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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Review: The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin and RMQ

Photo Credit: goodreads.com

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.

So I started looking for Halloween-type books to read. I found this on on sale for a promotion and decided to get it a few months ago. Since then, it's been sitting on my kindle staring at me every time I go to the home screen. I thought now was a good time to read it.

This book originally caught my attention because, of all Edgar Allen Poe's stories, The Masque of the Red Death was always the one that intrigued me the most. I wouldn't exactly call this historical, but it's definitely steampunk, which means there are historical elements. Besides it's based on a Poe story, and he's not exactly contemporary...okay, totally stretching, but anyway.

Originally, I thought this would be a zombie book. I'm not sure why. It's just an impression I got from several reviews. I knew it was about a plague, but I thought the plague was turning people into zombies, sort of a 28 Days Later kind of thing. That was not the case. No zombies in this book. The plague decimates the population, and it's pretty nasty--oozing sores and the like--but that's all.

The MC  is Araby. She's a strong narrator, and very flawed. You can just feel how lost she is. She spends her nights with other rich people--one girl in particular--going to posh clubs and getting high while most of the city lies dying horrible deaths. At first, you think she might be having all kinds of one night stands with strangers as well, though you learn as the story progresses that this is not the case, and for a very specific reason. Though as often as she ends up passed out on the floor of the club aptly named Debauchery, it's amazing she never gets raped.

Overall, I really liked Araby. Despite her lifestyle, she spends the book trying to make sense of things and trying to come to terms with her tragic past, the tense family situation at home, and all that's left of humanity. The action in the story was very good. I was never bored, and I found myself very invested in Araby and her situation.

I read several reviews where people said they were disappointed in the ending. Because of that, I think my expectations were very low. In truth, I can see it both ways. If this were a stand-alone novel, the ending would have SUCKED, but it's not. This is only book 1 and I understand why it ended the way it did: I'm definitely going back for book 2. After all, the juiciest part of Poe's story--the locked party of rich, shallow people where the masque of the red death actually shows up--doesn't even happen in this book. The author sets us up for: it's about to happen! Then ends book 1. (Seriously not cool!) But again, it ensures I'll be picking up book 2.

This is told in the first person. There's plenty of conflict, tragedy, and disturbing scenery, which makes it my kind of story. The characters are sympathetic, deeply flawed, and multi-faceted. It's a quick, easy, and engrossing read. One I would highly recommend! :D

What do YOU think? Would YOU consider reading this book? If you HAVE read it, what did you think?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click here.

Today's RMQ is:
"Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!"

One point for movie, one for character, one for actor. Any guesses? Hint: this is supposed to be humorous. :D Good luck!


  1. EEK. I couldn't read your review because I want to read this book. But I think I know the quote. It was the "call off Christmas" that sparked the thought. Umm... Robin Hood starring Kevin Kostner, said by the Sheriff, played by Alan Rickman?

    (I'm bookmarking your review so I can come back to it when I finish this book! ^.^)

    The Authoress

    1. No problem, Amelia! I do that all time when I haven't read a book being reviewed! Thanks for stopping by, anyway! And you're totally right! Three points to you for getting the RMQ this week! I have a post--it's linked to the "click here" line under the RMQ heading. If you keep an eye on it, I'll update it weekly with the names and points of people who've guessed correctly. Great job! :D

  2. Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup and tantalizing ways to forget it all? Sounds lie just what I need. Great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts on what seems to be a book people either love or hate.

  3. This sounds like the kind of story that I like so I'd be intrigued to read it.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Yup, it's pretty dang good! :D Thanks for visiting! :D

  4. Great review :)