Monday, July 2, 2012

32. Masque Of The Red Death

Book #32: Masque Of The Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Published: April 24, 2012
320 Pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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 hadn't read the original Masque of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe until I bought this one. I knew I had to read it to fully appreciate this novel since she based the premise off of the original short horror. Poe paints a terrifying scene disguised in lavish fabrics and hidden under flowing gowns. In the short pages, he describes the horror of a plague. Griffin has done the same in her pages and adds a love story to the mix.

Araby has lost the only thing that mattered to her - her twin brother. She now feels like she has nothing to live for and spends her evenings in the Debauchery Club trying to find oblivion. Things quickly pick up when she meets Will for real, a man that checks her for the disease every time she comes into the club, but hasn't spoken to her outside of that. She figures out quickly that he is not the man she thought he was, he's even better. Then of course, there's Elliott, and he's exactly what she figured he be.

The world we're pulled into to is too real. Plagues have killed off societies in the past and could again, and Araby is living in one. Her father has invented a mask that protects people from the plague - it's porcelain and can only be worn by one person or else it looses its ability to keep your air clean. The masks have become a part of everyone and you begin to read people's expressions through their eyes. Nobody is who they seem and everyone is hiding something.

Elliott enlists the help of Araby to start a revolution. His uncle, Prospero, is the master of the city and he'll do anything to put him in his place. Araby is quickly pushed into a world that she's been trying to get out of. The plot flows perfectly from chapter to chapter, and Araby's adventures keep you turning the page. Whereas at the beginning of the book when she is suicidal and pledges not to experience anything her brother couldn't, both Will and Elliot take her far beyond anything she imagined possible. She gradually discovers something worth living for. 

I've heard mixed reviews about Araby, but I enjoyed her character. The hopelessness she felt at the beginning of the book was all too realistic in a world like that. Who wouldn't feel hopeless and lost in a world where people are dying right in front of you? Her family doesn't appreciate the fact that she is the surviving child and she knows her parents see her brother every time they look at her. Meeting Will gives her hope, even if that hope is false. Will is a wonderful character. He is the kind of person who would do anything to protect his family. That may hurt others around him, but it's that selflessness that is needed in a time like this. Elliott is perhaps the complete opposite and would do anything to benefit himself. That makes him dangerous and attracting, I suppose, but I could see right through him. I know his motives are probably going to get some people killed in the sequel. 

This book caught me from the first page and I fell right in. I felt the dread of the plague. I smelled the dying people on the streets. I longed for hope along side Araby. The ending cut off too quickly, before any of the real action and romance could start and I can't wait to discover what Araby will find in the next chapter. 

“And I'm falling in love with you,' he whispers. "But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals. Do. Not. Trust. Anyone. Especially me.” 

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