Review Detail

Unique and entertaining
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
These Vicious Masks is everything I love in a novel and more. Victorian society, badass women, dashing heroes, a mystery that needs to be solved, and magic. How could I stop myself from reading a book with so many awesome elements? Short answer: I couldn’t. And I’m glad for it.

Evelyn Wyndham is bored with English society with its rules and expectations. She wants nothing more than to be able to travel the Continent and see the world, but her marriage-minded mother is concerned only with raising their position in society and determined to break Evelyn’s dispassionate and rude attitude. But when her beloved sister Rose mysteriously vanishes, Evelyn breaks societal convention and her parents’ rules, and travels to London to find her, along with the dashing Mr. Nicholas Kent. But they are not the only ones searching for Rose. The discourteous but handsome Sebastian Braddock is also after Rose, claiming that she and Evelyn have special healing powers. Evelyn believes Sebastian to be mad, but when she discovers that he is telling the truth and that there is a whole group of people with different powers, Evelyn realises that her sister is in terrible danger.

I expected to enjoy this book, but I was still surprised by how fun a reading experience it was. Shanker and Zekas work incredibly well together, so much so that I could not discern any disparities in the writing, such as if one author had a different style or if a character suddenly changed personalities. The writing was both in tune with Victorian sensibilities and flowed naturally, as well as quite beautifully. I was also astonished by how comical the book was too, particularly in the form of Evelyn and Mr. Kent. Both characters frequently had me in stitches, and there were several moments I had to put the book aside to have a laughing attack.

Each of the characters were fantastic and lovable. Within the first few pages of the novel, I was already falling for Evelyn. I love a well-written troublemaker who doesn’t stick to the status quo, and Evelyn’s snarky personality and wicked wit stole my heart almost immediately. I felt as though I connected quite strongly with Evelyn: she is bored with societal expectations and wants more from life, but her position in the almost-but-not-quite aristocratic world, and as a woman, means that she cannot move about freely in the world, nor have an opinion. I love that, despite the rules that threaten to keep her down, Evelyn puts all of that aside, including her reputation, for her sister.

One of my favourite characters was Mr. Kent. He acts as Evelyn’s sidekick and the comic relief, and it is almost impossible not to like him. It is obvious from the beginning that he is in love with Evelyn and I sorely wanted them to get together. But then we meet Mr. Braddock and I was suddenly torn. When we first meet Mr. Braddock, he is incredibly rude and disrespectful. For example, at a ball, a young lady pretends to faint so Mr. Braddock will catch her, and instead, he lets her fall. Each time he and Evelyn meet, they snap at one another and have screaming matches, but you can’t deny the chemistry between them. It’s real and tangible. Which led me to a startling discovery:

THERE IS A LOVE TRIANGLE.

I am not the biggest fan of the highly clichéd love triangle. Sometime, with a skilled writer, the love triangle can be pulled off with finesse, but more often than not – and especially in YA fiction – it comes across as stereotypical and childish. No matter how hard the author tries (and sometimes not hard at all) the reader can always pick up on the character the protagonist will end up with, despite the triangle. See: Firstlife by Gena Showalter, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. But the novel had impressed me so far, so I persevered, and I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me when I realised I was enjoying the love triangle. And I could not decide which of the two love interests I preferred!

That had never happened to me before. No matter what genre novel I am reading, if a love triangle is present, I always have a favourite love interest. In These Vicious Masks, I fell for both Mr. Kent and Mr. Braddock and can honestly see Evelyn marrying either gentlemen. (I wonder if Victorian society was ok with the ménage à trois? Probably not). Hopefully, the second book will help give me clarity.

The storyline was thoroughly impressive and each scene developed naturally from the previous one. I enjoyed Shanker and Zekas’ explanation of the powers, which was particularly unique. In many novels featuring some sort of version of magic, there are many instances where the magical elements are just there; they are never explained (See: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh). In These Vicious Masks, the powers are depicted as an advanced process of evolution, which is explained with considerable skill on the writers’ part. This was a refreshing take on magic and gave me almost X-Men vibes, which I enjoyed.

