Review: MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (April 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062107798
Rating: ♥♥♥

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.

My Thoughts:

Never has a book been such an anticipated read of mine as Bethany Griffin's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. Once I read the synopsis and viewed (then stared for endless moments) it's beautifully haunting cover I knew that this book would have to grace my bookshelves.

Always a fan of dark and mysterious reads, I eagerly delved into this novel that promised wicked deeds and romantic intrigue amongst a backdrop that can only be described as New Orleans marries turn of the century Paris and has a gothic plague-ridden baby. A place where only the rich can afford the masks that allow them to walk outdoors and escape worry from getting infected. Abry is a wealthy girl, lost in a city plagued by sickness and the constant crippling memories from a time long past. Her only respite is the moments with her best friend April in the Debauchery club. It is there that Abry can escape the pain from her constant grief and where she finds Will, a handsomely wicked boy that turns her insides to mush. When certain unfavorable events occur leading her to make an alliance with the mysteriously frightening Elliott, and her precarious existence suddenly becomes endangered to depths that she cannot even fathom, and that is only the beginning.

As I began reading MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH I could feel the atmosphere change, the darkness seeping the pages as I witnessed Abry meander around  her dilapidated city trying to find escape from the bleakness that surrounds her. In fact, I found the darkness to permeate this story due to an oppressed feeling brought forth from it's Bethany Griffin's descriptively dark imagery. I could not seem to shake it. Yet, despite the darker tones that I could appreciate I found some questionable moments that would make me laugh and scratch my head. Some things just did not seem to "gel" with me and try as I might I could not seem to get past them. 

As for the characters in this book, none stand out more than the evil Prospero. My goodness he is a character that you can sink your "hate" teeth into and really enjoy it. I admire a well written villain and he is at the top of charts with evilness. As for the boys, I will admit that I have a weak spot for Elliott, the ever elusive and complex boy that keeps Abry in a constant spin. I always enjoyed having him on the pages before my eyes and cannot wait to see how his story progresses in the next books.

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is a read that will quickly consume you. Dark and sumptuous with moments of nail biting intrigue and one you will not soon forget.


  1. I remember this book or reading one like it in high school over 20 years ago. Would love to check this one out.

  2. I am a big fan of SUPER BAD villains as well, like you said, the ones you can sink your hate teeth into. Also? I loved the dark atmosphere of Masque. It sucks that parts didn't gel for you, though. :-(


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