Release Date: April 24, 2012
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: ARC provided by Edelweiss
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
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.
Griffin has created a dark and captivating story full of death, disease, conspiracy, and betrayal.
The protagonist, Araby, is emotionally damaged and seemingly self-destructive. She carries the burden of her twin's death and allows it to weigh heavily on her heart and mind, affecting every aspect of her life.
She also lives in constant fear. Her city has been decimated by a plague that continues to claim lives at an alarming rate. The only protection comes in the form of a porcelain mask that she rarely removes, created by her father, a well-known and respected scientist.
Experiencing the story through Araby's dark and somewhat depressing thoughts was a large part of this story's appeal. She's so raw and real and stronger than she gives herself credit for. I was also fascinated by her occasional cold, dispirited descriptions and observations.
"I play with the diamond ring, wondering, in a world where disease slithers through the air and down our throats, what value does a diamond really have? The hateful ring refracts the lights from the gaslit chandelier into a thousand colors, lovely and useless."
In an effort to temporarily forget her troubles and the devastation that surrounds her, Araby spends many of her nights in the Debauchery Club. She paints her face with glitter, wraps herself in a beautiful dress, and for a short time she can become someone else.
Other distractions in the club are presented in the form of a handsome and mysterious employee and the chemical high injected from the cold, piercing needle of a syringe.
Aside from her emotional struggles, the story focuses on her role in an effort to make improvements in the city for the unfortunate families and individuals who remain starving and more susceptible to the plague than the wealthy.
During her journey, she grabs the attention of two attractive young men; a situation that leaves Araby conflicted for various reasons. She has given herself very strict rules since the death of her brother. Rules that both men seem determined to break. But through her time with them, we begin to see some emotional growth.
By the story's conclusion, there are many questions that still remain and the possibilities of where Araby's journey could take her are endless.
I highly recommend this to fans of dark, dystopian fantasy.
"I've been fighting the allure of death for a long time. After Finn, I was lost, and my parents were lost as well. They were supposed to guide me, to care for me, but they couldn't. I climbed out of bed in the mornings. I ate food that was placed in front of me. When someone smiled at me, I tried to smile back. It was all unreal. I was fake and my life was make-believe and my happiness was pretend."