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293 pages, Paperback
First published March 14, 2017
"Mr. Kent never hid his worse qualities. He wore them like badges."
Mr. Kent raised his brows. "What are they asking?"
"For me to heal a little girl."
"My God, the brutes, the monsters," he mocked.
Mr. Kent nodded soberly. “I do. Before I met you, I went to brothels, gambling halls, scandalous music halls, all sorts of indecent places.”
“And let me guess, ever since you met me, you’ve changed?”
He shook his head. “No, I just want to do these indecent things with you.”
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
This book was such a roller coaster of emotions! From cold to warm, from happy to bitter, from laughter to tears. The authors definitely know how to manipulate readers' emotions. Evil geniuses. Love them!
Before I start the actual review, here's recap of These Vicious Masks, book 1 in case you've forgotten something from the previous installment. Kelly Zekas has written it and it's such a fun to remember the book with her!
The plot. These Ruthless Deeds start right after book's 1 ending. After devastating events that took place previously Evelyn and her friends are looking for gifted people and consequently find themselves mixed up with the Society of Aberrations devoted to recruiting the said gifted people. Evelyn doesn't trust this organization, because it was the reason she lost someone close to her. But her friends are sure that what happened was a terrible mistake and Society is actually good. Plus they have means to help cure Mr. Sebastian Braddock from his terrible gift, so Ev says yes and starts working with them.
Well, to say the storyline was smooth or utterly original would be a lie. First 20% or so I was bored with explanations and introductions into the Society. It was rather disappointing, really, how quickly everyone else agreed to work for these mysterious people. Granted, Mr. Kent "interrogated" them with the help of his special gift, but it still felt like such omnipotent organization would surely take more pains to cover their sins if they had any? But after 20% the real action started. Mixed with humor and adorable banters between Evelyn, Mr. Kent and Mr. Braddock, and the cast of amazing secondary characters, I totally forgot about the plot holes. A couple of twists later the pacing picked up even more and the book turned into one delightful roller coaster. Granted, this series is not the kind to take seriously. It can be preposterous at times; the way young women act in the book did not display real Victorian England era, but somehow all the light and silly things make this story very charming and I couldn't find it in me to admonish the authors for sloppiness regarding some things. Plus as I said this book is a mix of laughter and tears. And when you almost convinced this is a light read authors go and kick you in the butt, reminding you that things can be ruthless and sad and, well, you need to read the book to find out just how serious the contrast between light and dark is.
The characters. I believe characters are the soul of this series what really makes it alive and readers to twist in their sits in worry for them. Every one of the characters - main ones and secondary ones - feel complex and you cannot help yourself but sympathize with them. Evelyn was and stays one of my favorite heroines. There wasn't a time, not once, I felt irritated by her. In this installment I admired her even more, because we were shown her ruthless side she didn't have in book 1. Choices must be made, sacrifices must be delivered. What would you do to save the ones you love? Who would you become?
“I was tired of rewriting my opinion of the Society. I was tired of wondering what Rose would wish me to do. I was tired of constantly wondering if I had made the right choice, if I even had a choice, or if I was being manipulated at every turn.”
But not even at the darkest hour Evelyn looses her spirit. Besides, I cannot not admire a girl who judges a person's character by their choice of food:
“And then I noticed the small cake that still sat uneaten next to him. And another in front of his mother. That was the last straw. I fully disliked them. How dare they leave perfectly good cake untouched?”
I agree wholeheartedly, only evil people would let a perfectly fine cake go to waste!
Mr. Kent is the star of this book. If my heart already wasn't given to Mr. Braddock, I'd definitely swoon over Kent. I mean I did swoon, and, to be honest, Kent's character resembles someone I would go for in real life, because brooding only works in books. And Mr. Kent was, as always, a first rate provider of humor and fun in this book. He is such a darling!
“Why are you here?” he asked, staring around me at Mr. Kent.
Mr. Kent laughed uncomfortably. “Why does anyone go to a gambling house?”
“To gamble,” Sebastian answered.
“To find information for our plan,” I muttered, Mr. Kent’s power inadvertently affecting me as well.
“What plan?” Sebastian asked.
I glared at Mr. Kent. “Nothing, nothing at all.”
