Kat Kennedy's Reviews > Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
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Oct 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: kat-s-book-reviews, steampunk-supreme, to-ya-or-not-to-ya
Read from July 17 to 28, 2012

Masque of the Red Death took a lot of risks. Firstly, it was based on Poe’s title of the same name. And as every­one knows, gen­er­ally you just don’t go mess­ing with Poe.

Poe with Skeleton

All I’m say­ing is that shortly before this was taken, that skele­ton was alive and very apologetic, but ultimately doomed.

Sec­ondly, it’s a young adult novel that fea­tures drugs, sex and alco­hol. Thirdly, the pro­tag­o­nist, Araby Worth, is suicidal.

After fin­ish­ing it, it doesn’t feel like a novel that I nec­es­sar­ily need to talk about. I really enjoyed it. Dun­can, an edi­tor at Harper Collins, said in the for­ward, “We think Bethany Grif­fin is a star­tling and fresh voice in teen fiction.”

Well, I’ll give them that. I thought Griffin’s writ­ing was well-crafted and strong. She has con­trol over her prose and uses them to great effect through­out the novel.

Masque of the Red Death con­tains that dreaded crea­ture – the love tri­an­gle. Curse it! But it was not hor­ri­fy­ingly painful. As a reader, it’s not some­thing I enjoy and I don’t think it added much of value to this novel – but nor did it cause my eye to bleed and my inter­nal organs to explode, so I think it can mostly be for­given – though the rela­tion­ship aspect does take up a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of this story where I would have pre­ferred, per­haps, to spend more time focus­ing on the polit­i­cal intrigue or intense plot­ting than over which boy may or may not kiss her.

Kanye West interrupting the plot
Plot, I’m going to let you fin­ish in a minute. But this kiss scene is going to hap­pen now.

Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion in this novel is a tightrope over Nia­gra Falls dif­fi­culty set­ting and I think Grif­fin may just have pulled it off. Araby was the most dif­fi­cult char­ac­ter of all. Not just because she was sui­ci­dal and depressed and mopy, but because she has a lot of dif­fi­cult deci­sions to make and most of them impact on the world she’s in. There’s this uncom­fort­able feel­ing that a sui­ci­dal junkie may not be the per­son I’d want to place my hopes in, but some­how I think her warm heart and gen­er­ous spirit bal­anced it out.

The two love inter­ests, what can I say? It’s the usual toss up between Bad Boy and Ol’ Reli­able. But Grif­fin gives a good twist on this and actu­ally makes the rela­tion­ships an inter­est­ing dynamic. The prob­lem was that they occa­sion­ally inter­rupted the pacing.

Steampunk guy
Excuse me, ma’am. Mind if I hijack your story pac­ing?
Image by Avidel

Enjoy­able and highly read­able – I look for­ward to the next one!

This review was also posted on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
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Reading Progress

07/26/2012 page 100
31.0% "It's books like these that remind me why I'm glad I'm not a teenager anymore."
07/26/2012 page 100
31.0% "It's books like these that remind me why I'm glad I'm not a teenager anymore."
03/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Kat Kennedy That's exactly what I thought - but I don't want to get my hopes up. So often a pretty cover on a book these days is the publishing world's attempts to cover a shit with a doily.


Kat Kennedy If I may be so crude...


Giselle Isn't this cover amazing?


Giselle It's a retelling of the Edgar Allan Poe gothic horror.


message 5: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa Doesn't this cover look fantastic? (And Griffin is an impressive writer, at least in contemporaries that is.)


message 6: by Ceilidh (new) - added it

Ceilidh Can't wait to hear what you think!


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Interested to see what you think of this one, Kat. I'm still conflicted to this day.


message 8: by Syahira (new)

Syahira Sharif I have it on my kindle... gonna read it during fasting month


Christal This was a conflicting read for me as well. I wanted to love it but ended up just liking it instead.


Renee This book def had better cover than content syndrome


Rebecca Hope you like this one, Kat! Can't wait to hear what you think of it. Cover's beautiful, I think.


Johanna I read it and liked it. It got a perfect score for worldbuilding :)) Plus, EDGAR ALLAN POE! Woot! Woot!


message 13: by Valeria (new) - added it

Valeria This reminds me of Nevermore so I'll definitely try it.


message 14: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth (^v^)/ Looks really interesting, I'm going to check it out too!


message 15: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer I can't wait to read this!


message 16: by Kel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kel Love triangle... Destroy books


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