Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Science Fiction/Retelling
Release date: April 24th, 2012
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Won
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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 around them. 

So what does Araby Worth have to live for? 

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . 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 is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. 

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for--no matter what it costs her.

An exciting retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death mixed with steampunk and romance sounded right up my alley, so you can only imagine how excited I was to begin this book.  The story follows a young woman named Araby, who has always had to live around the dangers of the plague.  People around her are deteriorating and the city is falling to pieces.  When her best friend disappears, she's overwhelmed with worry, but she soon finds hope in April's brother, Elliott.

Although there's a very visible love triangle throughout the entire story, I found it to be enjoyable.  I could never tell which boy I wanted Araby to be with more.  There's Will, the hard-working lower class young man who would do anything to protect his siblings, and Elliott, a relative of the Prince, who wholeheartedly believes that with the help of a small army, he can save many people from their impending doom.

Of course, Araby wasn't a bad main character, but you could definitely see where her personal issues with loss comes in.  She's too afraid to let herself get close to someone, and living in a place where anyone could contract the disease at any time, it's understandable.  As the story moves forward, we get to look back into her past, to where it all began as well as get a little glimpse of her future, which I enjoyed very much.

Masque of the Red Death is definitely a book you'll want to dive into as soon as you can.  The writing is beautiful, dark and a little horrifying in all the best ways.  The steampunk elements were exactly what I hope they'd be, from the plague-fighting porcelain masks to the elaborate airships; they all fit very well into the story.  With hopes of more excitement, Araby's growth and a budding romance, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the second book in the series.


  1. I loved this one too! The world building was really unique and I loved how it 'interacted' with Poe's story! The writing was gorgeous. And I completely fell for Will ^^'' Great review without being spoilery or too vague!

    Here's mine If you're interested.

  2. Great review! This book is the very next book on top of my 'to-buy-next' pile and I can not wait to get into it...your review got me even more excited :D

  3. Can't wait to read this one. Great review :)

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

  4. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a darker, gothic read, but all Poe fans should absolutely give this book a chance. I think this is a book that will be well-received, not only in the world of YA, but the world of literature, in general. It is definitely an homage to a literary master that is worthy of very high praise!

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