Title: Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 24, 2012
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 have a bit of a them going on here lately: book club has been forcing me to read books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages. And that's how I finally found myself reading Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death. And though it wasn't what I expected, I absolutely loved reading it!
Araby is one of the lucky few. She has a mask to ear to protect herself from the red death. But even with a mask, Araby doesn't take any risks: she avoids going outside unless she has to, and she never touches anyone without being protected. But after one night at the Debauchery Club, things start changing for Araby. She can't seem to get Will, the boy from the Debauchery Club, out of her head. Araby knows she should stay away from Will, even though she knows how dangerous it could be. And Elliott, April's mysterious brother, who keeps appearing in Araby's life. She doesn't know who she can trust. Everywhere Araby turns, someone seems to be keeping secrets from her. Who can she trust, and what will she do to keep herself safe?
Like anyone who's gone through high school English classes, I've read a few of Edgar Allan Poe's stories, but I had never read his The Masque of the Red Death, so I knew very little about the story. So I wasn't entirely sure what to think when I first heard of Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death. I had friends who loved the book telling me that I should read it, but I still wasn't completely convinced. Once again, it took book club choosing the book for me to finally read Masque of the Red Death. As I started reading, I struggled a little to get into the story. But once I got a better understanding of the world and how it all worked, I pretty much got sucked into the story. The world was really unlike anything I'd ever encountered in YA previously. It was dark, haunting and mysterious, and at the end of the day, my own curiosity about it all is what drew me in. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I would have to live in constant fear of contracting an unknown, airborne, lethal disease. That aspect of the story alone kept me reading because I just wanted to find out more about the disease, where it came from, if there would be a way to cure it. And of course, like any YA story, there was some romance through it all.
As much as I'm getting a little tired of love triangles, it felt like the on Bethany Griffin wrote in Masque of the Red Death really worked. Maybe it was because Araby didn't really know either Will or Elliott, so both had a certain air of mystery about them. Regardless of what it was, I had trouble picking one boy for a good chunk of the book. In the end, though, Will's interactions with his little bother and sister are what won me over. That, and at times, something just felt off about Elliott. Through it all though, I enjoyed getting to know Araby and seeing her change and grow. By the time I finished reading the book, the Araby from the end felt like a completely different person than the girl I met at the beginning of the story. It will be interesting to see how that growth will continue in the sequel (because I still haven't read that either).
I'm glad I've finally read Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death, because it was just as good as everyone had told me it was. Now I just have to read the sequel, Dance of the Red Death, to see how it all ends because i just know it's going to be an interesting read.