I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on April 24th 2012
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
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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.
Masque of the Red Death took a lot of risks. Firstly, it was based on Poe’s title of the same name. And as everyone knows, generally you just don’t go messing with Poe.
All I’m saying is that shortly before this was taken, that skeleton was alive and very apologetic.
Secondly, it’s a young adult novel that features drugs, sex and alcohol. Thirdly, the protagonist, Araby Worth, is suicidal.
After finishing it, it doesn’t feel like a novel that I necessarily need to talk about. I really enjoyed it. Duncan, an editor at HarperCollins, said in the forward, “We think Bethany Griffin is a startling and fresh voice in teen fiction.”
Well, I’ll give them that. I thought Griffin’s writing was well-crafted and strong. She has control over her prose and uses them to great effect throughout the novel.
Masque of the Red Death contains that dreaded creature – the love triangle. Curse it! But it was not horrifyingly painful. As a reader, it’s not something I enjoy and I don’t think it added much of value to this novel – but nor did it cause my eye to bleed and my internal organs to explode, so I think it can mostly be forgiven – though the relationship aspect does take up a significant portion of this story where I would have preferred, perhaps, to spend more time focusing on the political intrigue or intense plotting than over which boy may or may not kiss her.
Plot, I’m going to let you finish in a minute. But this kiss scene is going to happen now.
Characterization in this novel is a tightrope over Niagra Falls difficulty setting and I think Griffin may just have pulled it off. Araby was the most difficult character of all. Not just because she was suicidal and depressed and mopy, but because she has a lot of difficult decisions to make and most of them impact on the world she’s in. There’s this uncomfortable feeling that a suicidal junkie may not be the person I’d want to place my hopes in, but somehow I think her warm heart and generous spirit balanced it out.
The two love interests, what can I say? It’s the usual toss up between Bad Boy and Ol’ Reliable. But Griffin gives a good twist on this and actually makes the relationships an interesting dynamic. The problem was that they occasionally interrupted the pacing.
Enjoyable and highly readable – I look forward to the next one!