Title: These Vicious Masks
Author: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Series: These Vicious Masks, #1
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: February 9th 2016
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas is a fun debut novel with amusing characters and an interesting premise. Evelyn Wyndham’s life is dictated by the expectations of society and her unrelenting mother bent on seeing her married off well. Evelyn wants no part of this plan as she’s always longed for something more out of life. For her, marriage feels more like a cage, and this is an unbearable thought for someone who wishes to travel the world. Rose, Evelyn’s younger sister, also has her own ambitions. Together the girls have served the sick throughout their region, and Rose’s secret ambition is to become a doctor, something their mother and society would not support. When Rose disappears after an encounter with a mysterious man, leaving a strange note behind, no one but Evelyn seems to understand that her sister is in danger. Evelyn’s willingness to break convention and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in society is a testament of her character and shows the strength of sisterly love.
I did hope to see more of Evelyn’s sister Rose as she spends most of the novel missing. I thought her desire to become a doctor would have been an interesting issue to explore during the Victorian era. The world-building with regards to society and its expectations felt very cliché in this novel, several female characters were either presented as silly or overly ambitious when it came to eligible bachelors. Predictably, only Evelyn seemed to defy the convention, which did little to make any other female characters well-rounded. Mr. Kent, a good friend to the Wyndham girls, accompanies Evelyn on her search for her sister. While I did find his one-on-one conversations with Evelyn very amusing at times, he did not feel like a very complex character. Sebastian Braddock immediately caught my attention for his awkward manners. We learn more about him and his rather tragic past as the story progresses. I confess I felt more for him than any other character in the novel.
While These Vicious Mask wasn’t exactly what I expected when I heard it was a cross between Jane Austen and the X-Men, it was an enjoyable read that had me laughing and managed to surprise me with its ending.