Tuesday 17 July 2012

Book Review- Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Masque of the Red Death
 Author: Bethany Griffin
Series:  Masque of the Red Death #1
Published:  2 August 2012 by Indigo
Length: 336 pages
Warnings: drugs, romance 12+
Source: publisher
Other info: Bethany has also written a YA contemporary, Handcuffs. Book two will be called Dance of the Red  Death.

Summary : 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.
Review: This was not what I expected. It’s not a straight retelling of Eggy Ally’s (Edgar Allan Poe’s) story; instead it takes the original and builds a fuller world around it. Here, there’s not that much to live for. Araby Worth lives for nights at the Debauchery Club, where dresses, makeup and drugs help everyone to forget about the people dying outside. Here, she meets Will, owner of the club. There’s also her best friend’s brother, Elliot, nephew to Prince Prospero. And Araby gets to learn all their secrets.
While it wasn’t what I expected, the world building was smooth and created a world that’s beautiful in a decaying, rotting kind of way. Corpses are everywhere and have to be collected off the streets, everyone wears masks to keep out the disease, the poor and children either stay inside and die. The Debauchery club, in stark contrast, is full of glitz and glamour, but Araby and everyone else are still a bit mindful of the plague that could easily kill them.
It takes a fair bit of time to get going. Yes, I get that learning more and more about both Elliot and Will are meant to be plot developments, but that only really occurred to me that they were the plot points when I was nearing the end of the novel. At the time, it was all a lot of character development  on everyone’s parts.
Elliot and Will are both lovely in their own rights, each with their dose of bad-boy in a refined manner. Araby isn’t the whole badass girl like Katniss or the girl from Strange Angels, but she’s also smart and compassionate and likeable. The love triangle doesn’t have a clear outcome, so it’ll be interesting to see who she ends up with. Her best friend April is annoying. The supporting characters are good and the children are really sweet.
The whole fear of everything, dependence on the masks, the things people do to try and block out the world of pain and suffering, comes through really well in this. The writing isn’t always that of a teenage girl, but it’s descriptive, full, and really nice.
 It’s interesting that it’s an unnamed plague that’s keeping everyone in these masks and fear. The Red Death that I’m more familiar with only makes its appearance about half way through, and its emergence is an important plot point.
It ends with Prospero, a minor character, believing he can escape the Red Death and Araby, Will and Elliot wondering what to do next. The ending is quite sudden, with me believing that there’s meant to be something after what is actually the last paragraph. I really want to see what happens next. And I really hope Araby gets to Prospero’s masked ball.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea. Slow start, but really quite beautiful extension of a story I love. Definitely want to read the next in this series.
Links: | Goodreads | Author website


  1. I really really want to read this!! Definitely feel like it's my kinda book. I love the sound of it all, especially the bad boys and Araby sounds pretty cool too

    Cait x

  2. I. Loved. This. Book. I loved it with a burning passion, I loved it from the first page, all the way to the last. There was honestly not one moment of this book that I didn't love.


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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