EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE
Araby worth’s city is being torn apart by death, disease, and corrupt forces wanting to claim it for their own. She has lost her home. Her best friend is dying. Her mother has been kidnapped. The boy who made her feel something again has betrayed her. And her father may be a murderer.
But Araby has found herself.
Despite the death and destruction all around her, she will fight for herself, for her friends, for her city. Her rebellion will take her, finally, to the mad prince’s palace, for the decadent – and sinister – masked ball. It could be a trap. It could be the end of them all. Or it could be the moment that Araby becomes the kind of hero she never dreamed she could be.
The tragic, dark, and steamy conclusion to Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death saga.
Masque of the Red Death had such a nail-biting ending that had me on the edge of my couch and left hanging and desperate. Seriously, did Griffin have to leave it that way? At least she made up for it with Dance of the Red Death by immediately picking up from where she left off. There’s no slowing down the action after Araby and company immediately make their escape from the city and head to the outskirts for safety. They’re forced to land in the swamp and reconfigure their plans from there.
Of course Araby is still stinging from Will’s betrayal when he turned her into Malcontent. She knows on the one hand that he had no choice because he did it to save his younger brother and sister. On the other hand, she was hoping that their feelings for each other would have guaranteed her some loyalty. Aside from that, she’s worried sick about her scientist father and his involvement in the outbreak of the red death. Elliott, the other arrogant, confounding guy in her life and one-time fiancé who still carries a torch for her, promises that they’ll go searching for him as soon as they return to the city. First and foremost Elliott needs to regroup with his army to continue the work that was begun with his failed coup.
Most of the time Araby is grasping at straws trying to understand her father’s motives as she reflects upon the nature of their relationship. Then there’s also her conflicted feelings about Elliott and Will who are trying to win her affection. I have to say I was very taken by the scenes between Elliott and Araby. I had forgotten how he had previously deemed himself untrustworthy yet the two of them together are something. And while she may be in Elliott’s arms, she’s also thinking of Will who seems to have taken a backseat in this one. It gets tedious at times her flipping back and forth between the two. Make up your mind already because there are bigger things to be concerned with!
My favorite albeit creepy moments occur when the Prince and Malcontent make appearances. Those two are erratic and sinister on their best days and there’s no telling which way they’ll go. Araby lands in a precarious predicament when she realizes that either the Prince or Malcontent could be the answer to saving her best friend, April from the virus. At this point Araby gets points for remembering what’s at stake. Engaging in dangerous mind games with them raises the suspense several notches.
With all that being said, I have mixed feelings about the ending. I’m not exactly thrilled with one aspect of how she ends it but my reasoning for that is purely subjective and to avoid any spoilers I won’t elaborate. However, my disappointment with that is tempered by the fact that Griffin throws in a few astounding twists that made me raise my eyebrows. All the tension builds up to a spectacular showdown that’s alarming and mind-bending all at once. And as the dust settles, Griffin offers up another twist that makes a nice finishing touch.