REVIEW These Vicious Masks.

TITLE. These Vicious Masks
AUTHOR. Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
PUBLISHER. Swoon Reads
RELEASE DATE. February 9th 2016
PAGES. 321
GENRE. Historical, Fantasy, Young Adult

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.

This is the first part in the These Vicious Masks series, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out.. even though I have no idea when it will come. Hopefully soon, but I did see it is going to be a trilogy, hooray ^^

From the moment I saw the description of the book, Jane Austen meets X-Men set in Victorian London, I wanted to have this one. To me, this is a perfect mix. I love everything Jane Austen, and combining that with the X-Men is just amazing ! Totally fangirling over the combination haha. Unfortunately, it was not released yet. So I kept waiting, and when it came out I got it as soon as possible. 

I had some trouble with finding a new book that would stick to read after my last ones, Underwater and Illuminae. Sometimes when I read a good story it is harder to pick something new.. I try a couple ones, put them away again after a few pages, because I’m just not in the mood for anything. So after a few misses I remembered this one and decided to give it a try. 

It is always a guess if it will be a good one or not. Even though the summary sounded amazing, the writers could still mess it up. But, luckily this was not the case. I really LOVED and thoroughly ENJOYED reading this book. The story enthralled me from the beginning and I wanted to read more and more. And of course, I could not stop reading until I had finished it.. so I had quite the late night yesterday haha. 

I had also quite the surprise at the beginning of the story. I just started to relax and get in the zone, sipping from my cup of tea, when suddenly something came by I really did not expect (it was quite funny) and I sprayed my tea all over my screen ! Fortunately for me, I was alone at the moment haha XD But well, it made me like the book instantly, getting right over my mini reading block. 

So basically this story is about Evelyn traveling to London to find her sister. She disappeared and nobody else believes she is kidnapped because of her healing abilities. So, Evelyn will go herself and rescue her, to safe her sister and protect her reputation. Luckily she gets help from the charming and funny Mr. Kent, followed soon by Mr. Braddock as well. Of course, things do not go as planned and they seem to have no success in finding her. And not only that, but soon she finds out she has powers herself. Luckily they find some leads of her sister and end up on a wild chase all around London. But time is pressing when they find out some crazy doctor who wants to find the science behind their powers has her. And.. I don’t want to spoil more ^^

The story is set in Victorian England (London) and I love that time period. Women in beautiful dresses, going from one ball to the other, calling each other Miss and Mister.. It all seems so classy and pretty. Of course it wasn’t, and women were supressed a lot.. but nowadays everyone is so blunt and rude, I love how decent everyone was around that time, even though, below the surface, it was all fake. 

Because it all happened in this time period, you have multiple things to consider when writing it. It is not all fantasy, but it has to be accurate in some ways as well. Society’s standard was everything around that time and you have to put it in consideration with everything you do, and how that might reflect on your reputation, and the reputation of your family.
The writers did a pretty good job shaping that world, and I felt, well, like I was in the middle of a spectacular Jane Austen novel, surrounded with all kinds of crazy powers.

So about those powers.. I liked how they wanted to give it a logical explanation, trying to do research and making it more into a science. It does fit with the time period as well, because science was making big leaps. Though I would have preferred other methods.

So for the romance. It was there. She had two suitors so to say, and both of them have some really good qualities.. but I’m team Sebastian. I adore him much more, and well.. he needs her more than Mr. Kent. Even though Mr. Kent is quite funny and I just love his bashful attitude. I had some trouble in the beginning who I wanted her to end up with.. But after a while Sebastian really grew on me and at the ending of the book, it is still not really clear who she will end up with, but I had my preferences clear.. so hooray for that one.
But, before you think “Oh no not another useless love triangle completely ruining everything”, this is not the case. Yes there is some romance, some flirting, but it is not the main event of the plot. Even though she has some feelings for them it really is not the main focus of the book, and I for one am very happy about that.

So, of course I want to talk a little bit about the main characters as well. I loved Evelyn, our narrator and main focus of the book. For someone of her time she was very progressive and active. I loved that she wanted more out of life then just being someone’s wife. How, when her sisters disappeared, she did not doubt for one moment not to go out and find her sister back. How, even though she is a woman in a difficult time, she still went places she should not go and threw herself in the middle of fights. She really is an admirable person. Oh, and how I loved her bickering with Sebastian (Yes I want to call him Sebastian and not Mr. Braddock). The sparks and attraction flew around my ears and damn.. how I loved them together. Sebastian was kind of a tortured soul.. happens with someone of his background, but he really tried to help and I felt so sad for him (and Evelyn) at the ending.. 

I do know that it was written by two authors, but when reading this book, it all fell in harmony and I noticed nothing of it. They fit really well together.

“Good, for I can see my mother getting ready to arrange a dance with Mr. Braddock.”
“I see.” Something lit behind his eyes as they landed on Mr. Braddock, and I couldn’t tell if it was amusement or jealousy. “Would that be the fellow over there? He certainly seemed to have gathered quite a following.”
“Indeed, it is.” And Mr. Kent was right. It wasn’t just my mother and a few young women. Every mother in the county was eyeing him, fans fluttering and bosoms quivering. Simpering misses subtly pinched their cheeks and smoothed down their hair. How absurd.”
“Before I understood anything, a rough large hand brushed my chin, my face tipped upwards, and his mouth caught mine, and suddenly my entire body was on fire. Whatever odd sensation had thrummed between us before was just the stroke of a violin bow to this clash of an orchestra. I felt the world pass between our lips, tasting champagne, hunger, and something indefinably darker, while his hand ignited sparks down my cheeks to the nape of my neck. He wrapped an arm around my waist, pulling me closer, forcing that elusive essence to run deeper than my skin, deeper than my veins, until my very bones vibrated.”
“We do not remain the same each minute to the next. Every word you hear, every sight you see, every smell, every thought you have, every moment – it all changes you. We keep putting on mask after mask, layer over layers. That’s how one grows.”


I REALLY REALLY loved this book and the world they shaped around it. I love how action-packed this book was, so many things were happening and it was all really exciting. You just flew right through the pages, going from one event to the next, never really standing still.
At the moment I am totally bummed I have no idea when I can dive back into this world, because I miss it already. So, I would like to give this one *surprise* 5 Freyja’s, because it is worth all of them. And, if you are like me and love this time period and humans gaining powers, I would absolutely recommend this one to you. It is really worthwhile. If you would excuse me now, I’m going to watch Pride & Prejudice (for the hundred time) because it really made me ache for more !



  1. Fantastic review! I love the Victorian time period as well and this one looks sooooo good. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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