Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Published by Greenwillow Books April 24th 2012
Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher.
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
Dark and gripping, we follow Araby as she deals with a reality that is tormented by death. People are dying in the streets from a contagion with an unknown cause and are only protected if they can afford the mask designed and engineered by her father. A city ruled by a self absorbed and callous prince who holds her father like a hostage as well as the death of her brother lead her to escape through drugs and dancing where she meets two men who may lead her to salvation or her end.
Griffin paints a dismal backdrop and life in the world she has created is not an easy one. Araby is strong though she doesn’t believe that she is, or that she is worth anything. Carrying the guilt of her brother’s death is a burden, a heavy weight which she deals with daily. It isn’t until she meets Will, that something inside her sparks. And we the readers begin to feel hope. It’s a small change at first, but one that begins to snow ball into possible transformation. Strong character development and a subject matter which at times feels close to home makes The Masque of the Red Death a riveting read.
(It’s a world that hits close to home because the fact is that wide spread disease where thousands have died has happened in the past and could happen again and this is something that terrifies me. Is it possible to have a world where only the wealthy have access to medical prevention, protection and treatment? (hmmm something to think about-cause this sounds familiar too))