Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review and International Giveaway: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin




In a world where death and decay permeate day-to-day life, Araby seems to have it better than most.  She has a breathing mask to keep contagion away, she lives in a fancy tower and she spends her evenings at The Debauchery Club.  But Araby is borderline suicidal after the death of her twin brother Finn and drugs  herself to oblivion. Can Araby find something worth living for?

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH presents a bleak world where the plague informs everything about people's lives - from fashion (showing non-infected skin is in) to education (only the rich can afford the masks that allow their children to attend school risk-free).  Via the dark, foreboding atmosphere and vivid descriptions of rotting bodies (yes, seriously) I really got a sense for this crumbling society.  (side note: I've seen steampunk fans criticize the world-building, but since I have no experience at all with steampunk, I found the world-building fantastic).

I got less of a sense for the characters.  In the beginning, Araby is clearly primarily motivated by grief.  She even says that she's never kissed anyone because she made a vow never to experience anything her dead twin had not (heart-wrenching x 1000). But I never really understood why she got involved with Elliot's revolution against his uncle Prince Propero (to be fair, I don't think she understood either). Both Elliot and a Debauchery Club staff member named Will are enigmatic love interests who desire Araby but   aren't above using her. Prospero, Elliot's sister April, Araby's parents and the "Prophet" Malcontent are the other major characters - all with very murky connections to each other.

Maybe the best way to describe this novel is to say that I felt it deeply while I read it, but trying to remember it afterwards and sort through the plot in my head makes my brain numb.

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH comes out April 24, 2012.  Find out more about it at the author's website.

I'd like to pass my ARC on to one of my readers, so if you'd like a chance to read this, fill out this form by March 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST.  Open internationally.

See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher

18 comments:

ephrielle said...

I really wanted to read this ARC. It sounds so interesting. Thank you for the giveaway.

Petra @ Safari Poet said...

Great review! It sounds like a great mix of genres. I'm a fan of Edgar Allen Poe, which is what first drew me to this book. Plus I've never read anything with zombies. Thank you for the chance to win an ARC :-)

Safari Poet

Lenore Appelhans said...

Petra - There are no zombies. The rotting corpses are just lying in the street waiting to be taken away and thrown in a swamp full of crocs.

Agnieszka Nashi said...

No zombies, just rotting bodies? That is kind of cool and more dystopian. Which means - totally my style. ;)

And I love the cover.

Evie said...

Let me just say that this cover is amazing!
Thanks a lot for the chance to win an ARC!

Amy S. said...

I love this cover. This book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

Book Whales YA Reviews said...

Thanks for the chance to win!! :D-TheUnseelieNerd

Kathy Ann Coleman said...

This book sounds extremely interesting and I would love an opportunity to read it. :) Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway and very interesting review. BTW, new subscriber. Found your blog in a list of links for Black City. :)

eldritchhobbit said...

Thanks for the chance to win an ARC! I'm intrigued by the Poe connection to this story, as I'm quite a fan of Poe. Interesting stuff!

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

Sounds like a very grim world...

Diana said...

The title is so beautiful! Great story and thank you for the giveaway.

Daisy said...

The story sounds amazing! And the cover is gorgeous! And I love books that make you feel everything along with the characters :) Glad to hear you liked it so much!
Thanks for the giveaway :)

Bookish in a Box said...

This sounds like a great story (although it might've missed the mark in execution) but I'd like to give it a shot.

danya said...

The atmosphere and descriptions sound really well-written — sorry to hear you didn't connect as much with the characters! Thanks for the international giveaway :)

Zibilee said...

This sounds like such an amazing book, and as a reader who just devours literature about the plague, I need to read this soon! Thanks for the great giveaway, Lenore!

Brodie said...

The worldbuilding in this sounds incredible, I am SO fascinated! It's a shame that while it had an affect on you whilst reading, that feeling didn't stay long after. But it still sounds like such an intriguing story! I cannot wait to read it. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Maya Floria Yasmin said...

i want to read this book! thanks for make this international giveaway

Portugal said...

In Masque of the Red Death, which is very loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe's short story of the same name, the author creates a unique and vivid dystopian world. In an unnamed city at an undetermined time (it could be the past or the future; what technology there is seems rather steampunk, but some of the science seems fairly advanced), a devastating plague has killed much of the population. There's still danger of infection, and Prince Prospero rules the city despotically from his castle in the surrounding countryside. The rich have access to masks that keep them from contracting the disease, but the poor can't afford the masks and they have to take their chances every time they go outside. Araby Worth is the daughter of the man who invented the masks. As her scientist father is in the service of the prince, they live in a luxury apartment in the upper part of the city. Araby lives with terrible guilt because her brother died of the plague years earlier. She and her friend April, the prince's niece, spend their nights at the creepy Debauchery Club looking for oblivion.