Book Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

masque of the red death cover

View from the window seat:
In a world decimated by plague, Araby Worth doesn’t think she has anything to live for. She spends her time with her best friend April at the Debauchery Club trying to find oblivion. But in the club, she becomes entangled with two different men with secrets: Will, who works at the club, and Elliot, April’s aristocratic brother. Araby may have finally found something worth living for.

After finishing Masque of the Red Death, I was left with a feeling of incompleteness. We know that the world has been destroyed by plague, but there’s no backstory to any of this. The world simply is. Maybe this bothered me so much because I just read The Passage by Justin Cronin, which describes brilliantly the devolution of civilization in his apocalyptic world. I wanted more about the plague and why Araby’s world is the way that it is.

I couldn’t find much to get behind the characters either. Unfortunately, we have to suffer through the love triangle of death, with two men who are of course impossibly attractive and attracted to a girl whose main personality trait seems to be emoness paired with a minor drug addiction. The two antagonists, Prince Prospero and Malcontent, are pretty one-note as well.

There was a lot that just didn’t seem to make sense to me. For instance, no one seems to know how the disease is spread, but suspect it’s through touch or the air. Yet multiple times Araby and other characters take off their masks, which are supposed to prevent them from contracting the disease. These people have seen firsthand how horribly fatal the disease is, and they take off their masks to kiss?! You’ve got to be kidding me.

Overall impression:
Masque of the Red Death fell flat for me with its underdeveloped world and lackluster characters.



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