These Vicious Masks was an entertaining and fascinating novel that I struggled to put down. The characters were lively and individual, the plot fast-paced and interesting. I heartily recommend this book to all the fantasy lovers out there, especially those who like a sprinkle of history with their fantasy.
Good Points
Check out my blog and other reviews: thebookcorps.wordpress.com
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hop into the world of Peter Rabbit and his friends...
Solving for M
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and The Fourteenth Goldfish,...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes follows five...
My Fate According To The Butterfly
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Caldecott Honor Book An...
Sunny's Tow Truck Saves the Day!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a family car gets a flat on the way...
How to Be a Cat
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In cut-paper artist Nikki McClure’s latest picture book, a kitten...
TBH, IDK What's Next (TBH, #4)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Three BFFs set out to have the BEST SUMMER EVER...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on...
Five Little Pumpkins on Halloween Night
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join these happy pumpkins in a cheerful rhyming countdown, in...
Wreck: A Novel
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Set on the shores of Lake Superior, Wreck follows high...
The Madman of Piney Woods
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Benji and Red couldn't be more different. They aren't friends....
Wintercake
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This cozy, gently humorous, and irresistible holiday tale from Newbery...
Roar Like a Dandelion
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Ruth Krauss, the celebrated children’s book author of The...
The Bear and the Star
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
In this universal celebration of community and love, Bear gathers...
I Do Not Like That Name
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This funny picture book about friendship, family, identity, and why...

Latest Member Reviews

Truly Madly Royally
 
3.0
"I’d be lying if I didn’t say that half of the reason why I read this was because it’s a..."
 
3.3
"Esme feels alone. Her much-loved grandfather died, her dad deserted the family, her mom has mentally checked out, and her..."
House of Salt and Sorrows
 
4.3
"Annaleigh just wanted to be in charge of the lighthouse close to her island home. Rumors circulate on the island..."
Wreck: A Novel
 
4.3
"WRECK is a heart-wrenching story about a teenage girl on the brink of college as she discovers her father's life-altering..."
Reverie
 
5.0
"REVERIE is a captivating and unique YA fantasy without adequate comparisons. The book follows Kane, a teenage boy who was..."
Coral
 
3.0
"CORAL is not a fairytale retelling of THE LITTLE MERMAID- while it may have been inspired by some of the..."
You Are The Everything
 
4.0
"YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING is an intriguing stream-of-consciousness style read that follows Elyse Schmidt, a 16/17 year old girl who..."
The Last Hope
 
4.7
"I honestly don’t know where to begin! The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie picks up thirty days after..."
 
4.0
"Most books about a school shooting would start with the horrific event at the center of story, but EVERY MOMENT..."
The Bone Houses
 
5.0
"THE BONE HOUSES is a beautifully crafted and full engrossing YA fantasy with some horror aspects. Aderyn (Ryn) is a..."
The Silence Between Us
 
4.7
"THE SILENCE BETWEEN US is an #ownvoices story about Maya, a senior in high school who has just moved with..."
Beasts of the Frozen Sun
 
4.7
"BEASTS OF THE FROZEN SUN features lush world-building, compelling characters, and a captivating plot that make it an engrossing read...."
Snow & Rose
 
5.0
"NOTE: Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Where I End and You Begin
 
4.0
"All Ezra wants to do is ask his crush Imogen to the prom. But when he and his friend Holden..."
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
"When Edie moves back to Mansfield to life with her aunt, uncle, and two cousins, she is reunited with her..."
The Beholder
 
4.0
"When Selah's proposal to her childhood crush is rejected, she is sent away on a boat to meet possible suitors...."
The Burning Shadow (Origin Series, #2)
 
5.0
"THE BURNING SHADOW is a fantastic and thrilling continuation of the spin-off Origin series. Just like the original series, there..."
Gods of Jade and Shadow
 
4.7
"Eighteen-year-old Casiopea feels trapped in her rich grandfather’s home in southern Mexico. She wants to leave their small town and..."
 
3.0
"THE HIVE by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden is a YA sci-fi novel set in the near future. In this..."
Remember Me
 
3.7
"REMEMBER ME is an engaging mystery/thriller that goes back and forth through time. We follow Lea in the past when..."