Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: Masque of the Red Death
Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis from 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 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.
I absolutely love this book! I'm a huge Poe fan, and The Masque of the Red Death is my favorite story of his, so of course I was ecstatic when I learned that Bethany Griffin was coming out with her own reimagining of this tale. Her book wasn't anything like I expected, but that's part of what I adore about it--she took pieces of Poe's story and molded them into something all her own. The world building is fantastic, and the plot is fast-paced and deliciously unpredictable. The characters also possess a lot of depth and unique qualities. I was truly fascinated by everything in this book; from the clothing styles to the everyday behavior of the citizens in the plagued city.
Masque of the Red Death features a world where a deadly plague has taken over and instilled fear in everyone. Prince Prospero is a creepy tyrant that rules the ruined city from the comforts of his castle. Everyone who can afford a specially designed mask is safe from the disease as long as they wear them, while the poor are stuck wearing cloth masks. I can't imagine walking around in a world like this and never being able to see anyone's face. On top of everything, there are mysterious secret societies and murmurs of a revolt against Prospero.
I liked how several of the characters ended up being so much more than they initially seemed. You think you might have them pegged, but then some more of their layers are peeled back, and you have to reassess your opinions of them. I found this to be especially true with Araby, who is the protagonist of this novel. The first impressions she gives off are not entirely impressive, but you definitely get the feeling that there's a reason for her actions. The more I found out about her, the more I liked her. She's experienced tragedy (like pretty much everyone else in this book), but she chooses to deal with it in a very self-deprecating sort of way; numbing herself to escape her own misery.
Araby forms some very different relationships throughout the book. She gets attention from two very different guys, Will and Elliott. I started off liking one of these guys more than the other, but by the end of the book that changed. Araby has some intense experiences with both of them. Will is sort of dark and broody, while Elliott is kind of a snarky aristocrat with mysterious qualities but he can also be very caring. Both of them made me laugh at times. I also ended up really liking Araby's friend April, she surprised me for sure.
All of these characters are wrapped up in the action-packed and life-changing events of the last part of the book. I don't want to give anything away, but there are some shocking revelations that are revealed and they leave you with even more questions. I am so excited for the next book in the series, and I can't wait to see what plays out with Araby and her friends. I also can't wait for more confrontations with Prince Prospero and some of the other terrifying characters.