Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Release: April 24th 2012
Genre: Historical, Steampunk, Gothic, Dystopia, YA
#1 in the Masque of the Red Death duology
Sequel: Dance of the Red Death (#2)
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.
A solid book, if I do say so myself, but then again, I feel like if you don't have that much time to read, and thus only read in small doses, any book can be solid. So, take all of this with a grain of salt, I'm not sure I would say the same had I binge read it in a couple days.
First of all, what bothered me the most was the sillyness of some of it all, and tying in with that, the writing. Some things were just so weirdly described or not described at all that I just didn't have any clue what the hell was happening. Also, there were scenes where I was just shaking my head and thinking that these characters seriously need to get their priorities straight. I mean, I'll forgive one character, one, for any sillyness, and that would be April 'cause it's part of her
job character description to be the shallow friend. Anyway, some other scenes were just strange, like there was one where one of the love interests took off his mask and Araby's as well so that they could kiss, but ... how did he do that? Where did he leave the masks? Did he have them in his hands the whole time they kissed? He couldn't have thrown them to the ground, they would have broken...
Which brings me to my next point, and that would be that this book seriously left me with a thousand questions. How did this contagion even start, and why? Why do the masks work, 'cause I'm not buying it's honestly germs in the air? Furthermore, what about those damn masks, like, are they full face masks? Do they only cover your mouth orrrrr...? These are things that are never truly elaborated on and it aggravated me so much.
As for the characters, I honestly didn't really care nor like them much in the beginning. They seemed very two dimensional and unexciting at first, especially the heroine Araby really grinded on my nerves a lot whenever she held her pity parties and whatnot, but luckily, she really does develop into a far better character during the novel, and by the end now, I can almost say I like her. At the very most, I tolerate her, anyway. The other characters were nicely done for the most part, actually, at least well enough for me to give a nod to Griffin for creating realistic and somewhat nice side characters, at least later on. Like I said, in the beginning, the whole bunch of 'em was annoying, more or less.
However, the romance, or rather the romances were a bit problematic for me. The love triangle was so blatantly obvious right from the start that I thought it over twice whether I really wanted to start this book or not, but ... well. I do have to make one concession here, and that's that I did think it'd be far worse, still, that's not really saying much since I expected the absolute worst. Neither of the relationships were particularly well written much less developed, I liked the way they turned out in the end, but that's really all I can say. I'm strongly leaning towards Elliott if I do have to pick one, because there was absolutely nothing, ever, that Will and Araby had in common or really connected on, whereas Elliott and Araby at least had some common goals and a willingness to believe in and work beside each other, which they also effortlessly did and it was at least believable that some feelings might develop, meanwhile Will and Araby's whole relationship was based on the fact that they thought the other was hot and that Araby got along well with his younger siblings. For fuck's sake.
Anyhow, the pace... For the last approximately 50-60%, it was absolutely perfect, I have to say. I had trouble getting away from the novel and it really pulled my attention, and I read those during the last two days. The chapters always ended on massive cliffhangers that just begged, no, commanded you to read "just one more chapter, one more and then I'll go to sleep." In comparison, however, the first half just... it didn't exactly drag, because I did like reading the book and enjoy it, but I just never felt particularly compelled to read another chapter when one ended or even pick up the book because I wanted to read the book itself, and not just because I wanted to read something in general. You feel me? I don't know, it wasn't bad or something, but it wasn't nearly as gripping as the second part.
So, to sum it all up, I'm definitely going to be reading the second book, starting from right now probably. The end was very cliffhanger-y, but I liked it and I'm very very excited about what might happen in the second book, 'cause I literally have no clue what could happen. Honestly, at this point, anything is possible and I believe this sequel has serious potential. Maybe I'm just setting myself up for disappointment with this way of thinking, but... we'll see, I guess.