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Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 by in 4 stars, Book Reviews | 0 comments

Masque of the Red Death

Author:  Bethany Griffin
Series:  Masque of the Red Death #1
Format:  e-Book
Release Date:  April 24, 2012
Dates Read:  July 20-25, 2012

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.

Masque of the Red Death is a delightfully dark gem.  It is gorgeously composed, mysteriously twisted, overtly dramatic.  In a world where modesty has given way to devastation, Araby loses herself in the glitzy makeup, the vivid dresses, searching for a way to forget it all.  She is a lost girl, punishing herself with continued despair for reasons we will discover later, and come to understand.

The plague isn’t the only disease in this place.  The people are too – full of dark lies, secrets and intrigue.  No one is good, everyone has a dark side, there is no black and white.  In a world where you can’t even seem to trust yourself, how is Araby to navigate the troubled waters between the two men whose lives she becomes ever-more involved with? It is one of the few novels I’ve read that can pull off a love triangle simply because you don’t know who to root for.  You’re tossed from one side to the other as each becomes appealing and appalling in turn.  At times, you’re not sure Araby can ever forgive them, but at the same time, you just don’t want her to end up alone.

The seeds of discontent are strewn throughout society.  People need masks to survive.  There are never enough, and only the wealthy can afford them.  Death is an everyday occurrence.  Rebellion simmers hotly in the underbelly of the city, ready to burst.

I was a huge fan of Masque of the Red Death, and I highly suggest it.  It was unapologetically gothic, dark, and full of well-timed twists.  I can’t wait for the sequel, when we finally get to Prince Prospero’s ball!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

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