Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

5 August, 2012 Reviews 8 comments

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.

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany GriffinMasque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on April 24th 2012
Pages: 319
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

Excuse me, ma’am. Mind if I interrupt your story pacing?
Image by Avidel

Enjoyable and highly readable – I look forward to the next one!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

8 Responses to “Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin”

  1. Yael Itamar

    I was curious about Masque of the Red Death, but this review has moved it up to “Must Read.”

  2. ValeriaAndreaBS

    I knoe, the love triangle didn’t kill me either! It was, well, twisty. I quite liked that aspect.

  3. Neyra

    I have a copy of this, but still haven’t read it >.< I’m looking for Poe’s work first then this 🙂 Great review Kat, glad this book was a good read! 

  4. Kara_M

    Same rating I gave it. I didn’t necessarily love the book; I found it boring in places, but there is no denying the author is talented. I definitely want to read the sequel to see how it ends. It was a very atmospheric book with pretty strong world building. Great review, Kat!

  5. Bookish Brunette

    Dude this book ROCKED my FACE off!!!! I thought Will was so sweet & sexy til Elliot completely stole my heart when he told her that he’d feed her to the crocodiles to get what he wanted. 😉 shhhhyea, I’m all crazy that way. 😉

  6. MusingsinRed

    Well, as I am infatuated with all things red…. as my blog’s name can tell you… I must say I was attracted to the book cover!! 🙂
    But the content sounds interesting!! I needs must check it out!! 🙂

  7. BlookGirl

    I adored this book and am glad to see that you enjoyed it overall, too. I imagine the second book will be MUCH better than the first, and I sure hope it is. The love triangle isn’t really one – at least not yet – but I can see where it’s headed. I think the absence of in-your-face-love-triangle is what made this one bearable for you 🙂
    Great review!

  8. Kate C.

    Hmm… Still on the fence about this one.  Maybe I’ll get to it in a few months.  Right now I only have time for books I’m DYING to read. 🙂

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