Friday, March 10, 2017

Review -
These Vicious Masks

These Vicious Masks 
Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Series: These Vicious Masks, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: GoodReads

Evelyn was a girl who wanted to see the world, but she was oppressed by the obligations of society life. When her sister disappeared, Evelyn journeyed to London to rescue her. While seeking her sister, Evelyn found that there was a lot more beneath the surface of the world, herself, and the powers she possessed.

I kept seeing this book described as "Jane Austen meets X-Men". I was intrigued by this, and I was not at all disappointed by the book. These Vicious Masks combines the aspects of the society life in Victorian England with magic. The talents endowed upon some of the characters are quite varied and include: charming, healing, life force draining, portal creation, clairvoyance, and super strength. I found the talents reminded me a little bit of the show, Hereos, but it had a fresh spin, since this story was set in Victorian times.

I don't know what it is about the Victorian time period, but I always find the characters so delightful. (i.e. any Gail Carriger book) There is something about their formalities that never fails to make me smile. I also find that books set in that era, at least the one's I have read, are flush with witty banter. I absolutely adored the banter and snark in this book, and found myself continuously grinning while reading.

Evelyn was a fantastic heroine. She was so spunky and fierce. She didn't give up, even when it looked like she should. She made mistakes, but she learned from them. She was independent, but accepted help when necessary. There was just so much to love about her.

And who does she love? The authors set up a little love triangle for us. There is her very good friend, Mr. Kent, who is clearly taken by Evelyn. And then, there is Mr. Braddock, the dark and brooding hero with a multitude of secrets. I will admit, I totally shipped Evelyn and Braddock. There was something special between the two of them, and I really want them to get together. I adored the teasing and the banter between these two and the running jokes about him being a byronesque hero were quite fun.
Do you want to pull out your copy of She Walks in Beauty and spend the next hour acting moody?
But Kent is able to win my heart at times too. He's a traditional rake, so suave and charming, but Evelyn is so good at handling him.
I can't tell if you are joking, Mr. Kent
I'm not. In fact, I've been so sincere lately that I wouldn't be surprised if my name has magically changed to Frank.
I found the story fast paced, with new and important elements being introduced throughout. Going from the countryside to London, from society events to secret lairs. There was something to be found around every corner. The ending was quite tragic. I didn't know how to deal with all the losses, but knowing there was a sequel kept my anxiety in check.

Overall: a fun and exciting trip through Victorian England with a paranormal twist.

These Ruthless Deeds 
Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Series: These Vicious Masks, #
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, GoodReads

This story starts with a daring rescue and had my blood pumping from the very beginning. We had a learned a that the Society of Aberrations existed in the last book, and here we are immersed into their world, as Evelyn tries to deduce if they are good or bad.

This book was not a typical second book (I am assuming from that ending this will be a trilogy). Many times you read a series and the second books drag, because its real purpose is to link book 1 and book 3. Absolutely, without a doubt, not the case with These Ruthless Deeds. This book brought me deeper into the magical world, and had several extremely surprising plot twists that have me wanting

There was a lot of action in the beginning of the book, and the authors bring us right into one of the major plot lines and some excellent new characters. However, something was missing, and that something was Braddock. I really missed Sebastian, and reiterated the sentiment expressed by Evelyn:
Many people complained that book 1 did not have much of a swoon factor. Well, let me tell you why. It's because it was all saved up for this book. There is lots of swoony talk and lots of kissing! Upon Braddock's return, the love triangle really ramps up. It was quite fun when the three were together, and the men were obviously competing for Evelyn's affections. Kent's rake factor was turned all the way to its maximum setting. He was dropping fun and flirty lines left and right.
"Any time is the time to flirt with you," he murmured. A slow smile. 

"Before I met you, I went to brothels, gambling halls, scandalous music halls, all sorts of indecent places."
"And let me guess, ever since you met me, you've changed?"
He shook his head. "No, I just want to do these indecent things with you."
The jokes about Braddock and his moods also continued:
If you don't wish me to think of you as some kind of tragic Gothic figure, you really must stop acting like one. 

I shook my head slightly and he seemed to brood harder, if such a thing were possible.
Comparing this to book 1 I would say it was just more. There was more action, more details regarding the society and it's "members", more romance, more surprises, and definitely more heartbreak. I thought I was heartbroken at the end of the last book, but this ending is devastating.

Overall: An engaging tale of magic, mystery, and mayhem, which is fraught with romance, humor, and camaraderie. That story and that ending left me yearning for the next book.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and Swoon Reads for the advanced copy of this book

Have you read or do you plan to read this series?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. These Vicious Masks sounds pretty interesting. I'm still torn on whether or not I should read it. Glad to see that overall you enjoyed it. :)

    1. It was fun and I love the time period. It was a nice change of pace for me, since I read a lot of contemporaries.

  2. I've been meaning to read this series and have both as eARCs. I'm thinking I need to wait until the next book to read though if it's totally heartbreaking at the end...

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

    1. It was quite the cliffy, but I am hoping they pull an HEA out for me.

  3. Yeah, this is a trilogy. I'm actually disappointed in this series because I thought it was going to be much more action-packed than it actually is. And I hate love triangles (so you can be sure that I was happy to see the triangle disappear in These Ruthless Deeds). Dude! The ending of These Ruthless Deeds! What the heck!? I didn't really like the book, but I can't wait to read book three. :D Wonderful reviews, Sam!

    Have a fabulous week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I am not a fan of the love geometry either, yet it crops up all the time. The ending was quite rude! but will make me read the last book. Thanks for all your kind words. =)