Araby has lived the last couple of years of her life in a drug induced stupor, spending her evenings with her friend, April, at the...more**spoiler alert**
Araby has lived the last couple of years of her life in a drug induced stupor, spending her evenings with her friend, April, at the Debauchery Club, a private club where you go to forget the outside world. And what's wrong with the outside world? First off is the plague called the Weeping Sickness, a silent killer that seems to eat away at a body until death. Secondly, Araby is trying to forget the death of her twin brother, Finn, whose death she feels responsible for due to an innocent mistake, and as a result, she has set herself with a promise to him, that she won't enjoy anything in life that he won't now be able to enjoy, which includes falling in love.
Araby's father invented a mask that can keep the wearer safe from the Weeping Sickness, but instead of making the mask available to all, Prince Prospero has turned the manufacture of the masks into a profitable venture, thereby preventing the lower classes from being able to afford masks and being at the mercy of the plague. Because of his invention, however, Araby's father and his family has been able to live in relative opulence, something else Araby carries guilt over. Quite frankly, felt there was a little too much guilt-ridden Araby going on in this book. Don't get me wrong, she's a fine MC, but I'll admit, I found April a sometimes more compelling character than Araby - I'd really like to see a story from April's POV sometime.
Araby eventually catches the eye of both Will, a bouncer at the Debauchery Club, and Elliott, April's older brother, each of whom are interested in Araby for far different reasons. Will sees her as a lost soul, someone that he would like to see rise above her self-imposed vow and begin to enjoy life again. Elliott wants to use her for far more seemly nefarious reasons, and while she doesn't entirely trust Elliott, she decides to help him. Enter the love triangle and most of the emotional impetus that is used on Araby for the majority of the second half of the book.
I've read in several places that Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death is a retelling of Poe's classic tale of the same name, but I can't help but keep thinking of it as a prequel of sorts to Poe's story. Maybe it's just me, but Griffin's story seemed to be leading up to the events of Poe's, putting all the key elements of her story in place to get the key characters in Poe's story into their necessary places for his story. However you want to interpret Griffin's Masque, I recommend reading it. Griffin has created a very unique world, that somehow feels eerily familiar at the same time. The book is not really uplifting; the Weeping Sickness is very real in this world, and people die, frequently, from it. The book carries, quite obviously, a lot of the tropes of current YA books, but still manages to tell a story that is unique unto itself. I just wish those tropes weren't always so obvious.(less)
**spoiler alert** I want to like this book. I really, REALLY want to like this book. But, I don't. I've been working on reading it for the better part...more**spoiler alert** I want to like this book. I really, REALLY want to like this book. But, I don't. I've been working on reading it for the better part of a month now, and I'm only 60-ish pages in, and I simply do not care what is happening in this story. The plot doesn't seem like it should be that challenging, and honestly, it isn't, but it's apparently not engaging enough to hold my attention for more than a chapter (if that) at a time. So, I'm setting it aside for the time being, moving on to other books, and I'm going to revisit this one again later in the year to see if I will like it more then.
SPOILERS Basically, the entire Royal family has been killed, and an ambitious nobleman, Connor, has chosen three orphans, who have a passing resemblance to the long lost and thought dead prince, to be trained in the art of royalty in two weeks, so that one of them can be passed off as the missing prince and rule the country. Connor says he doesn't want anything more than to have his country ruled fairly, and he's not in it for selfish gain. And that's all I've got so far for 60-ish pages and almost a month of trying to read this book. END SPOILERS
Obviously, from the fairly high ratings this book has everywhere, I am in the minority on not liking the book, but it is what it is. I really dislike writing this sort of review, but there are other books out there calling for my full attention right now.(less)