04 September 2012

Ashley's Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

I'm so excited to bring you the first review written by my fabulous associate reviewer, Ashley! 

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1) by Bethany Griffin

Pages: 319
Format: ARC
Genre: YA Dystopia


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.

Cover Talk: I have a wee bit of a fascination with the color red. When passing my shelves in bookstores, red covers are the ones that I am drawn to the most. This cover is simply gorgeous and creepy at the same time. Two of my favorite things. The font of the title is elegant and fits perfectly with the rest of the eerie cover.

First Impressions: I became interested in this book when someone told me it was loosely based off of Poe's work. Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors of all time and his story Masque of the Red Death is actually one of my favorites. I love the eeriness, the horror of it all. The title and the link to Poe was the main reason I decided to read this book.

First Few Chapters: These first few chapters are a very blurred in my mind. They did not catch my attention obviously and because of this, I kept setting this book down numerous times. I recall Araby and April going to club, meeting Will and then Elliot. But other than that, there is not much that stuck out in my mind about the start of this book.

Characters: Araby is a very good gothic, depressive character. She definitely has the "woe is me" and hopelessness that fits perfectly into this world that Griffin created. My biggest complaint with Araby is I never had a reason to be invested her. She didn't give enough emotion for me. At all. I wished that Araby would have been a bit crazy, honestly. She drinks constantly, does drugs, but somehow only when through withdrawals once. I hope that she decides to invest herself in something in the next book so that I'll feel for her more.

April is Araby's best friend. Or so the book and Araby say constantly. I honestly don't get it. Not until the end. April is very unreal to me. I also don't think her character development was justified by any means. I feel like the April we meet in the beginning and that one we meet at the end are two different people. While that ideally is a good thing, we aren't shown any reason for her change.

Elliot is April's brother. A person who used to hole himself up in his room and write poetry. (Edgar, anyone?) My biggest complaint with this character is I wish the poet part could have been shown more. Aside from April telling Araby that her brother is a poet and idealistic, I wish we could have seen some actions. Overall though, Elliot is actually my favorite character. He is honest and while he may not share the truth with everyone, he's honest about it when he does.

Will is the tattooed, sweet brother of two small children. I think it was the intention for me to like this character, but honestly, I didn't. Don't get me wrong. I love his loyalty and dedication to his siblings, but other than that. I didn't feel invested in him either.

Plot: The premise of this book --deadly disease killing everyone, scientist trying to make it better, bad guy ruler--is not original. However, I do like the world that Griffin created. It is hopeless, dark, dreary, lonely, and everything that a good tribute to Poe should be.

My biggest issue with this book is the pacing. It drags on in some areas and in others too many things happened at once. I also think that some events cleaned up too nicely. I would have liked to see more struggle, particularly on Araby's part. She is thrust into so many situations, but always had someone pulling her out quickly.

*SPOILER ALERT* The only even that took a longer than a chapter was when Elliot and Araby were 'invited' to Prince Prospero's castle.*END SPOILER

Also, I am not a fan of this live triangle between Araby, Will, and Elliot at all. I see absolutely no reason why either of these guys should like her in the first place. She is not remarkable in any way and has cut herself off to emotions for years. I just find it unbelievable that Elliot, how is filled with passion, would be drawn to someone with no passion. And the same for Will.

As for the goodish parts, there are a couple of twists at the end that I did not see coming and I definitely appreciated that. The ending of this book gives me hope for the second novel in this series. It leaves off at a pretty darn good cliff hanger and I have some idea of what to expect in the following novel.

Final Thoughts: Overall, this book disappointed me on a lot of levels. I went into thinking that it was going to be very reminiscent of Poe's story by the same name, but alas, that was not to be. That being said, I do think it sets up nicely for a continuing series/trilogy and I will be interested to see where it goes from here.

Ashley's rating: 3 out of 5 stars

You can stalk follow Ashley on her blog The Bibliophile's Corner, Twitter or Facebook


  1. I liked the story but not a fan of Araby or any of her guys. The political climate is interesting though.

    1. I agree, the political climate is definitely interesting.

  2. I was kind of disappointed with this book as well, it did have some slow moments and I just couldn't connect with the main character at all. Great review! I may still read the rest of the series just to see where it ends up.

    1. I will probably read the rest of the series too. But I will get the books from the library. This is one series I don't mind not owning.

  3. Araby is the perfect type for every male who has the need to rescue syndrome going- particularly if she is attractive. I wonder if the hardcopy is printed in red ink.



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