Book Review: The Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1) by Bethany Griffin

Reviewed by: Siobhán
Format:  Paperback
Pages: 336
Published:  2nd Aug 2012
Publisher: Indigo
Source:  Publisher for Review
Genre: YA Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic
Buy: Amazon UK I Amazon US I Book Depository UK I Book Depository US

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.

The Masque of the Red Death is a book that everyone seems to have read already. And they all seem to rave about it. So I had very high expectations and I think that was my downfall. I should know better to not have high expectations for any book that way I won't be disappointed but I did for this and sadly it just didn't wow me.  That being said I still did enjoy the book especially the second half. It was intriguing and dark and I like anything set in 1800's even with a steampunk/Post-Apocalyptic twist.

Masque is a retelling of the Classic by Edger Allan Poe, I am ashamed to admit I have never read the original even though I have it. So I really can't compare this to the original but it has made me want to read Poe's work. Set in 1870 and North America is plague with a deadly virus. Our protagonist Araby Worth is a seventeen girl who espaces the death and crumbling world around her and the guilt of her brothers death by going to The Debauchery Club and taking drugs to forget everything. She is living a half life, being there but not really there. Not until she becomes involved with Will, a worker at the club who captures her heart. However, when she is introduced to Elliot she learns things about her city she never knew. Araby is thrown into a world of rebellion, danger and a new virus that could kill them all.

Well Araby Worth is flawed, very flawed infact, not exactly a role model but I think that is what makes her a perfect protag! I get really sick of the goody goody protags in books because they are usually unrealistic and I can't connect to them. However, Araby I could connect with and that is why I like her. We get to see her developed as a character throughout the book. Learning about her life and her feelings. Getting to experience her opening up to Will and sharing things about her past that she has never told anyone. Will, oh my goodness!!! He is so yummy.  And cute and lovely and yeah, swoon worthy. He works at the Club and has a tough guy look to him with sexy tattoos but he is really a big sweetheart who looks after his younger brother and sister and if that doesn't melt your heart then I don't know what will. Elliot, he is a fantastic character. He wants to overthrow him Uncle (who is in charge of the city) and rebuilt the city. So he has that rebel appeal to him. Will loves Araby but Elliot grows to care for her aswell.

Masque is a seriously dark and gothic novel and I really liked that aspect. However, I didn't really get into the story until about halfway through. I found that start even though intriguing enough to keep me ready it just didn't grab me completely. I really think that was being I read so many amazing reviews that I thought I would be hooked straight away. Sadly I wasn't,, for me the build up for very slow and didn't really get exciting until the halfway point. Once I got into the story I have to say I was captivated and invested in these characters that I was honestly feeling all of Araby's emotions.

Bethany Griffin has created a good gothic retelling that has got many readers gushing over it. And even though I am didn't 100% love it I do recommend it. Esecially if you enjoy your stories dark and dangerous.

Cover Talk:
Ok I have to admit before I had read this book I was 100% in love with the US cover. I thought it was beautiful. However, now that I have read the story I am torn. The UK cover fits the story. The mask plays a very important part in the story. And the blood, it is creepy but again very important. The Cover is very simple but bold and captures just how truely dark this story is.

Rate: 3/5


  1. I ADORED this book so, SO much and it does help when I'm already obsessed with Poe's work . . . so it's pretty much a win-win with me and this book.

    Anyway fab review! Can't wait to read the sequel next year!

    1. Maybe if I had read the original I don't know.

      I will read the next book! Have you seen the cover? I noticed the US one up on Goodreads. not sure if I like it.

  2. Reading the original story would have just left you confused. Poe's "Masque" is one of my favorite Poe stories. However, this novelization isn't very true to the story. It shares a Poe-tone, and some of the ideas, but it's a very loose adaptation.

    I came very close to putting this book down by page 40, but I managed to stick it out. Which I'm glad about because I did enjoy the story. But I feel like you, it's not my favorite, but it is still one I recommend. In fact, I passed this book right into the hands of my teen librarian when I finished it.

    Excellent review.

    1. Its one I had to push through but the 2nd half was very good. Need to stop putting expectations on books so I'm not disappointed. Lol.

  3. I have to admit, I didn't finish. I find that as I get older, my patience diminishes. Not that it has to be all flash and action, but if I'm simply not into a story I'll stop reading. Better to find a new book I can genuinely sink my teeth into.

    1. I have the 100page rule. If nothing interests me by page 100 I stop reading.

  4. I really enjoyed this one too but I agree that the second half was way better than the first.
    I too, loved that the main character was so flawed. It is nice to see that in novels once in awhile.

    Great review!

    1. Yeah, I liked a flawed character. They are refreshing :)

      Thanks for stopping by


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