“No one seems to understand what a rhetorical question is these days,” Mr. Kent said to the skies.”
Mr. 'brooding' Braddock, Byronic figure one cannot help but fall for. Sometimes it felt almost ridiculous how brooding Sebastian was, but then you remembered that his touch kind of kills people and you understand the whole brooding thing doesn't feel theatrical any longer, it feels tragic, the kind where you want to throw yourself at the world and protect the poor cinnamon roll from everything. Yes, I am quite a goner for damaged heroes, and it was inevitable for me to fall for Sebastian from the first moment he showed up in book 1. Plus. he's kind of Mr. Darcy's prototype, so who could blame me for favoritism?!
“It was a strange feeling, to want to throw something at him and protect him from dangerous flying objects at the same time.”
Now is the moment where I get really serious and say that, honestly, what Sebastian went through in his life is plain unfair. But no matter what he never turned into a hard callous person, he stayed a caring young man if only a tad bit more brooding, but we have already established that we are partial brooding.
“This awful power … it should have turned you bitter and angry and cruel. But despite everything it’s done to you, you’re still kind; you care about others more than yourself. You’re good, Sebastian. You do the right thing as instinctively as I say the wrong thing. You make me better—you make everyone better.”
The romance. Let's take a minute to applaud the authors for not turning this series into one angsty love-triangle. It's official now, there's no love-triangle in this series. From book 1 it is known whom the heroine preferred as her romantic interest and things stay that way in book 2. And who said that if there's two handsome men there's also should be a love-triangle? Yes, there's one side that still suffers, because he had feeling for the heroine, but I, once more, admired him for being decent and noble and not turning into a bitter villain because the girl said no.
As you know I was always team Braddock, and once again Evelyn and Sebastian's shared scenes proved to be swoon-worthy. Such chemistry!!
“Finally our eyes held each other.
Don’t kiss him.
“I was worried,” he said, slowly pulling himself off the bed frame, leaning forward. His face was so close to mine in the quiet morning. My heart faltered once before catching a new rhythm, faster than before. Sebastian’s dark hair had never looked so careless and my fingers itched to return to the inky strands. His eyes were the softest mossy green, and I was sure that all his usual awkward reserve had melted in this strange dawn. When I realized that his eyes were glued to my lips, I instinctively parted them, sucking in a fast breath.
Don’t you dare kiss him, Evelyn.
He was so close I could have counted the strands of gold that gleamed in the green of his eyes. I could have shifted forward one breath and his lips would be on mine. I was dizzy, lost in the world that existed here between us.”
“How did you get in?”
He glowered at me and blushed in the early light. “It’s—it’s unimportant.”
“Please, please tell me you didn’t scale the walls and climb in through my window.”
He glared harder.
“If you don’t wish me to think of you as some kind of tragic Gothic figure, you really must stop acting like one.”
No, Ev, let him stay tragic Gothic figure. It's so much fun!
And there was this one scene on the bridge that totally broke my heart, because it was one of the most beautiful and saddest scenes ever. I'll put it under the spoiler tag in case you want to experience it for the first time in the book, trust me, it's worth waiting, don't mind me, seductress of unsuspecting readers *smiles slyly*
And Mr. Kent is a charmer as always.
“I know I should not take such liberties with an unmarried woman.…”
“Especially when you’ve alluded to your indecent past.”
Mr. Kent nodded soberly. “I have. Before I met you, I went to brothels, gambling halls, scandalous music halls, all sorts of indecent places.”
“And let me guess, ever since you met me, you’ve changed?”
He shook his head. “No, I just want to do these indecent things with you.”
...and provider of funny awkward moments:
“Was anyone unclothed?” Mr. Kent said sarcastically, clearly not expecting an affirmative answer.
“A bit,” my uncooperative mouth responded and I tried to cover it with a yelp. This was absurd. Both of them were absurd, tonight was absurd, and I was, assuredly, absurd.”
Hehe, give me more of such absurd moments, dear Mr. Kent.
The finale. Oh dear, what can I say... When you are relaxed and do not expect surprises they, of course, will nock on your door. Hello, dear reader, did you miss us? Now get your portion of heartbreak and tears and don't think of moving on for a week or two. This is why I called the authors evil geniuses. They know how to created a killer cliffhanger and leave you hanging like a dummy with your mouth opened and your heart on the asphalt crushed and stomped on by a herd of wild unicorns. Yeah, we all love these creatures.
All in all, These Ruthless Deeds proved to be an amazing sequel to one of the best books of 2016. If you haven't started the series yet, what are you still doing here? Run, reader, run! If you haven't started this book yet, come closer I'll give you a gently kick in the direction of the book. And, please, someone read the book already and discuss it with me, because I am kind of dying here, drowning in my misery. I'll need a good talk and a dozen of pretty cakes to bring me back to life after this book *makes puppy eyes*.
Well when the Society finds THEM and offers them a place among them Evelyn agrees...VERY hesitantly and with very good reason if you remember in These Vicious Masks...? Well if you haven't had a chance to read it then you should. Especially if you're reading this review and haven't read it yet. Go. NOW!
These Ruthless Deeds is fast-paced and more action-packed than These Vicious Masks was. It's intriguing as we meet many new characters; members of the Society and even new members of Evelyn's rich society, due to the fact that now Evelyn's parents are back in town and still very much intent on marrying her off! BOO! As Evelyn and a few of her friends try to determine who is at the head of the Society, while trying to keep themselves and their loved ones alive was brilliance. I found myself grasping my Ipad with tension waiting for someone to be severly injured. Or captured. Or, even killed. While wondering who to trust and who couldn't be trusted.
I really love the era chosen for this story, *sigh* I LOVE this time period of fashion, balls, mannerisms and marrying each other off.
I continued to really like Evelyn. She's strong and spirited and I like that in my female characters. She has backbone and she's pretty much independent which I love as well. She's smart, kind but wary and still wants to please and do what's best for her family. I enjoyed watching her character development and felt it was well paced with regards to everything going on around her.
I love the male characters in these books! Mr. Kent to Mr. Braddock. Now I've seen such a tie between which team people prefer to cheer for and I'm on the Mr. Braddock team. I like the dark broody trope. So sue me!
Overall I was very pleased and happy with how this story is continuing and I'm very happy and dying with that ending! doesn't make that much sense but it will! AH!
Sexual Content: mild
*A HUGE thank you to Swoon Reads and Netgalley for the ARC which I got in exchange for an honest review.*
6 out of 10
— These Vicious Masks (Эти порочные маски) #1/3
— These Ruthless Deeds (Эти безжалостные деяния) #2/3
— These Vengeful Souls (Эти мстительные души) #3/3
“I would do terrible things for the ones I love, Miss Wyndham.”
Mr. Kent never hid his worse qualities.
He wore them like badges.
“Why, Miss Wyndham,” Mr. Kent replied, looking as chaste and good as a debutante at her presentation to the Queen. “I think we can all agree it’s fair to punish these guilty people feigning innocence every day of their lives, all while helping a wrongfully accused innocent. I would certainly never ask you, but I suspect you agree.”
“You cannot simply blackmail people into liking me!”
Another portal crackled open. “Good God, where are we, the sun?” Mr. Kent shouted.
"No,” our whole group answered in unison.
He shot me an apologetic look. “That one was meant to be rhetorical.”
There was a distinct difference to Sebastian’s kindness. It wasn’t a selfish sort, like mine or Mr. Kent’s, which favored the people we liked. His was all-encompassing, without reservation, a kindness that made me want to be better and find a way to make the Society the place he believed it was and wanted it to be.
#1) These Vicious Masks ★★★☆☆
"Now sir, I don't want to force you. Only if you wouldn't mind sharing--what are your cards?""A king and a five," the man said, red-faced and very frustrated with his slip."How generous of you to say. I will take another card, please," Mr. Kent said to the croupier.He smiled upon receiving his third card and when all the cards were overturned, he was declared the winner again. His winnings doubled.
I liked the first book but I LOVED This one. We get all our favorite characters from the first book back for new adventures, plus a lot of new characters. Some you will hate others you will love, but they all add to the plot and they made this world feel so large.
So many things happen in this book! After this book I feel like the authors can write a lot of books in this series. They set up a lot plot lines that I feel cannot be solved in three books. I am so excited to see where this goes.
Now that ending!!! I have read so many cruel endings but this one.... oh this ending was just savage! I really want the next book now! give it to me!!