Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas


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Tarun Shaker’s Website  –  Kelly Zekas’ Website

Published: 14 March 2017

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Category: Young Adult/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…

Rating: 3 Stars

One thing that I’ve noticed with trilogies is that second books tend to disappoint me. They might not be terrible books, but after an excellent first run, they lack the energy and surprise of the first book. These Ruthless Deeds seems to have escaped this trend and for that I’m thankful.

In the late 1800’s, Evelyn is fresh of a sad ending and struggling to find her footing. This is when a new opportunity is presented to her in the form of the Society of Aberrations, a group that seems to be the answer to a whole host of problems for a young woman of her station in that time period. However, nothing is ever as good as it seems, as Evelyn quickly finds out.

The book started out with a dilemma and threw Evelyn right into trouble. These problems that she confronts highlights what is to like and to dislike about Evelyn. She’s a smart girl with a sarcastic wit, but sometimes she’s impulsive and that comes back to bite her. Her methodology for planning isn’t the worst I’ve seen, nor is it the best. She’s easy to understand and luckily it doesn’t turn into my hating her for being completely stupid, which is one of the biggest problems I have with heroines (sheer idiocy with no plausible source).

The variety of powers continued to remind me, as others have mentioned, of a Victorian era X-men. Watching these abilities interact in an era where it’s more difficult to hide them was interesting because while in modern day time you might be able to pass certain things off as street magic, abilities like telekinesis will land you in an insane asylum. I’m not sure if you know much about asylums in general, but the ones of the Victorian era and up until modern times were pretty awful.

Another thing that pleased me about this book, aside from the continuing quality, was that I found the pacing to be superior in this book than its predecessor These Vicious Masks. That book took a bit of doing to get into, whereas reading These Ruthless Deeds went by like no time at all.

If you’re looking for a fast read, one that has magical elements, historical settings, and a good dash of romantic intrigue, I hope you’ll continue with the These Vicious Masks trilogy. If you’ve yet to start it, here’s to starting a new series that already has two books out so you won’t have to wait to get more material to gobble up.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

3 thoughts on “Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

  1. I’ve heard from several bloggers that this book just did not quite live up to the first. I haven’t read the first one yet or this one, so I don’t have an opinion myself, but I agree completely that it’s hard to find a book two that is as good as a book one. Have you read the Blackhearts series? I think in that case, the second book is actually even better than the first, and that’s rare. I do love Victorian era books, so I’m still intrigued by this series, but I’m not sure if I’ll get to it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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