Mini Reviews: These Vicious Masks & The Forbidden Wish

Authors: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Page Length: 352 Pages
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: ARC via publisher (thanks!)
Goodreads | Amazon
Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.
I'm usually skeptical about pitches and often disappointed by them, but These Vicious Masks definitely portrays the best elements of both stories. The protagonist, Evelyn, is reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennet with extra sides of disregard for society expectations and recklessness to entertain readers. We have the brooding Darcy named Mr. Braddock and an equally dashing and witty young friend (Wickham potentially?) Mr. Kent. What I especially love about this novel is how everyone has a theoretical mask. Everyone is hiding behind some facade which allows for deep character exploration and shocking truths and betrayals. This book engaged me from the start with a mystery and plot that grew thicker. I loved the paranormal incorporation and thought the authors did a wonderful job making the element unique. Although the writing was quite good, the pacing was a bit off in places and some of the events were just too convenient for my taste. I also felt this book was missing some swoon, I would've liked a bit more romance since this imprint is known for it. To end on a high note, the witty banter refreshes readers, and there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments to give readers a good time. I enjoyed the ending and will definitely stay tuned for book 2!

Author: Jessica Khoury
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Page Length: 352 Pages
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC via publisher (thanks!)
Goodreads | Amazon
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
This is a book I wish I could read for the first time again and again. The writing is addictive, the romance is subtle and smooth, the jinni aspects are captivating, the story is great, and it is a fitting retelling of Aladdin. I didn't expect this one to be as great as it was, and I'm happy to say I've found a book that gives me The Wrath and The Dawn vibes!

Zahra is one of the most powerful jinnis and a curse has confined her to a lamp where she must slave herself to the wishes of humans. Given a chance at freedom by the omnipotent King of Jinn, Zahra must walk a narrow, complex line and decide if she has the heart to trick her latest master who she's starting to fall for in order to gain her greatest wish, freedom, or if that wish has changed to something more. Something like love...

Both Zahra and Aladdin were such complex characters, and I really liked how they grew in this book. Aladdin and Zahra were such engaging characters, and I love their chemistry. Even from the beginning there seemed to be an invisible, intoxicating string binding these two together. Every smile, every glance, every scowl edged them closer and closer together. The romance was smooth and subtle and completely adorable. I love their banter and all the cute things they say around one another. This forbidden romance is definitely a slow-burn, and I really loved every second of it.

This book is definitely influenced by Aladdin, yet it takes liberties and changes things to make it unique. The jinn world was so richly described, and I love the culture infused in the story. The writing was addictive, and I was impressed by the plotting. The beginning is a bit slower yet still engaging, and it picks up quickly. There's plenty of action, romance, deception, court politics, humor, and more to please readers.

Sacrifice, friendship, and love are integral parts of this story, and I love all that Jessica imparts to readers through those themes. The ending was sweet and perfect and leaves readers wanting more. I completely adored this book, and I'll definitely buy a finished copy!

Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.

11 comments:

  1. I wasn't exactly fond of The Forbidden Wish. It's a gorgeous book, but Aladdin is a little ick to me. I can't wait for These Vicious Masks, though & I'm glad to hear you mostly loved it! Fun mini reviews!

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  2. Great reviews :-) I've seen these two books around, but have been a little wary, as they're not what I usually like to read. Your reviews have made me more interested, however, so I will keep an eye out for the books at the library.

    Katie @ ShelfishlyAddicted

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  3. Great reviews!! I can't wait to read both of these. They both sure do sound excellent.

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  4. Both of these sounds fabulous. The Forbidden Wish is one I'm really looking forward to. I keep seeing These Vicious Masks, but still unsure if it's a book I'll enjoy. Great reviews :)

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  5. Great reviews, Rachel! Your review for The Forbidden Wish makes me even more excited to read it. :)

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  6. Oh man. You have me SO excited for The Forbidden Wish! I definitely can't wait to dive into that one! Yay for great chemistry!

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  7. Both of these look so good & I've heard so many good things about both. Thanks for the great review!

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  8. Wrath and The Dawn vibes?! SIGN ME UPP! I've never read a book with jinns, but Forbidden Wish seems like a good place to start! These Vicious Masks also seems pretty good, but I'm not sure if I'd really like it or not. It just doesn't seem like my cup of tea. The covers for both of these are also really nice in my opinion, I love the colors on both of them. Great reviews Rachel! :)

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  9. Ooo I honestly didn't have high hopes for The Forbidden Wish (I guess because I haven't read a djinn/jinni story I've liked). Complex characters are my jam so this REALLY excites me!

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  10. I'm so excited to read both of these! I have them on preorder and can't wait until they arrive eeep! :) And a book with The Wrath & The Dawn vibes? Sign me up! I just finished Rebel of the Sands, which was really good - it reminded me of TW&TD but with more adventure!

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  11. Fantastic reviews, Rachel! I want to read The Forbidden Wish even more now after reading your review - it sounds excellent! :)

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