Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death, #1
Genres: Dystopian, Retellings, Steampunk, Young Adult
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (Imprint of HarperCollins)
Date Published: April 24th, 2012
Source: ARC (Provided by Publisher)
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 is a gritty and dark retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s original tale. Honestly, I read a lot of Poe’s poetry and short stories in high school so I’m sure I’ve read this at some point and I’m sure it was genius because the man is. But I just can’t remember it very well. So I can’t really comment on how it compared to the original. But I can tell you it probably did a pretty good job considering how very dark and horrific it was.
Horrific is definitely a good word. In Araby’s world, plague reigns and masks are not optional if you want to survive. Scientists have been trying to contain and find a cure for the plague, but nothing seems to be getting better, only worse. So when those close to Araby start to question whether or not everything possible to help the people is being done, she can’t turn a blind eye. She has to help save her city and the people she loves.
I first off really loved Araby. I thought she was a good protagonist and I enjoyed being inside her head for a little while. While she is broken in some ways, she still has a strength to her that you can’t help but admire. I did question some of her choices in friends though. April I wasn’t really a fan of. She’s okay, but she just seemed very snobby and selfish a lot of the time. As for the love triangle (did you doubt there was one?), well it was an interesting one. I’m not sure how I feel about either boy at this point. I won’t say which team I’m on, because even I’m not really sure at this point. But I will say that my feelings about both of them pretty much did a one-eighty at the end of the book. We’ll see where that goes in the next book though.
Now the one thing I did have trouble with was the writing style was a bit awkward for me and I had trouble getting into the flow. It’s hard to pinpoint what it was. But it kind of had a choppy, flash-between-scenes sort of feel and I was a little bit confused at times about where the setting was and what was going on. The story is interesting, although it felt a little bit directionless at times. But in the end it seemed to come around to a clear plot setup for the next book.
Overall, this was good, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I think a lot of it had to do with the writing style, and perhaps a bit with the very dark and gritty world it takes place in. But, it’s an interesting mix of the retelling of a classic story morphed into a dystopian with a touch of steampunk. I’d recommend it if you’re a Poe fan because I’m sure you’ll find the remaking of is tale interesting, or if you’re a fan of dark dystopian in general.