Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin: Review

masque of the red death
Masque of the Red Death
By: Bethany Griffin

A plague has wiped out most of the population, save a few who were lucky (rich) enough to procure masks that can only be used by one person. In the midst of all the death and destruction, a culture of debauchery has arisen to indulge in the pleasures that may be very soon in ending. Araby is the daughter of the inventor of the mask, and spends her nights taking away the pain of the loss of her brother at the Debauchery Club. When she meets two men that break through her apathy, she has to choose when and how she will make a stand.

Masque of the Red Death is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a story that I haven't read, though I have read others of Poe's work. And this is perhaps why I just didn't feel engaged in the story.

The atmosphere in Masque of the Red Death is chilling. It seeps through the pages and is very rich. The world that is created is one of total chaos. Death and sickness run rampant through the streets, but the privileged spend their evenings living in pleasure and indulgence. The two world elements play beautifully off each other. The Prince, as he is known, is terrifying in his power and his demeanor. For the rich, the masks become a fashion item, some of them owning several different masks. The poor have to save everything they have for one, and often have to choose between children, since a mask can only be used by one wearer. All of these elements blend together beautifully.

However mesmerizing the world, I did not care for any of the characters. Araby uses drugs to medicate her sorrow, and that's really all I knew about her character. Elliot and Will were unsatisfying as well. Similarly, I found that characters disappeared and reappeared throughout the plot, seemingly at random, and I found myself losing interest at parts. There just wasn't enough in the characters to really hook me and want to see it through to the end. I even admit to skimming a few sections in the last 75 pages.

Do I feel like I really missed something with Masque of the Red Death? Yes. I've read reviews from many people who really loved the book. Perhaps if I didn't put so much stock in a likeable character I would have been able to really embrace it.

There is a fair amount of drug usage and sexual content in Masque of the Red Death, which would probably be suitable for teens 16 or older.



11 comments:

  1. I feel the same way. I thought that the setting was mesmerizing but the characters sucked. Also, I didn't really believe the love triangle. One of the guys held her over an alligator pit. That doesn't scream lurv to me!

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    1. That really bothered me as well. There just wasn't much to make me like anyone in the book!

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  2. I just can't decided if I want to read this one. :( Unlikable characters and drug use? Meh.

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    1. It was just okay. Maybe check it out from the library if you are so inclined.

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  3. I've heard so many opposite reviews of this book now! Some people have loved this book, and others thought it was just ok. I think the concept sounds really interesting, and like you said, the book seems kind of dark and creepy. But, I'm not really a fan of unlikable characters, and it seems like you didn't really like any characters at all. And I like to connect to characters. =( I'm definitely not going to be buying this book, like I was planning on doing. It's probably going to be a library read for me. Great, honest, review though!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

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    1. Unless you are a Edgar Allen Poe fan, I would recommend checking it out from the library. See if you like it first, and then if you do (like many others have) then go ahead and check it out!

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  4. I've been seeing some mixed reviews about this. It sounds interesting but I'm not so sure. I will give it a go but I'll proceed with caution! Thanks for the honest review! :)

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  5. I always like to read mixed reviews. It helps me to prevent too high expectations. I will give it a try, but I will keep in mind that I don't have to expect much from the characters. Unlikable, mehh.. Drugs use, no no for me.

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    1. She does develop by the end of the book and seems to kick the drug habit. But, I just wasn't connected enough to care what happened to her.

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  6. I can't decide if I want to pick this one up or not. I've never read Poe, so I have no interest there, and I tend to like a lot of what you like. I think I'm going to try to get Abigaile to read it. :P

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  7. I really liked Masque of the Red Death (much more than I enjoyed Nevermore, by the way) and I'm dying to see what happens next. Readers who don't mind a slower, more literary style will like this book, and I think most Poe fans will be happy with it, too. The story pays homage to the original story but doesn't adhere to it too slavishly, instead expanding on the world and imagining what would happen if it were a teenage girl that was caught up in the baroque madness. This strange mix of dystopian-steampunk-gothic-romance works really well here, in no small part because the author does such a beautiful job in creating a decadent, imaginative world for the characters--and us--to lose ourselves in.

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