I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Masque of the Red Death

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin

Plot Summary:

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.


When I first started reading this book, I was wondering where this story was going.  I knew that it was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story so I wondered how it could be turned into a fully fledged YA series.  The book was a pleasant surprise because there is quite a lot of plot, but I don't know if it was entirely successful.

The world-building seemed too summary for me, I believe there must be more answers in the next books, but I felt that there was so little in this one, that it made it hard for me to immerse myself in the story.  I'm especially curious as to the nature of these masks: why it protects only one, why is it alright to take it off indoors (or were they always supposed to wear it indoors, I wasn't sure), and why don't they need to disinfect their clothes and themselves if they've come from the outdoors in? I may have been thinking a little too much about the pathology of this disease.  There were a few other things that were too sketchily drawn for me - like how this world functions when it seemed like almost everything is shut down.  And for Elliott's plan - who was bankrolling that? I thought it would take quite a bit of money to pull off what he wanted to pull off.  It was just a little hard to picture this world at times.

Araby Worth was pretty apathetic for most of this book which was due to the loss of someone close to her, and so very understandable, especially in this bleak post-apocalyptic world, but it's not a characteristic I like to see in my female heroines.  Her voice is very straightforward and matter of fact in this book which also might explain why there was so little said about the world-building in the way of descriptions.  I think I was just a little put off as well by how quickly she trusted certain people around her, and how quick she was to betray others who were closer to her.  I just didn't feel as sympathetic to her character and I wanted her to take more control.

The two men that are presented in the love triangle were probably the best part of this book.  I had such strong sympathies for Will that when there's a certain twist near the end of the book I was pretty shocked.  I was sympathetic with Elliott for a time as well although he's not as trustworthy, but he has gone through some terrible things, and the way the author hints at his past was very well done because I really wanted to know more.

While the idea of this book was very exciting, and I loved the insidious horror of the plot, I was not as moved by the main character as I would have wished, and I wanted just a few more answers to really flesh out this world for me.  I can understand why people have enjoyed this book - it is very fast paced and darkly atmospheric with a lot of mystery and perhaps I will enjoy the series as a whole when I have all the answers.

I won this book as part of Cuddlebuggery's LBBA

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  1. I'm sorry you didn't love this! But I agree with everything you said. :) I rated it a little higher because I simply loved the vibe of the book and was kind of astonished she was able to pull off it feeling very Poe-ish.

    I'm afraid to say I didn't particularly like the sequel, though.

    1. It's very ambitious, and I'm sure the author has lots more to add to the world-building but now that I know you didn't like the sequel, I don't know when I'll pick this series up again then.

  2. I totally understand and I felt mostly the same way. The disease didn't make sense at all to me. I didn't read Poe's short story so that probably influenced my opinion a little. I found the story a little predictable, although I also might read more to get some answers. Great review!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. Very true, there were aspects that felt predictable. I read the Poe story a while ago so I don't remember it very much, but I think she did a good job expanding on it because it seemed more of a straight forward story. I'll look forward to reading your review of the sequel if you get a chance to read it!

  3. I went into this not expecting anything so I think that's why I loved it so much but I can definitely understand your qualms about this. The ending surprised me though, and I still love this one. I am definitely interested in your thoughts on the next book!

    1. Interesting, I wonder how I would have liked the story if I hadn't even read the Poe story! Some parts of the ending was a huge surprise, but I was disappointed by how open ended it was too, I wanted a little more resolution.

  4. I can understand why you didn't like it based on that...I enjoyed the setting and atmosphere..and I found the idea of the plague intriguing...but totally get that if you don't like the main character it is hard to get into a book!

    1. The atmosphere was really good - very dark and Gothic, and the plague is very intriguing, I really wanted to learn more about that! Especially now that it's mutated or something! I look forward to your review of the second book if you get a chance to read it!