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Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

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
Edition: Paperback
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.

My Review:

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.

3.5 Hearts
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12 Responses to Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

  1. Liyana says:

    Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this, because of the glamour-in-dystopia factor.
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  2. A. Knight says:

    Ew, choppy plot? Me thinks I will get very annoyed with that very quickly. I haven't read a lot of work done by Poe, but I know a few of them, and I vaguely recall the one this book is based upon. I'm just not sure I'm up for the creeptasticness factor. However, I am intrigued by this love triangle. *grins* I can always use more boys to add to my fictional boyfriends list.

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  3. @carinalaura says:

    This sounds like a really intriguing read, but I'm still not completely sure whether I actually want to read it. I'm very grateful for your honest review and will keep it in mind until I decide what to do. 😀 There are so many other books that I truly want to read, so I might put off deciding about this one until I've read the others first. 😀

    Thanks for sharing though. Great review!

    Fictional Distraction
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  4. Rebecca says:

    Oh!! You've read it. o: *jealous* LOL. It seriously sound awesome. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, although I'm a bit disappointed you didn't like it more. I had high hopes for it! But I will definitely have to pick it up myself. The darker and grittier part definitely has me curious! I really don't like a choppy feel to the writing though, so I hope I, for some reason, can't see that ;o

    Great review!
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  5. Oh! This is high on my list! I didn't realize it was steampunk though and that makes me a little cautious now. I don't remember Edgar Allen Poe's works either, except that I did like what I read. LOL. Thanks for your great review!
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    • I wouldn't really call it steampunk. I know I said that. But it has steampunk elements to it. Like the gadgetry and stuff. But if that's the only thing holding you back, don't let it because it's not a huge factor. :)

  6. Hm you know, the cover and the premise sounded awesome. But, right now I'm not sure if I am really in the mood for dark, dystopian with steampunk.. I haven't read Poe in High School, but mainly because we simply read the other classic, some German ones mostly. The only story related to Poe I read was Nevermore which was incredible!!!!!!!
    Seeing you had a hard time with the writing – I'm still not 100% sold here..
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  7. Missie says:

    The Edgar Allan Poe connection was lost on me until you mentioned it. He does totally remind me of high school.

    I'll probably skip this one. I'm not too intimated by the choppy writing style, and flash back moments tend to irritate me. But that cover is gorgeous!
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  8. I'm a HUGE Poe fan…and "Masque" is one of my favorite of his stories. Your review totally sold me on this book and I'll be looking forward to reading it!! 😀

  9. xaurianx says:

    The word "horific" was enough to make me stop reading the review. I really can't handle scary.

    • It's not so much scary as the subject matter is horrific. Being that everyone (including children) has to wear masks in order to survive and stuff like that. I wouldn't say it was scary though.

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