Monday, December 5, 2016

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Summary from Goodreads:
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’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. November has been a crazy/kind of awful/kind of not so awful month for me. And when I ran off to CA for a family emergency, some part of my brain remembered I liked traveling with paperbacks. So, I took this one with me hoping for a bit of distraction. Unfortunately, it did not hold me enough for a distraction, at least in the beginning. I ended up watching kids movies for the whole plane ride.
The beginning kind of read like all other books in this genre. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that this same main character exists so many times in historical fiction. The Elizabeth Bennett, ahead of her time, too smart for society character is becoming so cliché for me. When she turns up, I need her to have some distinguishing characteristic that separates her from all the others, and unfortunately, this one didn’t really have that. That being said, the book did pick up, a lot, long past the time I needed it to though.
It’s not the book’s fault that I was not in a good reading mood. I ended up liking the book overall, despite its slow/cliché beginning. When it became more supernatural, I quickly came to enjoy it more. It needed that little something different to make it…well a little something different.
I found the mystery a lot of fun, though never too surprising. I liked the witty dialog between Evelyn and her two suitors. I loved the balls, the theater, the disguises, the secret powers, and the idea for what the bad guy was after. I loved that the main character loved her sister and her freedom more than she cared for anything else.
Nothing was that new here though. And I hate making comparisons, but I couldn’t help but comparing this book to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink, and thinking the other books got it a lot better. Weirdly, they both have “angel” in the title, and angels are only kind of involved in one of them. Regardless, I was hoping for a little more uniqueness. Even the bad guy felt like someone I had met before.
All in all, this was a fun, easy read. There was nothing that really stood out too much for me. I enjoyed reading it, but I can easily see forgetting about it soon. The characters were all very familiar. Granted, I have not been in the best mood for reading lately. I give it a 7/10.


  1. I know a lot of friends' reviews' reflected similar issues that you mentioned here so it might not just be because you weren't in the right mood for it! I hope things are ok with your family ♥

  2. Ah yes, that old trope. Sometimes that character works for me and sometimes it just doesn't. Sorry this one was kind of "meh" for you. Here's to a better month than the last!