Book: MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH
Author: BETHANY GRIFFIN
Genre: YA FANTASY
Published: April 2012, HARPER COLLINS
Source: Around the World ARC Tours, no other compensations given for an honest review
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.
When I first started MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, I wasn't sure if it might be a help or a hindrance that I've read the original Poe work. See, Poe is spooky and creepy and super odd, but his work has a draw for me; a magnetism that I've never been able to resist. I was worried that Bethany Griffin's adaptation wouldn't hold the same charisma. But, I needn't have worried. Griffin's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is an homage in the truest sense. It takes the original idea and updates it, but retains all of the skin-crawling, wide-eyed appeal that drew me to Poe.
Griffin's language is as lyrical as the pace of the book. Almost mirroring the languidness of Araby when amidst the, well, debauchery of The Debauchery Club, the novel exposes the world that has arisen out of a devastating plague, while concealing tidbits and details of the people that live in this world. Araby herself is a puzzle. Though she spends time at The Debauchery Club ingesting naughty substances she isn't an unsympathetic character. Living in the world she lives in (and being one of the few fortunate favored) has necessarily dulled her happiness. She, Will and Elliott, along with Araby's parents, and Will's siblings make up a motley cast of characters that stay true to the idea of Poe's MASQUE.
The masks the citizens have to wear do the dual job of protecting them and hiding their true nature. And MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH does a fantastic job of exploring human nature, while following Araby on her self-discovery, and illuminating a world that sounds very scary indeed.
4.5/5 for plot
5/5 for characters
5/5 for language
My Rating: 14.5/15 (5 stars)
Must Read, if you liked:
Starters by Lissa Price
Partials by Dan Wells
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