The city has been devastated by a deathly plague, and only the privileged few wear the masks that can keep them from contracting this disease. Araby is one of the privileged. Her best friend, April, has a steam carriage that can take them to the Debauchery Club where they can forget all the scenes of death and destruction, providing alcohol, drugs, and companionship.
April is the niece of Prince Prospero, who is holed up in his castle and controls the masks so that only those in his favor have access to them. Eliott, April's brother, is one side of our love triangle. Araby's father is the scientist who invented the mask technology, and Eliot is trying to organize a resistance movement. He wants Araby to steal the plans so they can mass produce masks. Will is the other love interest. He works at Debauchery, and when Araby gets to know him outside of the club, she realizes how special he is.
April gets kidnapped. There's a rival resistance group destroying the city and threatening to ruin all of Eliot's plans. People turn out to not be what they seem. Araby and Will are summoned to Prospero's castle - a dangerous proposition. Really, just one horrible thing happens after another and the reader must hang on for the ride.
The ending is even more surprising and dangerous, and while there's some sense of safety, it is apparent that it won't last long. The main characters are already plotting their next move. Sadly, I can find no information about the next book!
The atmosphere and fast pacing make Masque of the Red Death stand out. I enjoyed the characters, and I don't really have any specific complaints, but I don't really care about the romance nor do I feel particularly attached to any of them.
I had never read Poe's Masque of the Red Death, so I took a few minutes to do so. It was OK. I see the connection, but Griffin's version is a real, fully developed, intricate story. Poe merely sets a scene which Griffin developed masterfully.
Steampunk, dystopian, and apocalyptic fans should not miss this one. Masque of the Red Death is definitely worth your time. Please, tell me there's more!
Published by Greenwillow, April 24, 2012
Copy won from Bewitched Bookworms! (It's signed!)
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