Thursday, January 3, 2013

Masque Of The Red Death by Bethany Griffin

* * * *


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 around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . 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 is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


Masque of the Red Death is bursting with conspiracy, espionage and deception. It's hard to narrow down when this takes place but that only adds to it's draw.

I was initially struck by Araby’s self-destructive nature and that of her best friend April. They go to the Debauchery Club regularly to engage in nefarious activities that help them forget the miserable reality of their day to day lives. Mind you their plight is not quite as bleak as the rest of the unlucky population who live in abject poverty. Because of a plague that no one quite understands, everyone has taken to wearing masks to prevent from breathing in the toxic air that kills without discrimination. And it's only the rich whocan afford that necessity.  If there’s anything most startling in this book, it’s the grotesque difference between the haves and the have-nots.  That glaring discrepancy is what makes Araby view her good fortune as a burden especially when she’s exposed to Will’s life. She is overwhelmed with guilt when she sees firsthand how her secret crush struggles to survive daily. Her guilt over how the other half lives is what informs her burgeoning political ideology.

Masque has a well-crafted plot featuring complex relationships and characters. Her fractured relationship with her parents is sad and uncomfortable. They are a very disconnected family. Will is the guy you automatically fall for. He’s sweet, considerate and works hard to help his family. But is he too good to be true? Then there’s Elliott. You can’t quite put a finger on him.  He’s aloof, sly, adept at spinning words and when combined with his sharp intellect, he's dangerously sexy.

Here’s what completely threw me. Despite the fact that I knew Elliott had his own personal agenda, that smug, arrogant guy quietly seduced me. He is hard to figure out but he carries himself so confidently and is unapologetic about his principles. He is flat out honest about his intentions and ambitions but is still ambiguous and unreadable most of the time. He’s quite the conundrum.

But don’t think Masque of the Red Death is simply about a love triangle. That is secondary to Araby’s introduction into the world of political intrigue and what she chooses to be her life’s purpose. I did feel jittery as I read along having no idea who could be trusted. As her alliance shifted I was so worried she would end up being the pawn in someone’s evil plan. But the clever girl holds her own proving that she should not be underestimated.  I sat at the edge of my seat as the climax built and after a few harrowing scenes, I was so crushed when it had to end. I want more damn it!

~ Bel

Masque Of The Red Death is also featured in Bel's Top 10 Of 2012.


1 comment:

  1. I recommend this to all readers who want to read a novel that crosses genres. This can be post-apoc, dystopian, adventure, steampunk, romance...the lot! Seriously, I dare you to read this and not enjoy it. Even if you only read it to spend time with Will and Elliott