Author: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: April 24, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Overall: 4 Stars
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.
Just when I began to think the dystopian genre had already begun to exhaust itself, Bethany Griffin comes along and impresses me with her novel Masque of the Red Death. The book takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Masque of the Red Death, giving it a new awakening. While I haven't read the original, I have no doubts fans will be more than satisfied with Bethany Griffin's rendering of the tale.
In the frightening world Bethany Griffin has imagined, danger is always lurking in the shadows and traveling through the ruined city in Prince Prospero's domain is a risk not everyone is willing to take. The poor struggle to make ends meet, living without the protection of the expensive masks which could save them from the plague that continues to kill more people everyday. Meanwhile, the wealthy continue to live their opulent lifestyles in the safety of their homes.
Ever since Araby lost someone she held dear in her family to the terrible sickness, she hasn't been able to push aside the numbness that has taken a hold of her. She doesn't know how to be close to her parents anymore, not when she's still lost in her depression and reliving old memories of a time when she didn't feel so alone. It's at the Debauchery Club that she finds an escape from her problems, where she can dress herself in pretty dresses and pretend that everything's okay.
However, there's unrest in the city and Araby finds herself caught in the delicate situation of working with the rebels who wish to stop Prince Prospero's oppressive reign, even though it puts her family in harm's way. And as if that wasn't already enough, Araby finds herself drawn to two very different young men: the sweet and kind Will, who's fiercely protective of his younger siblings... and Elliot, the charismatic and calculative older brother of Araby's best friend. Yes, there's a love triangle in the novel, but I never thought it took central focus. Instead, Bethany Griffin has intricately woven it into the storyline, complementing Araby's struggle to pick up the pieces of her broken life and find a sense of purpose again.
Dystopia meets steampunk in Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death, delivering a dark and haunting story that is simply addictive to read. Everyone seemed to be hiding a secret in the novel, only adding to the suspense too... I absolutely cannot wait to see what will happen next in Dance of the Red Death!