THESE VICIOUS MASKS by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
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.
Title: THESE VICIOUS MASKS
Authors:Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
So I really enjoyed this one. I love anything that resembles Jane Austen because Jane Austen is my homegirl (I wonder how she would feel about being called that). And I mean my phone case has a picture of Kitty Pryde on it so I think we all know that I love the X-Men. And that is what really sold me to even try this one out was the tagline that it is Jane Austen meets X-Men. And it does deliver on that front. But there is something almost missing from this one for me.
I loved that Evelyn hated society and that her friend Laura unapologetically loved it. I thought it was nice to see both sides of the spectrum and I am glad that Evelyn never faulted Laura for her love of society or wanting to properly fit in. Evelyn had her reservations about it but she didn't project that onto Laura and let her make her own decisions, even if she didn't necessarily agree with them. I also really liked that the prose didn't constantly remind you that they were in Victorian London. There were some things overtly stated to set the location and time period (like discussing women being unaccompanied, etc.) but this didn't detract from the story. I find that a lot of YA historical fiction try to "remind" you that you are in a different time period but I didn't have that issue with this one.
I also liked our two love interests. I am NOT a fan of the Mr. Darcy trope but I do think that Sebastian was well written. I think my problem with the bit at 60%-70% was that it was Sebastian's friends telling Evelyn to just give him a chance and I wasn't chill with that. Evelyn should be able to form her own opinion of Sebastian based on the information he has provided and he never once tried to explain himself to her. Like, PSA to all men out there: just be honest. That's good enough. I loved Nick though. He was unabashedly himself and while he did some questionable things, he was at least honest about them.
I liked the plot a lot too. I thought it made logical sense: people would obviously want to test these people with extraordinary abilities and see what makes them tick. I just would have liked a bit more action in the front half and less society in the second. I think that up until about 60% it had really good pacing but then there was a lull and I found it a bit difficult to get back into the swing of things at the end. But overall, it was extremely well written.
I think this is going to be a big one. I think there is so much good in this one that there will even be a sequel (nudge, nudge, let's get one of those please). I ALSO LOVED THAT THE LAST CHARACTER INTRODUCED HAS KITTY'S POWERS. That's the shit I was in here for. Anyway, I hadn't preordered this one but am getting on that right meow.