by Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker
Series: These Vicious Masks #2
Published on March 14, 2017 by Swoon Reads
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
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...
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Oh this sequel could have been SO GOOD. SO so good. If (and it’s a bit IF) the authors hadn’t done what they did. Talk about a struggle.
These Ruthless Deeds picks up a bit after These Vicious Masks. Evelyn decided to fall in with the “X-Men” of this world, a character is missing, a character comes back, and all of it was predictable and not terribly interesting. This book has a serious case of second book syndrome. A lot of things happened but at the same time, the story didn’t really move anywhere.
Evelyn started getting on my nerves, bouncing back and forth between the two gentleman love interests as well as pretty much every decision she faced. I felt like her entire decision to join the Society of Aberrations (this world’s “X-Men” organization) existed to fill space and give the characters something to do. They spent far too much time running around looking for people with the plot twist that you know is coming waiting patiently near the end of the book. And it would have been a HUGE twist. . . if it hadn’t been so easy to predict first.
So while Evelyn and her new “friends” are running around looking for other people with powers (because that’s all they really do for most of the book), they’re searching for one particular character: Sebastian. I’m conflicted because there was a chance These Ruthless Deeds would succumb to a love triangle and it didn’t (so YAY!) but also the way the romance was handled, how Sebastian hardly played a role despite being a major player before, and the dynamic of the Evelyn-Kent-Sebastian relationship. . . it all seemed quite a mess.
But honestly, what really frustrated me was how a particular character was dealt with in their return from the dead. First off, why did they come back? I feel like this book was just a filler to get the characters to that particular point before the story continued in the third installment. Because nothing really happened with them. The characters spent the whole first book trying to find this character (trying to at least avoid a name because of spoilers here). Then this book, you think that character is done but NOPE. And it didn’t feel natural to the story. It was meant as a twist, sure, but I didn’t understand why it existed in the first place.
I will say that despite the story falling completely flat, the writing was still great, and the book moves along quickly. I had hoped to see an improvement from These Vicious Masks which didn’t happen, but I have some hope that the third book will do the series justice. There are some great concepts here that I would love to see developed and expanded on, rather than forced for the sake of tension. A bit disappointing for me.