Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Release: April 24, 2012

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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 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.

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Let me just say that I liked this book. I really did. And before I go into why I rated the way I rated, let me tell you what this book is about:

Araby Worth is the daughter of a scientist/inventor. Years ago, he created a mask that protected people from contracting a deadly disease. But not everyone could afford the mask. And not everyone survived. Those that did spent time in debauchery clubs where they could forget the pain and suffering. Araby is one of them, and now, there is another epidemic on the loose: The Red Death. People are scared, looking for answers. Then Araby meets Elliot and Will. They are both very different, and with them, Araby discovers a secrets and horrors that could affect hundreds of people.

Let's talk about what I liked.

First, the setting. It is eerie, awesome, and just plain intriguing. It's not a place I want to visit, but it's a place and a world that completely sucked me in, Kuddos to Griffin for such fine world building. THIS is the main reason why I like Masque of the Red Death so much.

Second, the non-angsty love triangle. Sure, we get love triangles ALL THE TIME it seems. What Griffin did, though, was unique. There is no angst over "who should I choose?" There is far more at stake than worrying about things like that. Instead, the two boys are understandably cautious and mistrusting of the other while Araby is in the middle and unsure that she even wants to love anyone. Why? Because she feels it is a betrayal to her brother.

You see, he died during the first epidemic, and Araby was the one who ended up using the one mask that protected her from contracting the disease. Her brother didn't. He died. So you see that Araby's somewhat conflicted. She denies herself a lot of things, even intimacy, because she feels somewhat responsible for her brother's death. She doesn't wish to partake in things that her brother would miss out on.

Now that I've briefly talked about the characters, I will go ahead and talk about my biggest gripe with this book: a lack of connection. This book is written in first person, but I never understood who Araby was. Perhaps this was intentional because Araby's not generally an open person. Araby's friend, April, and her brother Elliot had a little more personality. Reading Masque intrigued me, but it also left me feeling...empty. Maybe that was Griffin's desired effect. I don't know.

And I will be honest: Character is a vital part to any good story. That is my firm opinion, and hence, the slightly lower score. Griffin has, at the very least, convinced me to read her second installment. So that's a plus. Maybe Araby will become more open and more...fleshed out in the sequel. I hope so, because world building can only go so far.

*And on a side note, I read this without having read the Poe story that inspired this book. Thus, I have no clue how it compares to the original*


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