Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
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First off, I'd like to thank the magnificent Willowfaerie for her magnificent review of that inspired me to get off my @$$ and finally review this Amazon Vine ARC.

Secondly, I was PLAUGED with this book from Amazon Vine. I couldn't find a MASQUE anywhere that could PREVENT this DISEASE.

Thirdly, while I have adopted a new 25% rule, I didn't use it on this book for two reasons. Number 1, I like to make an effort to read Vine books all the way through, and Number 2, I was too engrossed by the WTF in this book to give up.

With that out of the way...

OH. MY. GOD! This book was dreadful. My 100+ status updates (filled with gif spam) can kinda of show the mind-numbingly awfulness of this book. I almost don't know where to begin.

No, wait, I do. Araby Worth...LESS. Araby is our protagonist, our main character. I would call her a "heroine", but she's more like "heroin". There is very little redeemable or likeable or even just interesting about her.

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Woe is me, my life is so horrible - I haven't gone to Hot Topic in three whole days!

In the agonizing beginning half, she whines about EVERYTHING. She hates on her "best friend", April (who, BTW, is by far one of the best characters in this book). She complains about her friend saving her from jumping - and then whines when a boy she likes saves her out of obligation. She whines that her dad hates her - and then he takes her on a walk, or gives her a poetry book, or basically looks the other way as she proceeds to betray him and expose him to his enemies. She hates on her mother, whom she considers "pathetic" and "weak". She whines about the death of her brother. Oh, and she makes really odd promises - such as not to experience anything her brother won't. Which might not seem to weird until you start realizing the rules. Sex and kissing is off-limits; drug use and wearing corsets apparently is OK (Hey, maybe Finn would have wanted to wear a whalebone corset, who knows?!). Honestly, I wasn't surprised at the vow; I was more surprised at how it was so general, but then applied only to the specific instance of kissing or having sex - very convenient for sexual tension, eh?

And "sexual tension" there is. In spades. Because like ALL Young Adult books - paranormal, urban fantasy, dystopians, and all the books, such as this one, that try to pass off as any of the previous ones - HAS to have a Romantic Triangle. AT LEAST.

The two carboard cutouts - I MEAN!! - romantic interests that plague - POPULATE! - this novel are BoyToy1 (Will) and BoyToy2 (Elliott). (I refuse to acknowledge they have names and "character".) They are basically the only characters that Araby ever respects or trusts or believes - even when she claims she doesn't trust or believe them. The only real difference between the two is that BT1 has two CUTE ADORABLE WIDDLE siblings - you know, to show how kind-hearted and tender and caring he is, while also providing some much needed DRAMAZ over masques and sh!t - and the other is a pyschopath. No really - he dangles Araby over crocodile-infested waters and tells her that, while he may be falling in love with her, he would totally feed her to the crocs, because Rebellion before broads, man. I mean, wouldn't YOU TOTES fall in love with a guy like that? (Oh, right, she doesn't "love" BT2 - she just MIGHT be believing/trusting him. While she listens to his every order and never asks any questions and basically lets him push her around. Yeah, I'm not buying that either.) But he has SCARS! He was held prisoner by his uncle, Prospero! He was ABUSED! Therefore, he needs a little woman to make all his boo-boos go away and feel better!

More of this book is dedicated to Araby being with one of these lifeless hunks of manflesh than to any "dystopia" or "steampunk". In fact, there are several wasted pages with Araby and Will basically playing house with his CUTE WIDDLE siblings (who don't act like any children I've ever seen before). All while her mother has been captured and her father is in hiding. Because the best time to snuggle up to BT1 while wearing his shirt to sleep in is when your family is missing!

Oh, God, the villains. God, the villains. I swear, Prospero and the Reverend came from "Dummies Guide to Villains". The only way to make them worse would be to have them twirl their mustaches and chuckle, as they kicked a sick puppy down a staircase into crocodile-infested waters. Seriously. Prospero even has villain teeth - nice and stained.

But - and I know this is hard to believe - I didn't hate all the characters. Mother, Father, and April were actually my favorites. Mother I felt was misunderstood. In actuality, I see her as a tough woman (we find out that she went through a lot of crap and didn't burden her worthLESS daughter with the details). She worries over her daughter, whom she sees is in pain, but she doesn't know how to help her. So she does her best with the tools at hand. (Not to mention, she's probably also coping with Finn's death?) Father was awesome; he's that bad @$$ absent-minded professor. He really cares about his daughter, but he blames himself for all the deaths and the death of his son, so he locks himself away physically and emotionally. When he does try to reach out to his daughter, his daughter is so locked in herself, she just shuts him down. And then there's April. I didn't think I'd add her to my favorite characters, but when she makes quips about the redness of her lipstick and then shoulders a musket and fires down a ladder on an airship and HITS the guy she was aiming at - yeah, why wasn't she the protagonist again?

I guess the story is supposed to be about rebelling against Prospero and the Reverend. But that would require the book to be a dystopian. Instead, this is yet another romance masquerading as a dystopian. Throw in a villain, make it hundreds of years in the future, have people dying and voila! Insta-dystopian!

Most of the book is watching Araby be an idiot. The first half, she stumbles around Clubs, acting like a moron and forcing other people to save her. The second half, she lets a man she barely knows tell her what to do, expose her AND HER FAMILY to danger, and forces other people to save her. Oh, and this guy she lets order her around? That would be psychopath BT2 - you know, the one who said he'd throw her to the crocs for his Rebellion. Yeah. As I was reading one stupid thing after another that she doesn't, I couldn't help but think:

And now, let's talk about diseases. And masques. And how the frak does this one work? So, lemme get this straight: the people wear masques to prevent disease. OK, I get that. But then, there is no way to keep the inflicted away from the healthy? Uh...quarantine anyone? And then everyone takes off their frakkin' masque for anything - to breathe (because you can't???), to kiss, because it's itchy, because it doesn't look good with leather - I mean, seriously, if this is the big way to keep from getting sick, then WEAR THE DAMN MASQUE ALREADY! This isn't rocket science!

But no, wait! Now people are squeamish about touching infected. Because now it's transmitted via contact?

I suspect the germs crawled off his lank brown hair and infested everything.

RIGHT! That's how disease works! Germs ride on a person's hair and when they meet their victim, they get off and leap onto their victim, thus infecting them!

And then add in how apparently BT1 and Araby can ride in an air balloon ABOVE the disease, and I have absolutely no clue about anything anymore. I honestly think the disease is transmittable via PlotContrivancitis.

I'm starting to run out of steam, but I have one more area I must address before I end this novel-length review. Steampunk. Steampunk has a very unique feel and look. In short, steampunk should look like this:

or this:

or this:

NOT this:

It has clocks on it - STEAMPUNK!

or this:

See?! Whalebone corset! TOTALLY steampunk!

or this:

Anything Abe Lincoln must be Steampunk...right?

I don't read just to snark on books and give them bad reviews. I really want to love every book that I read. But this book just did not mesh with me. At all. The most enjoyment I got out of it was all the gaping I was doing at how dumb Araby acted and the completely predictable nature of the book. I personally don't recommend reading this unless you are up for snark bait. I most certainly will not be seeking out the next book in this trilogy.
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Reading Progress

04/03 page 1
0.0% "Trying to weed through the backlog. This is an ARC from Amazon Vine, so I may fudge on the new 25% rule."
04/03 page 4
1.0% "Inconsiderate, vapid female "friend" that the female protagonist has for no damn good reason, that out protagonist spends time criticizing for not being as compassionate as our Special Snowflake? CHECK!!" 2 comments
04/04 page 5
1.0% ""I don't know why she seems out my company." With the way you think of her, neither do I. Oh dear...this isn't going to be one of those books where I have something to say about each page, is it?"
04/04 page 5
1.0% ""I'm barely alive. I stare into space and whimper in my sleep. When I'm awake, I contemplate death, try to read, but never really finish anything. I only have the attention span for poetry..." Ah, the emo-whiny teenager that populates LiveJournal, begging people to give her attention. An I going to be stuck in HER brain this entire time? *headdesk*"
04/04 page 7
2.0% "Okay, at least Araby realizes she is beautiful and isn't ashamed to like clothes. I hate these female protagonists who think they are ugly and hate clothes."
04/04 page 8
2.0% ""I try not to look at him. He could make me happy. His attention, a hint of admiration in his eyes...I don't deserve happiness." Enter boytoy *headdesk* why are you doing this to me, book?!"
04/04 page 9
2.0% ""Oh, and next time you should wear the silver eye stuff. It'd look better on you than it does on your friend." WHEW!! I was afraid for a moment the hero wouldn't be a complete d-bag - worry no more!!"
04/04 page 12
3.0% ""I want to hear songs about suicide." Well, darling, keep using needles from strangers and you won't have to contemplate suicide - you'll be dead. This Araby is f-ing obnoxious. She makes Bella Swan seem mentally stable (YES I WENT THERE!!!)." 2 comments
04/04 page 16
5.0% ""She thinks she saved my life." But she didn't, because I'm a whiny emo brat but way more compassionate than THAT vapid girl who is for some stupid reason still my friend. *headdesk*" 4 comments
04/04 page 19
5.0% ""It's the only time he says my name." Waaaaaaaaaaah! My life is SO HORRIBLE!! My dad hates me!! (BTW, I can't remember the last time Dad ever used MY name when talking to me and he doesn't hate me.)" 9 comments
04/05 page 24
7.0% ""He stopped being interested in me a long time ago." TWO PAGES LATER: "'I thought you might like this,' he says. It's a leather-bound book of poems." YUP, sounds like the gift of someone who is NOT INTERESTED in her. NOT!" 2 comments
04/05 page 27
8.0% ""'Imaging what it would be like to jump'...I had tried to hide my suicidal thoughts from everyone..." How? By blurting them to a girl you don't know? Brilliant, Araby! Seriously, I cannot keep bringing up every stupidity or I'll never finish this damn book." 9 comments
04/05 page 27
8.0% "OK, I have page flags so I can actually make some progress in this."
04/05 page 30
9.0% ""She doesn't offer to help me pick up the contents of my purse. It isn't something she would ever think to do." Because April is EVIL and not PURE and HOLY like you are." 4 comments
04/05 page 31
9.0% ""I made a vow to avoid the things that Finn will never experience." Well, you've already grown up AND shot yourself with drugs. I don't think Finn has done either. So you might want to think about rephrasing your lame excuse for "creating sexual tension" for later encounters with your boytoys."
04/05 page 32
10.0% ""But I'm not in the mood to be around happiness." And yet the last time you came here, you were equally depressed and had no trouble being around happiness."
04/05 page 35
10.0% "BOYTOY#1 has stupid younger siblings. To make him more desirable or some such sh!t. It's really working *NOT*!!"
04/05 page 36
11.0% ""He brought me here for the good of the club. Not to save me. At least, not because he likes me." There truly is no pleasing you - you despise when April saves you, but when your BOYTOY doesn't, WAAAAAAAH!" 4 comments
04/07 page 37
11.0% ""I realize that he doesn't use eyeliner after all; his eyes are that dark and that amazing." How do you confuse eyeliner with dark eyes?!"
04/07 page 39
12.0% "I really hate how she's po'd at him because he saved her for practical reasons instead of TWOO LURVE. Does every teenaged relationship have to have a "fight" like Pride and Prejudice?!"
04/07 page 41
12.0% ""I want to touch his hair, push it back from his face." Are you sure - wouldn't you rather be emo and depressed? "Is Araby your girlfriend?" THIS is why I HATE teenagers having younger siblings. They are ALWAYS thrown in to make embarrassing comments like that or show how "tender" and "kind" our BoyToy is. BLECH!!!"
04/07 page 44
13.0% ""I can't give one if mine to the children. Once you breathe through it, it is useless to everyone else." What the...HOW THE FRAK DOES THIS MAKE SENSE OMG MY BRAIN IS SHUTTING DOWN!!!" 9 comments
04/08 page 49
15.0% "Boytoy makes sacrifice to get our stupid, mopey, useless female MC home? CHECK. Cliched, unrealistic, "cute" children want our stupid, mopey, useless female MC to come back and play? CHECK. Insulting April? CHECK. Boytoy doesn't consistently wear mask which makes NO SENSE why he doesn't A) lose his job or B) get the plague? CHECK! This book is full of stupid."
04/08 page 50
15.0% ""So I haven't been the only one to notice how attractive he is. