Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #1
Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins)
Expected Publication: April 24th, 2012
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
Goodreads 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.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

First thoughts:
Intrigued by reviews of trusted bloggers, I decided to give Masque of the Red Death a chance even though its summary didn't appeal to me immediately. It turned out to be an enjoyable and fast read, set in a scary but interesting world. Despite the diverse characters, I sadly missed a connection to the story though, and even though I'm curious to find out how Araby's story will continue, it was easy for me to put this book aside.

More detailed:
Having never read the original story by Edgar Allan Poe, I was unsure what to expect of Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death. The summary already suggested a morbidity of some sort, but I was still surprised by the world Araby is living it. Death has become an everyday-topic after the plague, which is still lethal to everyone who isn't wearing a mask, decimating the population radically.

I've read many reviews that said that Araby was a bit too whiny for the reader. I actually felt different. Her loss was huge and even though she was trying to cope in somewhat incomprehensible ways, I could understand her behaviour. And maybe it was because I was prepared by reading the reviews, but I didn't find her sadness to be too overwhelming or even annoying.

Araby develops to be a fairly strong character, fighting for her life even though she would have given it up freely a while ago. It's great to witness her development and her interactions with the other characters, especially April, Elliot and Will. Their relationships aren't easy and you can never be sure whom to trust and who will turn out to betray someone else.

I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to the love triangle. Elliot and Will are both, complete opposites and quite similar. Their feelings for Araby are intense, but at the same time she's not the only important thing for either of them. I'm glad to finally see love stories that aren't blind - these characters have to make decisions they might not even like, but at the same time they cannot choose otherwise.

My only problem with Masque of the Red Death was the fact that it was easy to put away. While I enjoyed reading Araby's story a lot, I didn't feel the need to spend every free second I have reading it. I liked its characters, but didn't fall in love with them. I didn't crave this story and this is what makes me rate it 3.5 - I was missing a certain connection.

But all in all, it was a very enjoyable read nonetheless. I'm definitely looking forward to find out what will happen to these characters now and I'm intrigued by the world Bethany Griffin built. Masque of the Red Death might not be my favorite novel, but it's definitely one I'm fond of and that I can recommend to others, who are looking for an entertaining read with a great world-building and unusual characters.

Have you read Masque of the Red Death? What did you think about it?
Do you plan to read it?


  1. great review! sucks that you didn't fully like it. I'm dying to read Masque of Red Death, and your review definitely amps it up for me. I love worldbuilding and unusual characters.

    Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews.

  2. Interesting how a similar rating can be based on such different things! I was one of those that found Araby too tragic, it was too overwheleming. The world was indeed very dark and I agree tha plot was not very fast paced and easy to put down...

  3. I think this sounds like a great book and something I would definitely be interested in reading. I do understand what you mean by it just being okay as far as being comfortable with putting the book down and not really feeling a strong connection to the characters. Great Review!

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

  4. I've had this book on my wish list and I'm glad that you like it (even if it's not your favourite). I have a Poe story collection on my tbr pile and Masque of the Red Death is in it^^ I think that will be my bed time story for tonight - thanks for the inspiration :P

  5. Wonderful review, sorry it wasn't as memorable as you would have hoped it would be. Though after out twitter conversation about it I will still be looking to read this novel and have that beautiful cover basking along my shelf! Thank you for the review!

  6. Great review Carina I'm glad you enjoyed it. I loved the world building the best in this. But it's definitely not a fast paced book that keeps you glued to the pages so I've noticed a lot of reviews with similar opinions that yours :)

  7. I've read SO many glowing reviews for this book so it's great to have something yours be more in the middle ground to keep my expectations in check. It sounds like it has some really great elements, but it's too bad there was a disconnect for you. I hope I enjoy it. Thanks for the review, Carina!

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed this book Carina :) !! I've no idea if I'll read it because I've read mixed reviews on it and I'm not sure that's my type of books ... Thanks for the great review :)

  9. I can't wait to get my hands on this one after all the amazing things I've been hearing. Your review just convinces me I need it NOW even more :D

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