ARC Book Review: These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published Date: March 2017
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Series: These Vicious Masks #2
My Source: Netgalley
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

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…

My Review

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and now I have and it’s an ARC review after the release date. Better late than never, right? I’m sorry, but I was really in a book slump (life slump) these last couple of months. Hopefully things will get better, but they’ll only get better if I get started on something, right?

Anywho, the sequel to These Vicious Masks. I remember really liking the first book and calling it a “X-Men meets Pride and Prejudice.” If you want to read the full review for the first in this trilogy, follow the link riiiiight here, but as a quick review, the characters were great, the plot was engaging, the powers and how they worked were very nice. It was an overall great read. Here, I will warn that if you haven’t read the first book, I may spoil things for you. I won’t spoil anything for These Ruthless Deeds, but there is the potential of me talking about the twists and surprises from These Vicious Masks, especially one in particular.

These Ruthless Deeds shares some of the aspects of the first book, but not all. With the characters, I’m sad to say that I started to dislike Evelyn almost partway through, and I absolutely loved her before. She became a little annoying when trying to convince the others of her ideas, but without any real proof. She gets a bit repetitive and requires others to “save” her, which was the opposite of how she was in the first book. Mr. Braddock and Mr. Kent…Well, in my opinion we don’t get a lot of development on Mr. Braddock in this book, so I don’t have much to say about him. There was tons on Mr. Kent and I’m happy to say my love for him has grown tenfold. There is a lot of interactions between Mr. Kent and Evelyn, and Mr. Kent and other members of the society. He’s still witty and how he uses his ability is spectacular. He is a favorite of mine.

With the sequel came a lot of new characters, and this is where things go a little downhill for me. I feel like there were too many characters and it became a tad hard to keep track at the beginning. As you continue reading, some of those characters are dropped off and the others are focused on so we have a good core group to work with, but These Ruthless Deeds does work with a lot more characters than its predecessor. Some of the new ones I liked, for example Oliver was a good character. I wished we learned more about him and Emily, but with some many pages you can’t get to everyone.

And now for the plot: The beginning was hard. It seemed to drag and maybe it was because I was being bombarded with new characters with new powers so I was trying to remember everyone. Still, I had a really hard time and that’s one of the reasons it took me so long to get through this book. I enjoyed the plot of the first one a lot more than the one in the sequel. Things were happening but at the same time it felt like nothing was happening, and I don’t know how that…well, happened! The big climax of the story doesn’t happen until you’re 80ish% into the book and then everything explodes before you eyes.

That ending though. I saw a number of reviewers who were happy with how this ends, but I guess I’m in the minority. I felt like it was a fast and easy way to fix any plot holes they may have in the future. I also thought it was shocking how they could do something so drastic. I felt kind of disappointed because it essentially took away a lot of things I had been liking about the series. I’m almost disappointed enough to not read the last book when it releases, but maybe after some time away from These Ruthless Deeds, I’ll understand the need for the ending more.

Giving a rating for this is tough. After going back and forth on this, and knowing how much I liked the first one, I’ll say this:

2.5 STARS ~ More okay moments than struggle moments. However, I’d still recommend to those who really really like the first book.

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