Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of Red Death

by Bethany Griffin

Book 1

YA, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Steampunk

Hardcover

ISBN 9780062107794

love love love Edgar Allan Poe’s works.  They’re creepy, and twisted and so weird.  Annabel Lee is one of my favorite poems.(I went to put in one line, but couldn’t pick just one, so you get the last two stanzas, enjoy)

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we—

Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

 

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

So beautiful, so tragic, so creepy!

So when I saw this book and heard it was inspired by EAP’s short story Masque of Red Death, I was all over it.  The book is set in an indeterminate time and place.  While at times it seems that the story is as if the plague in the 1300s spread farther and affected the whole world, they have some modern-ish technology like electricity and tall buildings.  However, they never mention cars or planes having ever existed.  So let’s just say the time and setting is completely fictional.  Like I said before, the premise of this book is that a horrible and deadly plague has “decimated the population” and left everyone else afraid to even be near other humans.  The rich can afford to wear specially designed masks that allow them to breathe the infected air without becoming sick, and to pay the poor to go out into the world for them.  The poor live in squalor, many not able to afford masks for their children.  The disease is highly contagious and corpse collectors are a common sight on the streets.  They live in a society ruled by Prince Prospero, who is rumored to be a little crazy.

Araby, our narrator, is one of the rich, her father in fact designed the masks that saved many lives.  She lives a protected life in the Akkadian towers with her parents and the memory of her dead brother.  To escape the terror of everyday life, Araby and her friend April go to the Debauchery Club, for drinking, drugs, and everything else that name suggests.

Ok, so I loved this story, but the writing isn’t all that great.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to be so interested in a story line that was so poorly written.  The narration jumped around a lot.  It almost felt like stream of consciousnesses, but not really. I didn’t understand some of Araby’s feelings and motives, they just weren’t explained.  I mean, I understand why she feels responsible for her brother’s death, but what makes her feel her parents wished it was her instead of him?  And please someone explain to me why she would ever trust Elliot!  Seriously, the guy’s an ass-hat and more than a little psycho.  I almost understand her trying to help him because they kind of want the same things, but I have no idea why she would begin to care for him.  I guess we needed the requisite love triangle.

So why did I like this story?  The society they live in is dangerous, they can’t trust anyone, there is a disease they can catch at any moment, there is a man out there trying to create a mutiny.  And then there is Will.  Definitely team Will from the beginning.  I don’t even know why there is any question, okay well there is one thing…

And for the Edgar Allan Poe tie in,this book creates the backdrop for what’s going on in the kingdom while Prince Prospero is having his lavish party.  I am interested in how the next book(s) fit in all this.

And I have to say how much I loved the way this book was put together.  The edges are slightly frayed, it looks a bit worn and old.  And there is this smoke image going through the chapters.

And read this first line…

IMG_2162

Isn’t that a great first line?

The second book The Dance of Red Death comes out in April and I am looking forward to it.

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