Thursday, March 17, 2016

These Vicious Masks

Author: Tarun Shanker
Info: Swoon Reads, copyright 2016, 320 pages

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 feared.

~Goodreads Description

Not quite sure "Jane Austen meets X-Men" really works.  That's not quite the vibe I got with this particular story.  Well...maybe a little.  There are people with special powers being chased by someone that wants to abuse said powers.  But there's not a whole lot of development of the powers themselves, more a focus on the mystery of the kidnapped sister.  And there's a bit of pride and a little prejudice, but I wouldn't have picked out either connection on my own.

Evelyn is feisty.  She's not a huge fan of the confines of society, boring balls, and tedious conversations with gentleman who aren't actually interested in listening to her at all.  But she's also extremely stubborn and a little too eager to dive head long into danger.  Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I like my feisty females to be a little more thoughtful and strategic with their actions.

But she's desperate.  Her sister is missing and, as the plot unfolds, she realizes that she could be in mortal danger.  The story is fast-paced and filled with action as Evelyn and her allies move through London discovering more about the powers they posses.

My one pet peeve - there's only one scene with masks.  The title is taken from a conversation that happens briefly, and while I like the argument that people wear figurative masks for each person and situation they meet, it never really worked with this cast of characters and storyline.

Worth a read, but I'm not quite sure I'll continue.  We'll see how long Evelyn sticks with me and if I find myself thinking about her perils as I read this year. (the sign of an excellent book).

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