Hello everyone! Before today's review I wanted to quickly mention that my giveaway for a SIGNED copy of The Rose Society by Marie Lu is coming to a close and ends tomorrow (the 29th) so don't forget to get your entries in here. That said today I am reviewing a book I received as a digital ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The book is, These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas and it is out February 9th. I was first interested in this book because of the cover, come on it has a masquerade mask on it and I LOVE them. I have a minor collection of them myself! So that drew me in and the title combined I wanted to know more and was thrilled to be granted a copy for early review.
These Vicious Masks is pitched as Jane Austen meets X-men in a paranormal romance adventure in Victorian London. We follow Evelyn who isn't really interested in society and it's rules but instead wishes to travel. Her sister Rose, vanishes one night under mysterious circumstances and against the wishes of her family she travels to London to find her. She is accompanied by her good friend Mr. Kent but along the way realize the reclusive Mr. Braddock is as well, though he spins tales that they have healing powers. She soon learns the man is not as insane as she thought as she discovers a new world around her full of people with extraordinary gifts, which means her sister is in even more danger than she thought.
I admit to never having read an Austen book myself but I do really enjoy the movies and I love the X-men so I think it seems like a fit. I also felt like there was a bit of a Holmes vibe as well as the search for her sister played out as well. I did enjoy Evelyn, and not just because of her name. Evelyn is very candid with her dislike for the way of things much rather wanting to go travel and see the world than try to find a husband and be a perfect wife. She and her sister started nursing, but only as a hobby as it was "unseemly" to have a true profession despite her sisters complete love of it. I loved the bond between sisters. Their bond was very clear from the start and the way they talked together it brought that bond out which was a real asset to the story as Evelyn goes in search of her.
The other main characters, our two male leads as it were, Mr. Kent and Mr. Braddock were delightful. From the start I enjoyed the friendship between Evelyn and Mr. Kent and I could see the possibility for more there. More I enjoyed the way they acted around one another with such free banter allowing Evelyn to be herself. Then you add in the mysterious and stand-offish Mr. Braddock. He does not make the best impression several times over and seems a bit insane but he does help her not only in her search but in understanding her powers and getting to know him bit by hard won bit was fascinating and he shared a connection with Evelyn. Yes while there was some romantic prospects about the story was more focused on the adventure and mystery of it all. Finding Rose. Finding her and discovering what it is the man who took her wants and how to stop him.
These Vicious Masks was a thrilling tale and I didn't want to put it down when I started. I wanted to know what would happen next not only in the search but between the characters and their adventures. Oh and let us not forget trying to do all of this and not ruin any reputations in polite society. I would not have survived in that era, because frankly I'm of the mind that I don't care what anyone thinks of me, I do me and you do you. But I will admit the way for which people talked back then (from my limited knowledge of books and movies) was portrayed in a way that always makes me smile! Just the right amount plus our modern and stubborn female ahead of her times. The story was full of plot on its own but the powers added that extra push to make it awesome. I thought they were pretty well thought out powers and I loved the diversity in them and how some were great while others were more of a curse, not all gumdrops.
Overall I really enjoyed the story and I can't wait for more. It had its moments of predictability but also some twists you don't see coming keeping it nice and fresh. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this story in the comments below. I have already read it but have also pre-ordered myself a physical copy to have on my shelf! Are you excited for this book to come out next month, what part intrigues you most? Already read it, what did you think? Let's discuss below!
Until next time…