Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death

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Masque of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death, #1
Release date: April 24th, 2012
by HarperCollins

Goodreads / Purchase

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 clubโ€”in the depths of her own despairโ€”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 forโ€”no matter what it costs her.

*A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review purposes*

Masque of the Red Death has been my most anticipated book of the year since I discovered it last September. I was obviously first attracted to it by its cover, followed by its premise that talks of a gothic setting, a plague apocalypse, and a Debauchery clubโ€ฆ need I say more?

As far as steampunk novels go, this is easily my favorite. I absolutely loved the atmosphere throughout the story. The ruined city, the dangers in the streets, the masks, the disease; it’s dark and it’s dreary, with intricate details that had me truly envisioning this world in disrepair, full of mortality. The always present danger of this easily contracted <i>death</i> is palpable. It gave me shivers and made me cringe. Bethany clearly did not falter in her world building. Its unwavering somber ambiance constantly propels us in a dying world so different from our own, yet, frighteningly not inconceivable.

Inside this disintegrating world lives Araby. Living with the guilt of losing her twin brother, she’s dealing with her grief in form of punishment by not experiencing life to its fullest. Or at least, nothing Finn didn’t get the chance to. This, to me, was incredibly sad. I felt sorry for her especially because she is blinded by her despair; incapacitated. However, when she meets Will with his gorgeous looks, and Elliott with his master plans, things start to improve. Both of these guys are full of charm; even through my misgivings, I kept a liking for both of them. Their vast differences make them both terribly appealing, while their intentions left me with unabated curiosity and doubt.

I would not consider this a very fast paced book. Nevertheless, the prose kept me completely mesmerized along with the vastly detailed world and likeable characters. The writing is noticeably elegant; the beautiful flow creates an experience where a fast pace is not necessary to enjoy its execution. But I still wouldn’t have minded digging a little deeper inside the fundamental plot line instead of only getting twists (albeit fascinating) that lead to a big foreshadowing of what’s to come.

Since I haven’t read Edgar Allen Poe’s original work, I can’t comment on the comparison, but I was positively impressed with Bethany Griffin’s <i>Masque of the Red Death</i>: an exquisitely woven tale both lavish and ominous.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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30 Responses to “Review: Masque of the Red Death”

  1. Nick

    This seems like a really good book, Giselle.
    I’ve been reading mixed reviews lately and I’m glad I came upon your positive review!
    I hope I’ll enjoy it!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Giselle ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Amy

    Great review chick!! Glad you enjoyed it. I thought the writing was just fantastic!! I am very interested to see where it goes from here.

  3. Emily

    Yay I’m so glad you liked this book. Steampunk is becoming my favorite genre and this book is one of my favorites. Great great review! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Carina

    Lovely review, Giselle! I’m almost finished with MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and really enjoyed it, too, although I’m somewhat missing a connection with the characters. Let’s see whether the ending will make me want to rate this 3.5 or 4. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thanks for sharing, hun!

  5. J.R.

    This is one of the books that I can hardly wait to get my hands on. Thanks for the heads up about it not being exactly a fast paced book:)

  6. Sophie

    Great, great review! Now I’m even more excited for this book. Gosh, I have to read it as soon as it comes out. I also haven’t read the original story by Edgar Allan Poe, but I’m ready to feel his characteristic creepiness! lol

  7. Tiffany

    I really enjoyed this one as well! I loved the atmosphere of the book too. Both Will and Elliott were very charming, I was torn between them throughout most of the book but in the end I ended up leaning more toward Elliott. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Awesome review ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Danny

    So happy you liked it! I also haven’t read any of Mr. Poe’s work so I cannot compare it to his work. I was a little disappointed in the characters to be honest, I specially had a hard time dealing with the way too tragic and too naive Araby. The ending however was great and makes me wish to read the next when it comes out.

  9. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley)

    OH! I enjoyed this one too and was thrilled to have an opportunity to read it early. My favorite parts were the world-building and the Debauchery Club. I also loved Will SO MUCH. Great book! So glad you liked it!

  10. Sam

    I recently finished with this book and agree with a lot of your points. I thought the world-building was wonderful too and found myself almost equally torn between Elliot and Will. I wish there had been a little more substance to the ending though. Great review, Giselle! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Fairytale Nerd

    I’m actually reading this book right now. It’s kind of slow for my taste. ๐Ÿ˜€ But what’s amazing is that, despite that it’s slow, it keeps me interested.

    Great review!

  12. Aneeqah

    I’ve heard almost all amazing things about this book. I’m really excited to read it- the whole concept just sounds amazing! Also, the writing seems to be great, so that should add alot to the story. =) I usually like fast-paced books, but I still think I’ll enjoy this one, because I like to read slower books sometimes too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the great review!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  13. Lexie

    Lovely review! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m so happy you enjoyed this one. This is also one of my most anticipated reads of 2012, so I really want to love it. I think between the fantastic world-building and the lovely prose (I am a sucker for beautiful prose), I’ll be a big fan of this.

    Plus. Edgar Allan Poe. *-*

  14. Sophia

    I wasn’t as blown away by this book as other bloggers were, but it was still enjoyable! I’m glad you liked it, Giselle. It was certainly dark, ominous, and intriguing. Wonderful review, Giselle! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Lalaine

    I absolutely agree with you its not fast-paced but the narration and language used was pretty amazing, I could not put this book down. Great review Giselle! <3


  16. Janiera

    You’ve never read Edgar Allen Poe’s original work???? Blasphemy! lol Great review and I can’t wait to read this but seriously go read his work. He is my favorite author. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Jessi

    The atmosphere and writing style with this one were spot on. I agree that it’s definitely not a fast-paced book, which is often a turn-off for me, but this one worked for some reason. I think that I was really drawn to the details. Great review. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    You’re not the only one mentioning the plot, actually. I’ve never actually sat down to read his work either, but we’ve gone through a few things in school and I’m definitely curious to see how she’s managed in this one! I’m SUPER intrigued. o: Seriously. *picks it up*