“The charcoal sky spits cold rain as we rumble to a stop at a crossroad. A black cart blocks the road, and even in an armored carriage we know better than to force our way past.
Burly men stagger to the cart, carry something between them. Someone. One of the men stumbles, and the body wobbles in a horrifying way.”
There’s a plague in Araby’s city. A plague that is deadly, that can kill anyone, that has killed many. The only protection offered are the masks that Araby’s father designed, but only the rich can afford them. Araby has already lost her twin brother, and she lives in fear of catching the disease herself, she hasn’t got much to live for, except nights in the Debauchery Club with her best friend April, who happens to be the Princes niece. However Araby and April have different ideas of fun and while April makes a spectacle of herself Araby is watching. Two men, both very different have caught the eye of Araby and whilst one, Will, is keeping her guessing, the other, Elliott has a proposition for her. Will either of them have something worth fighting for or is Araby truly alone in this terrifying world.
Bethany Griffins novel is based on the short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Whilst I am a fan of Poe’s work I have not read the story in a long time, but I feel that this version is a fantastic read, both for fans of Poe and those who haven’t encountered his works before.
I loved the story and the way the book goes. At first I was a bit too detached from Araby and it takes a while to get into the book because she’s not very quick to grow to. However because the story is told from her perspective I liked how much she tells you about others and her past. I liked her voice and once I got to know her more I liked her. She wasn’t the shallow person you might expect from the beginning of the book and the story reflects her part in the world she lives in.
The love triangle was a little worrying and there were times when I was very confused about which of the two guys she was linked with were right for her. Both sent out mixed signals and it was easy to see why Araby was so confused but I think I much preferred Will to Elliott. I loved Will’s brother and sister too and it showed a lot about his character the way he looked after them. Araby’s parents were absent for a lot of the book but I liked her father, he seemed a bit too distracted from Araby but you could still tell her cared a lot for her and her mother. I didn’t grow towards her mother so much though until a certain point in the book and after that there wasn’t much to grow to.
I didn’t realise until close to the end of the book that it was a series... this caused me problems with the ability to trust certain characters too. I felt that you didnt get to know them well enough to trust them and there was a bit of double crossing or things that didn’t appear right. I was left with a lot of unanswered questions and I cannot wait til book two so that I can find out more!!
I am deliberately trying not to say a lot in this review because there are things I don’t want to spoil for others. I was really surprised at certain points and loved the book because of it but its not an easy read, theres a lot of death and drugs and well, debauchery! I loved every second but there was a lot that I didnt quite understand that I think will be clearer with a second read through and the second book!
I really did enjoy The Masque of the Red Death, it was gritty and realistic and quite terrifying. I liked the twists and turns that the book took and whilst I saw some of them coming they still satisfied my need for an action packed book! I really do recommend this but I do think that a second read through when the next book is available is needed, so don;t just borrow it from the library!
The Masque of the Red Death is published today by Indigo, a YA imprint of Orion. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review by the publisher.