Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

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.

In this dystopian-type world, the wealthy survive with masks on their faces that protect them from a plague that fills the air. In the clubs, everyone goes to partake in drugs and alcohol while dressed to the max. It’s a way to forget just what life is really like. The world Griffin has created is terrifying, people come around to collect the bodies of the diseased. Any bodies that are unable to be retrieved are left of the streets. She has gone to great depth to create a story I think Poe would be proud of. It’s scary, intense and so fascinating – much like Poe’s works.

Araby has created rules for herself, her little brother passed away as a result of the plague so she strives to do nothing he will never get to do. From holding hands to falling in love. Mixed in with the horror of this “world”, our girl is discovering just who she is and who she deserves to be. Mix in a love triangle with two boys who want totally different things. Then as a more intense plot line, “rebels” seek to uncover the plans for the masks to mass-produce them so that they are accessible to everyone. What better way than to involve the creator’s daughter, Araby?

Masque of the Red Death is the sort of book with a lot going on and it handles it nicely. The ending did leave a bit to be desired, it was rushed and at times I found myself having to re-read to be exactly sure I didn’t “miss” something. I’m hoping that with a sequel more will be explained and it will make it even better.

Regardless, I love this more recently popular combination of dystopian and steampunk and eagerly crave more. If you aren’t a fan of steampunk, Masque of the Red Death isn’t that steampunk – there are factors, but it’s not heavily present.

I received my copy of Masque of the Red Death from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  1. lalaine says:

    Glad you enjoyed this Amanda, I also loved the steampunk feel in this book. Great review x


  2. While I liked the creepy world and the creepy plot, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. Especially Arabry was too much for me. However, I think in the light of Poe she’s was perfectly craved although I have never read his books. (Germans read different kind of classics…) But, the more reviews I read the more I think she really did a great job adapting Poe in the modern language and genre of YA.

    • Amanda says:

      Some of the characters were hard to connect with, but I still liked them.

      You should check into some Poe! A lot of them are pretty short.

  3. This sounds interesting, I don’t read much steampunk but it’s interesting that it’s combined with dystopia in this this book. The cover really puts me off but if I see it at the library, I will give it a read!

    • Amanda says:

      The steampunk in this one isn’t all that noticeable. Someone I was talking to recently actually asked if it should even be considered steampunk.

  4. Dea S. says:

    I’m a fan of both genres so you can just imagine how I’m looking forward to reading this book! And Araby sounds like my kind of heroine. I also can’t wait to find out how the author handled the love triangle. :) Nice review Amanda!

  5. Jenny Q says:

    I loved this one! I did not see those last couple of plot twists coming. Can’t wait for the next book.

    • Amanda says:

      It really did take some unexpected twists! Those were part of what had me going “Did I read that correctly…” and backtracking. ;) It was an interesting ride! I can’t wait for the next, either!

  6. Sarah says:

    I liked this one but I agree on the ending. It felt like the whole book had a good pace and then the ending just was rushed onto the page. We’ll see what happens next though.

    ♥ Sarah @ I’m Loving Books

  7. kimba88 says:

    I like Steampunk..i am glad you enjoyed it..I go back and forth about buying this…LOL

  8. Anne says:

    I’ve seen some mixed reviews of this one. I’m glad to see you liked it though – I had it on my TBR NOW list before I’d read any reviews just because I liked the premise, and I was disappointed and kind of worried to see reviews that said it wasn’t as good as they thought. I’ve started seeing some more positive ones (including yours!) though and that gives me hope! I mean, it’s steampunk and Poe, I’m bound to like it, right? =)

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