These Vicious Masks

These Vicious Masks

Book - 2016
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In 1882 England when her beloved sister Rose vanishes, Evelyn, bored with society and its expectations, embarks on a search for Rose, encountering the reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock, who is also looking for Rose and claiming that both sisters have special healing powers.
Publisher: New York : Swoon Reads, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250073891
Branch Call Number: YAPB SHANKER, TARUN
Characteristics: 298 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Zekas, Kelly - Author


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samcmar Jul 04, 2016

When I heard the pitch for These Vicious Masks, it just sounded too ridiculous to be true. Jane Austen meets X-Men? What kind of crack is that? While I went into this with rather low expectations, I can't get over how much fun this book was on a whole.

First off, let me talk to you about how awesome and badass the heroines, Evelyn and Rose. Despite all their hardships, these two women really know how to stand up for themselves and show how strong and capable they are. I also loved how they respond to their abilities, how they try to rationalize the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with them. The writers did a fantastic job making them characters that you can not only root for, but who are actually fun and engaging to read about.

I admit, I'm not a big romance person, but I even found the romance in this novel pretty good. It didn't over power the way I was worried it would, considering a lot of young adult romance novels are very cliché in its approach to romance. A lot of the time I generally don't like the romance itself or the characters, but here I found it worked very well.

In a lot of ways the book does a great job of taking the reader by the hand and whisking them into this weird pseudo-Western, steampunkish novel. The world building is great, it's vivid, and then there's the ending. Lord, that ending is really good. If I have any complaints about this book, it's that sometimes I found the writing hard to get into, so it felt like a roller coaster for me writing wise, moving up and down in terms of my enjoyment. While I liked the characters, the story had its moments for me where it dragged in spots.

Overall, These Vicious Masks reads like delicious ridiculous candy. Sometimes you just want a book that grabs at your attention and does it in a way that is just plain fun. This book is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy supernatural abilities and kick ass heroines.

multcolib_susannel Apr 02, 2016

Snappy dialogue and remarkable heroines make this story of intrigue and secret abilities a fun read.

Feb 29, 2016

I had a general feeling of pointlessness after reading this book. The heroes are odd, the love triangle frustrating, and the heroine both cynical and terribly naive. Additionally, it seems oddly put together with random side characters that don't lift the story, making it seem wasteful. Something like talking a lot, but not saying much.

Feb 18, 2016

Well, I love Jane Austen and I love The X-Men, so you can imagine that the first tag line hooked me before this book was even released. And it did not disappoint!

This story is fun and well-paced, more akin to X-Men in detail than any Jane Austen, although it also takes place in Victorian England (I know, I know, Austen was Regency- but the female protagonist is very much Over Society's B.S., living in the country, with shades of Lizzie Benet).

This plot has action, romance, character growth, consequences, and some very funny moments. There's a love triangle, but definitely no 'easy out' of it (not for the character, and not for the reader, as both men are morally grey and wonderful in their own ways). There are also a lot of secondary characters, which you know I adore.

If you enjoy historical fiction, witty characters, believable romance, fantastical scenarios juxtaposed with harsh human-nature reality, and action/adventure romps, you should definitely read this one. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

PimaLib_JessicaP Feb 01, 2016

Were there mutants in Victorian England? Of course there were! Nobody said Professor X and his crew were the earliest gifted! The Misses Wyndham, snarkster supreme, Evelyn, and sweet, slightly underdeveloped, Rose, share the lucky gift of making people well. When Rose suspiciously runs off to London, Evelyn goes after her. With the help of some other fascinating characters, she sets off on a chase that brings an underworld to light in a London that is, in all ways but one, very real and familiar.

The greatest thing about These Vicious Masks is Evelyn. Everything else is great, too, but without her this story would be near to nothing. Evelyn is smart, snarky, and oft decisive enough (too decisive?) for everyone involved, while still being young and headstrong enough to make mistakes. The supporting characters are gifted in their own ways, and the chase is compelling in a way that feels neither cut-and-dry nor bogged-down. The story is left open without ending on the ever-popular cliffhanger, which gives it even more points in my book. And I look forward to more of this universe.

But it’s the writing that really keeps you going. I love a good story that is rich with detail but also written in a way that makes it quick and fun! The characters are well developed (with the exception of Rose, in my opinion, but that might just be because we get to see so little of her compared to the others), and conversations and situations all feel like something that could happen in their time period, down to the pseudo-science. Barbs are volleyed amongst several different parties, and the snark is not limited to Evelyn’s core gifted group. Instead, intrigue is countered with very run-of-the-mill London Society, including clueless witticisms from jealous society misses and clueless gentlemen and lords, to boot.

In other words, this novel warmed my historical romance-reading, comics-loving heart to its core.

Please let there be more.

(Originally published on Women Write About Comics, January 12, 2016)


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Apr 11, 2017

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