by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker
February 9, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/B&N/or Amazon
Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t make her want to live up to society’s expectations. She’d much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in becoming the world’s first female doctor. But everything changes the night she meets Sebastian Braddock – not only is the reclusive lord both vexing and surprisingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad, and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Evelyn wakes up to discover that Rose has disappeared, she immediately suspects Sebastian.
But then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true, and that Rose’s kidnappers have worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…
For some reason, I, originally, was not that sure I wanted to read These Vicious Masks. I say that only because if you are thinking the same thing? Read it. Even if you weren't thinking anything of the sort: read it.
Really, how can a book where one of the dedications is to Buffy be bad? (It can't, can it?)
I loved Evelyn and her sister Rose right from their introduction. Evelyn's desire not to go to a ball, her contemplation of whether or not she could jump from the carriage along with Rose's pragmatic seeming but still wonderfully sarcastic responses were perfect. Evelyn's snark and the way she was quite contrary to, well, just about everything really worked.
The affection between Rose and Evelyn - despite their differing personalities - is evident from the beginning. As are their differences with their mother. The events surrounding Rose's disappearance and Evelyn's decision to find her were dramatic, but also very fitting of the characters and what they felt was at stake.
The inclusion of people with 'special powers' really makes things a whole new level of fun. They are different than superhero type books usually feature and I really enjoyed how those powers, who has them, who may have them, who wants to know who has them, and what they are played into things. More than that, though, I enjoyed that the characters, their interactions and relationships were so strong apart from the 'powers.'
Evelyn was my favorite character but all of the other characters with how they interact with her, what they say and do, what they cause her to think about and the conclusions they lead her to are key.
It's great how the 'powers' complicated some things for them, logistically and with how they felt about each other, or wanted to feel about each other but weren't what the one thing the book hinged on. If you had taken away that element, it still would have been good. (Maybe nonsensical, but good.)
Though the desire to find-slash-rescue her sister is Evelyn's key motivator, there is a great balance between that detective work, her attempts to figure out how she feels about the young men in her life and her questions over where she fits in the world. This is a good mystery, with strong supernatural elements and fantastic characters. I need Book 2 asap.
Dreaded balls, fancy dresses, possible brothels, mad scientists, awesome younger sisters, evil step-mothers, brilliant sister-sister relationships, fights, powers, danger and maybe some romance, These Vicious Masks has it all.
(Really? I just love, love this book, its characters, the writing, the wit, the snark, the special powers, absolutely all of it. Please read this book.)
Other Books You May Also Enjoy: Jackaby by William Ritter and the Lovegrove Legacy #1 & #2 by Alyxandra Harvey
About the Authors:
Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.
Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.
-ends Feb 21