremely important to the story. Well done, guys. Well done.

But, for me (as always), this first book was about the three main characters and their journey.

The MC is Evelyn, a uber sarcastic girl who’s bored with society and all the rules her mother tries to make her follow. She can’t wait to get out there and discover what the world has to offer, but since this is 1882, a girl getting out there is simply not done. Besides irritating her mother, Evelyn’s favorite pastime is working with his sister as a nurse. Her mother obviously disapproves, which I bet makes her even more excited about the whole thing. Evelyn’s sister, Rose, seems to be the one doing all the healing, but Evelyn is always there helping her. They have a strong bond and a loving relationship that I wish I saw more in YA.

Then Rose goes missing and that’s when the action kicks in. Evelyn goes to London to try and find her with the help of two guys: Mr. Kent (my favorite character in this whole series) and Mr. Braddock (a brooding, Mr. Darcy-like character).

Look, I liked Mr. Braddock enough in this first book. I was even intrigued by him and swooned a little every time he interacted with Evelyn. The whole drama involving their powers and how they weren't "compatible", plus how they started out as enemies had its appeal. But then Mr. Kent would come in and that feeling would fade because, DUDE, I liked Mr. Kent way too much to share my love with anyone else.

Mr. Kent was hilarious and sarcastic and the chemistry between him and Evelyn was just too great to ignore. I absolutely loved their banters.

“My, my, it’s a surprise to see Mr. Braddock here,” Mr. Kent said, a hint of acrimony lacing his voice. “Yes, it is.” He leaned in confidentially. “Perhaps he’s come to apologize. Or maybe that also needs to be done in his bedroom.”
I strained to keep a whisper. “You know very well why I was in his bedroom! He was injured, and I needed to check on him.” 
“No one is going to make an exception for that where your reputation is concerned.” 
“I had other concerns at the time.” 
He put his hand on his chest. “I’m feeling quite injured myself. Perhaps we might—” 
“Mr. Kent! This is not an appropriate place for that kind of talk!” 
“Very well,” he said. “If you wish to speak about it somewhere much more inappropriate, just say the word.

But I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this book was heavy on romance. It wasn’t. The love triangle was there and there was kissing, but the focus here was Evelyn’s search for her sister.

Evelyn’s love for Rose was the real driving force here. She risked so much in order to find her sister, making it impossible not to root for her. I liked Evelyn a lot. I enjoyed her passionate she was, but how realistic she tried to be despite having to deal with superpowers and all the crazy stuff that came her way. It also helped that she was just as sarcastic as Mr. Kent.

Mr. Kent also brought something else I loved to the story: his sister and his butler. Laura was hilarious and Tuffins warmed my heart. Then we got two gifts in the end with Laura's diary and Tuffin's notes. Don't skip the end, guys. You'll regret it. 

There were some twists and turns, especially toward the end, and I can definitely say I didn’t see that ending coming. It was tragic and it broke my heart. It also did its job, because it left me wanting more.

Overall, this was a great introduction to this new world these authors created. It didn't take my breath away, as I thought it would, but Mr. Kent made it all worth it for me.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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