Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
Masque of the Red Death was all kinds of awesome. Mostly because of the atmosphere. Bethany Griffin brought creepy to a whole new level. I don't know about you, but those are the kinds of books that really make me shiver. I don't really get scared by gore, blood, and guts. But when the fear becomes psychological and messes with my brain, that's when I keep my eyes open at night, unable to fall asleep because I am creeped out and can't stop thinking about what I just read. This book was like that for me.
I liked it a lot. I really did. The story was fantastic and so were the characters. More on that later. But. I wish the dystopian world had had more details. I realize that it was based off of a Poe short story, but still. I wanted to know how the masks worked and how the contagion happened. How Prince Prospero came to be in charge and all of that. The background information was lacking. It's the same issue I had with Divergent and Underneath the Never Sky. Both great reads, but lacking in background details. Part of the importance of a dystopia is knowing how the world got to be the way it is. So that's why I knocked a star off.
As for everything else, I pretty much loved it. This was almost a 5 star read for me. It was so close it was ridiculous. The writing was beautiful. The entire book was full of lines I could have quoted. But I didn't. Not because I was lazy, but because I want YOU to read it and discover them for yourself. The imagery was so vivid. That added to the creep factor for sure. It was easy to place myself right in the steam carriage next to Araby and picture the men in the shadows just waiting to attack her. Or the plague victims just waiting to infect her. Gross, but awesome at the same time.
The l-l-l-l-love triangle. Yeah, there was a stinking love triangle. I can honestly tell you that it was one of the less annoying love triangles I have read about though. I actually enjoyed it. To a point. I'm still sick of love triangles, but I really loved the characters in this book, so it really pulled me in and I didn't know who to root for. At the beginning it was Will. But now I am firmly team Elliot. And I'm not giving details. But I can tell you that both guys are worth rooting for. There is no insta-love here. And Araby was an easy protagonist to root for. Her heart was huge, she was a fighter, and I love how devoted she was to her friends and family. When you like all the characters, the overused tropes are not so annoying.
This book was a very strange read for me. I found it incredibly depressing. It didn't bring me down in real life, but while I was reading, I found myself having a tough time reading certain scenes. Almost to the point where I felt claustrophobic and stifled. And again, I think that comes down to just how utterly atmospheric this book was. And the tone it was written in. Very somber. And again, this was just my experience. But it was something important to note about how the book made me feel.
Final note: I loved it. For lovers of dystopian, and even paranormal reads, I think this is one that can be enjoyed by all. It also has some delightful steampunk elements. Overdramatic crocodile scene, however. I could have done without that. I know it was used as a method to convey Elliot's lack of sanity, but I thought it went to far. Other than that, lovely book.
Someone get me my Team Elliot badge, stat!
Pre-order a copy from Amazon here: Masque of the Red Death.
Other reviews of Masque of the Red Death:
Back in the Midnight Garden 4/5 stars
Good Choice Reading 5/5 stars
Birth of a New Witch 5/5 stars