Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
In this post-Apocalyptic twist on Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic horror story about the wealthy trying to escape a plague, Araby Worth, a privileged seventeen-year-old girl who feels numb after the death of her twin brother, becomes caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow an oppressive government, falls in love, and faces the threat of a new plague.
I’m a bit all over the place in how I feel about this book. There are parts that I loved and parts that I hated. I didn’t find Masque of the Red Death to be very captivating. There were definitely times where I was bored and wanted to put it down for a bit. But, then, there were also moments where I couldn’t stop reading. So, it’s a mix up.
The story is developed quite well. I love that it is a retelling of one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories (I love his work; though, I have to admit that I haven’t read this one). Masque of the Red Death takes place in a dystopian society where people have been dying rapidly due to a “contagion”. Araby, April, and Elliot are trying to make a difference. They want to change the world, but will they be able to?
I’m not a big fan of the characters. Araby (the main character and narrator) really irritates me. She’s not completely unlikeable, but I didn’t care for her character. For one thing, I don’t see her logic in not allowing herself to be happy or to even touch another human being just because her brother is dead. She can’t live her life if her brother can’t live his? She also agrees to help Elliot with his mission very quickly. She just met the guy and, all of a sudden, she’s agreeing to betray her family to help this stranger. So what if he’s April’s brother? Does that mean he’s completely trustworthy, or more important that her own parents? I don’t think so! But, she agrees (which could potentially put her family in danger) even though she doesn’t know much about what it is she’s fighting for.
I don’t really like April or Elliot either. April is Araby’s best friend. But, throughout the novel, I just don’t see it. She doesn’t act like that good of a friend, in my opinion…until maybe later in the book. Elliot is weird and seems kind of sketchy. I never knew whether Araby should trust him or not.
Will is probably my favourite character in this novel. He is just a guy who happens to work at the Debauchery Club, oh and Araby has a huge crush on him. We find out things about his home life that make him an even more endearing character.
One thing that bothered me and raised questions in my mind was the fact that these masks (that were meant to protect people from being affected by the contagion) could not be shared. If one person breathed through it, that was it…from then on, the mask would only be effective for that particular person. I’m not a scientist or anything, but I didn’t get it. It just didn’t seem realistic to me.
I thought the writing was good, though. There are a couple twists at the end, neither of which I saw coming. I even had to read one part twice to make sure that what I thought I read was in fact happening! That’s how shocked I was! I plan to read the second book of this series once it comes out. The ending of this book was probably my favourite, and if it didn’t end the way it did, I may not have wanted to continue reading the series. Oh, and I love the cover!!