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.
Given that Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name, I really had no idea what to expect from this novel except that it would creepy. And it was—deliciously creepy. This is by no means a horror story but the fate of Araby’s city is definitely horrifying. Araby Wroth, a teenage girl haunted by her past, lives in a crumbling city where everyone lives in fear of a contagion known as the Weeping Sickness, and most of the city has died from it. Those wealthy enough to afford protective masks try to lose themselves in lavish fashions, drugs, sex and alcohol—things that a place known as the Debauchery Club provides. Araby Wroth is such a person.
As the heroine of the story, Araby really doesn’t have a lot going for her; she’s physically weak and somewhat mentally instable. That being said, her strength of will is very admirable and makes up for all the rest. I thoroughly enjoyed being inside her dark mind. Araby’s character development is fantastic! I loved how her world view shifts throughout the novel and how that helps her find strength she didn’t know she had.
In fact, I liked all of the characters. They all have these secret lives that make for a very intriguing story with as many twists as the city’s hidden catacombs.
Griffin does an excellent job of making the story suspenseful, but what I found most stimulating was her descriptions of the diseases, of gross symptoms, and the population’s reactions to them. Each time I put down the novel (something that was hard to do, by the way) I found myself momentarily shying away from people, not wanting to touch them. Araby’s fear of the contagion oozes off the page and infects you.
Masque of the Red Death isn’t necessarily graphic (except for the description of the symptoms), but it definitely contains some pretty mature content. A mix of dystopian and steampunk, this novel is thrilling and haunting. It’s definitely something I recommend and I’m excited to find out what will happen to Araby and her dying city in the sequel.
You can purchase Masque of the Red Death from bookdepository.com.