These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas (2016)
YA Fiction | Historical Paranormal RomanceBlurb:
“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. ”
These Vicious Masks expected Publication Date: February 9, 2016.
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review and thank you to Kelly Zekas for sending me a physical ARC to keep!
These Vicious Masks is a poetically perfect title for a thrilling rush of a story filled with fantastic quips and silk ribbons of prose. Think Jane Austen infused with a delightfully immodest sprig of the paranormal.
All the rules of society had flown out the window with the rational rules of the world.
One of my favorite elements must indeed be the language itself. The language of this book is distinctly favoring of Austen’s own novels but with a lightness to the diction that placates the contemporary YA readers. Besides the beautifully flowing words my mind spirals in awe of the plot filled with both the dangerous and the flirtatiously mundane, as well as the most well-fitting character list that spurns all of these deeds forwards.
This book is told from Evelyn Wyndham’s first person POV filling the pages with a perfect balance of societal politeness, teenage angst, and a realm of fan shielded snickers. She lives in the world of 1800s England but she contains all the drive and gumption (and ridiculous self-sufficient stubbornness) of a modern day heroine. Sometimes her annoying insistences verge on the unbearable and yet it simultaneously wins her a great deal of admiration particularly considering her setting. So besides doing as she pleases with the ferocity of a bloodhound occasionally bristling the men in her lives with her determination to remain in the thick of things with only half a regard for her own safety she is really quite the spectacular character charming those same valiant suitors with her sarcasm and wit.
We don’t get to spend too much time getting to know darling Rose before she’s whisked away but young Laura demands much time refusing to let Evelyn forget to keep up her place in society. She’s just as perky, dramatic, clingy, but endearing as a cooped up fifteen year old might be expected to be and even so she remains a charmingly realistic block to the foundational cast. Oh and I quite agree with her excited suggestion to burn down Miss Verinder’s house (you’ll get to make her acquaintance as she pops up in the most inconvenient of times with her unwelcome repressed overall horrid unfortunateness).
These women acknowledge social graces and the time’s restrictions for women but they’ll still bite at the bit unwilling to settle down without a fight. It makes this book a delightfully “best of both worlds” read: the charming world of the beloved Jane Austen books but filled with the dark and dangerous of a good contemporary YA thriller.
Oh yes, the men. Well Mr. Kent, who commits himself to accompanying Evelyn on her search for her missing sister, is the type of person we’d all love to have as a best friend. He’s good-natured, perfectly timed, genuinely fun, and full of cracks that make you smile trying hopelessly not to laugh. Mr. Braddock is the irritatingly dark and brooding sort (something shamefully overdone which Evelyn is scathingly quick to point out) who, of course, pulls you in while a part of you claws to stay away. Both men posses different flaws but flaws nonetheless leaving us all wondering whom will win Evelyn’s affections in the end and more importantly, who will deserve them. Don’t give up on Mr. Kent and don’t underestimate Mr. Braddock.
This story dances on the cusp of high society with the grit of the London streets beneath its nails as it turns over every loose stone in search for a sister, a purpose, a madman, a relief from the heavy burden of guilt, and of course that elusive everlasting mystery love.
I highly recommend you add These Vicious Masks to your ‘to-read’ list and begin the simmer of excitement just to forgo the formalities and unleash a full on explosion of excited anticipation for the publication of this novel only to roll on the floor moaning in desperate need for more once you’ve thoroughly devoured its addictive fast-paced and cleverly worded tale.
Purchase here: These Vicious Masks
Read the rest of the series: These Ruthless Deeds (Book 2), These Vengeful Souls (Book 3)
Similar Recommended Reads! Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra, Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Meet Tarun Shanker!
Mild-mannered assistant by day, milder-mannered writer by night, Tarun Shanker is a New York University graduate currently living in Los Angeles. His idea of paradise is a place where kung-fu movies are projected on clouds, David Bowie’s music fills the air and chai tea flows freely from fountains.
Meet Kelly Zekas!
Kelly is a writer 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 adores a good historical romance.