Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Release Day Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

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."


Aleksandra Dobnikar said...

I'm so glad that official release day has finally came along! I will have to wait for quite some time for this book to be available in my country (if it'll ever be, that is), so the wait will be longer. (: Glad to seey ou enjoyed it!

Aleksandra @ Divine Secrets of a Little Bookworm

Catie @ Movies in my Head said...

Can't wait to read this one! Love your blog name haha.

New follower :)

Nerd Girls said...

I totally loved this book too. Great review!

Braine @ Talk Supe said...

I love Elliot! He seems so cold and calculating but softens when it comes to Araby. After reading this I was itching for a shot of oblivion

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

I'm glad you loved this book as much as I did Cat!! The only thing I wish is that it was adult, (I addressed this in my review lol) so that we can see the Debauchery club in all it's devious glory!:)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Loved your review, Cat, and can't wait to read this book! :)

Alexa said...

I really wanted to like this one so badly because it was around the time that you Terrible girls were getting me interested in dark UF so this seemed perfect!

However, when reading the story I just felt it didn't fit. I felt it should have been adult UF that way the club and all the slightly dark elements could have been darker with a touch of passion and sex if it was adult. Idk this just didn't work for me, though I'm glad it was a great read for you.

Thanks for the great review.

Addicted2Heroines said...

Thank you all for the comments! <3

Alexa & Vain - I loved this story, but I do think that it would have made an even better adult novel.

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