I was fortunate to get an ARC of THESE VICIOUS MASKS, by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, in exchange for an honest review. To be honest, I have wanted to read this book since the first time I heard of it pitched as Jane Austen meets X-Men (though it probably should have been more Oscar Wilde meets X-Men, since the late Victorian era is not quite Austen's Regency era--but that's just quibbling. In any case, I adore Oscar Wilde almost as much as Jane Austen).
Evelyn and Rose Wyndham are gently bred young women--but there's nothing typical about them. Between Rose's insistence on healing the neighborhood, and Evelyn's obvious disdain for social events, their mother is about to toss her hands up in despair. When Rose disappears mysteriously, Evelyn believes she's been kidnapped, but her parents refuse to believe her. So Evelyn does what any good sister would: she follows Rose to London, societal conventions be damned. There, she has the help of a witty young gentleman named Nick, and is plagued by a mysterious and brooding Sebastian, who also seems to be searching for Rose--and worse, insisting that Rose has some absurd kind of power. As Evelyn's search leads her deeper into the underbelly of London, she discovers that things are much darker--and more dangerous--than she could have believed.
This book hit so many of my reader buttons: strong-willed and indomitable heroine, mysterious powers, high (and low) society, banter (oh, the banter is quite excellent!), wild escapes, and more. Evelyn is a remarkable heroine, and the plot twists consistently surprised me. And the ending nearly slayed me.
My only complaint is that there wasn't enough--I am devoutly hoping this book has a sequel!