Saturday, July 21, 2012

Becky's View: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
♦publisher: Greenwillow Books
♦release date: April 24th, 2012
♦hardcover, 319 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Masque of the Red Death, book 1
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.

Source: from publisher for honest review 

Review: Masque of the Red Death was one of those books that I loved but had such a hard time pinpointing what it was about it for this review.  It was surprisingly beautiful for a book about a terrifying plague that is ravaging humanity and everyone lives in fear of the very air they breathe.  The word that comes to mind the most is "atmospheric".  From the very beginning, it pulls you into this haunting, dark, toxic, and wild atmosphere.  The descriptions are fantastic, from the steam-run carriages, the girls in their fancy dresses and glittery eyes,  the sinister nightclubs, and the gritty and gruesome descriptions of the plague.  People who can afford it wear eerie masks every moment to keep out the plague-poisoned air, while the poor have to take their chances every time they step out their doors. It's a world of airships and clockwork and a heartless prince who lords over it all.  

Araby is the daughter of the inventor of the masks.  Her and her parents live precarious lives because the prince will not allow them to make the masks available to everyone---only those who can afford the high price.  And there are those who are very unhappy about this, and plans to rebel are brewing.

Araby is willful, but broken and hurting from the death of her twin brother, who was taken by the plague.  She has always blamed herself for this and was almost suicidal before she met April.  She does not allow herself to feel anything that her brother has missed out on, so not only does she stay away from love, intimacy, and happiness, she further dulls her pain with drugs.  Then Will comes into her life, and she can't help but begin to care for him and his young brother and sister.   Will is a fantastic character---I loved his story and his strong family bond with his siblings and the way he encourages Araby to live her life again.  The romance is this book is unique because of the masks---anyone can touch and dance, etc., but the most intimate thing of all is a kiss because a person would have to remove their mask. There is a bit of a love triangle here, and even to the very end, there is no clear choice. 

So many intriguing characters throughout this entire story---Araby's parents, April and her brother, Elliot, Will and his sweet little siblings, and little glimpses of Araby's brother, Finn, through her memories of him.  I loved them all and can't wait to continue this dark adventure!

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Purchase Masque of the Red Death:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I've heard some really good things about this one! I love the masks and the way they play a part in the romance, it sounds amazing. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles though, so I'll have to see how that goes. Great review, really glad you enjoyed the book :).

  2. Oh yay, 5 stars! I adore steampunk, and I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I'm a bit wary of "disease" books, though, because I find them just a tad bit unrealistic, but I will try to find a copy all the same.

  3. Ooohh 5 STARS! I'm sooo glad you loved this!! I gave up after around 100 pages - something about the writing just wasn't grabbing my attention, BUT I'm willing to give this another try! Andd I'm really intrigued by the role masks seem to play here :) Awesomeee review!<3

  4. Masque of the Red Death was one of those books that I loved but had such a hard time pinpointing what it was about it for this review.

    Isn't that really the case whenever we read something good?. I am really intrigued by MotRD! I am so glad that you loved it. It only fueled my need to read this book. Great review! :)

  5. I loved this so much...agreed about it being atmospheric. I didn't think about the masks adding much to the romance though, I just noticed them but didn't look too deep into it. And looking at your sidebar thing-you have Anna Girl of Nightmares? No fair...