Monday, May 21, 2012

Masque of the Red Death: review

Title: Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)
Author: Bethany Griffin
Genres: dystopia, steampunk, ya
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.

Masque of the Red Death is pretty short, under 350 pages, and it’s a quick, not-to-miss read this year. It starts out slightly confusing, because you're kind of thrown in without much background for Araby, our protagonist. About a third through, you get a kind of back story for why she acts certain ways, and after that I found it much better.

I did read Edgar Allen Poe’s original story before reading this book. It's pretty short, only a few pages, but it’s awesmome, and dark, and made me even more excited to read this retelling. Bethany Griffin did a great job capturing the mood of his story, and I imagined a heavy fog settling over the scenes, along with some slow violin music playing in the background.

Lots of it can be considered steampunk, but that only extends to the mere mention and quick appearance of steam powered vehicles and a huge amount of fancy dresses. I expected more in depth in the clockwork technology itself, so I hope she expands that knowledge in the following books in the series.

Of course there are plenty of clichés in here, like love triangles, boys who are good with incredibly adorable kids (really loved Henry and Elise!!), and a few selfless heroic moments…but she surprised me by managing to write them to be not so run-of-the-mill, and made those parts and characters just a touch out of the ordinary.

I was confused on the physical descriptions of the masks themselves.
Made of porcelain.
That’s all the specific information I was able to get. They cover most of the face, but how much? You can still see the eyes through it, but how do they stay on? There is a sort of filter built in, how does it work, what does it do? I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to just accept things; I want to know what makes it go, or given the chance to try to understand. :)

The cover is pretty! I also like the German cover >>. (Does it remind you at all of Die for Me by Amy Plum?) But it’s not as steampunky as the American one. It sounds like the "Status of Rotten Toads." I wish I spoke German. The translation is: "The City of the Red Death, The Girl with the Mask" and the 'Roman' says it is 'a novel'. For all my German readers, hopefully I didn't mess that up!

The ending came before I knew it. I seriously turned the page, and the next one was blank. Really?? I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet!!!

A solid four stars!


Should I do more foreign cover comparisons?


  1. I like the German cover better, personally. I kind of like your cover comparisons. I say keep with it!

    Amber @ Fall Into Books

  2. Masque Of The Red Death is a brilliant story. It will pull readers in, shock them, enrapture them, and have them begging for more!

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