July 27, 2014

Book review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

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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

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Masque of the Red Death is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name. There's a plague, there's a Prince Prospero, and people wear masks to keep from getting sick. Beyond that, this version of Masque of the Red Death follows more of the typical YA dystopian plot line.

Goodreads has recommended this book to me for months, so I eagerly awaited reading it. As it turns out, Masque of the Red Death fell short of my expectations. If I had to describe the book in one word, it would be "disjointed." Especially for the first half of the novel, I felt like I was reading a bunch of scenes (some of them well-written on their own) that didn't weave together into a coherent story. Fortunately, it improved in the second half, but not nearly enough to make the overall story very interesting to me.

I was also disappointed with the plague and what little information we got about it. The masks and how they worked were also glossed over. On top of that, it made no sense to me that people kept taking their masks off when the masks were supposed to be the only thing that can save them from getting sick

Throw in a predictably ordinary YA dystopian plot with insta-love (ugh!) and a love triangle (double ugh!), and this book left me wanting. Given the open-ended way in which the story concluded, I assume there's a sequel, but I'm not interested in continuing. I give Masque of the Red Death 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

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