Author: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Paranormal
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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.
I enjoyed this book very much. Evelyn's voice instantly won me over. She was quick, witty and had zero patience for the frivolities of the society her mother relentlessly forced on to her--which, yeah isn't the most indicative of the time period but who even cares, sign me up for fearless ladies in 19th century.
What I liked about These Vicious Masks was more the genre and general plot of the book than what actually happened. Paranormal historical fiction is a trend I definitely want more from. I didn't care enough for Rose. I couldn't connect to her enough at the start of the book, and then she's whisked away and I spent the better part of the book really struggling to feel anything more than bored, forced concern for her. I'm getting super tired of the angelic can-do-no-wrong sister who is set out to be rescued. Bleh.
(I've only just realized that even when I actually enjoy a book, any review I write inevitably starts off with me griping about all the things I disliked. Oh well.)
Evelyn was my favourite character of the book, closely followed by Camille (can we PLEASE have more of her in Book #2?). It's not just that she was witty, snappy and paid no heed to the dreadfully leery Mrs. Kent, but was incredibly kind and compassionate and never lost sight of what she set out to do. AND the way she banters around with Nicholas omg. This book is banter done quick, witty, and full of infuriatingly perfect sexual tension. Banter done right, in other ways. There is a love triangle, a very obvious one, and I actually didn't mind one bit. I didn't quite take to Kent as much as I did Nicholas, but I'm SO glad there's no obvious winner where one of the love interests is a boring flake. I'm team Sebastian all the way though because THAT ALCOVE KISS AND THAT FOREHEAD KISS ASDF
The weakest part of the book for me were the dreams Evelyn just happened to have so that the plot can move forward. Cheap plot devices feel pretty insulting to me because I feel like I'm supposed to go with it, when actually um NO? I will not roll with this dream that Evelyn had from some governess that we didn't even know existed until now. This is cheating. I want complexity and intricacy and more of a STORY than oh hello reader meet my governess who *info dump*
The plot moves along quickly and wonderfully, and I was pleased to see how action packed it was. I was actually so invested in the action that I didn't get annoyed by the stuff I talked about until I actually thought about it right now. The ending was SO good--I never thought the authors would go there but holy shit.
Definitely looking forward to book two, but the plot wasn't memorable enough (until the end), so whether I read it depends on what I remember.