Tuesday, April 24

Masque of the Red Death: Book Review

Masque of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
Greenwillow Books
April 24th 2012
Young Adult | Horror

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 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 boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
I picked this book up based solely on its link to Edgar Allen Poe. Now there is an author that can chill you. I had not previously heard his work Mask of the Red Death so was open to this.
There is death everywhere but I didn't feel its power seep off the pages. I care very little for any of the characters. To begin Araby is extremely annoying and whiny. I don't agree with her thought processes and don't care if she falls into trouble. She apologizes to all the wrong people at all the wrong times. She is a waste of precious space. Elliot is a jerk. He is full of his own importance as well as the importance of his plans. I don't trust any of his promises. He is a ticking time bomb that cares not for what it will destroy. I just don't think his feelings are real. No matter how the story might try to prove else wise. Will and the two kids are the only redeeming spot to this book. I wanted to put the book down after chapter seventeen. That chapter closed up so perfectly it was like the sweetest of dreams. Please don't wake up you chant to yourself. Alas, it was not meant to be as that bubble is popped quite forcibly near the end. Araby does improve upon closer acquaintance. She begins to take on the spot of a character you could rally behind. Even so the story moves a bit awkwardly. Just when I was ready to mesh with the moment or the character the setting or pace jumps. This happened so frequently that I gave up trying to understand.

*Spoiler Section*
Both Will and Elliot are actually the same. There I said it. Let me break down my thinking for you.
Will: (Wow, did that betrayal come out of no where fast. My brittle connection was snapped not enough to be blind to Elliot and his brand of wacko.)
Protecting his siblings
Would sacrifice her
Doing secretive things

**Honestly befriending her

Elliot: (I really didn't want Araby to end up with him but at the end I could care less if they all die.)
Protecting the people of the city
Would sacrifice her
Doing secretive things

**Using her for his means

**Seem to be the only real differences. Though that wouldn't be hard to change considering the situation they are in.
*As a note it must be mentioned that Mr. Darcy has been beat. Elliot now holds the record for worst love declarations in my book.

"He twists my body up and over the low railing on the side of the boat, dangling me out over the water. I go limp with shock.
"Don't look down,"he hisses. "The water is swarming with crocodiles. Do you know that they pull people under the water, lodge them beneath a rock or a fallen tree to snack on later? . . .
"And I'm falling in love with you," he whispers. "But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals."
By the time Araby and Elliot become a couple I was just done caring. Yuck. Why would you want a guy who would feed you to the crocodiles and teach you how to hold a sword. I thought the teaching seemed suspiciously like beating her for liking another guy. "Here let me teach you that you will like no other guy than me and while I am at it I will take your clothes off with my fancy sword play". I think I may have rolled my eyes and banged my head on the table at this point. And then he compounds it by locking her in. Hello! He is just like his creepy Uncle. First her mom is locked in the tower with pretty dresses and now it is her turn.

*Spoilers Ended*

After reading this I enjoyed a little research into Edgar Allen Poe's version and am a little thrown. This book seems to be a setup to the original.  I am just not feeling drawn into this crazy world. I want to desperately desire life for these folks. But death is no respecter of persons and is mowing them down willy-nilly. I find I care very little if even the main characters die. I didn't get pulled in as much as I thought I would. There were great moments but there were choppy waters in between and my mind wandered. It seems like a fair representation of the dark and dreary death Poe was trying to portray. But as the stage has only set and the story has yet to begun we are in for a show. Let the blood flow, but perhaps I will step out and excuse myself.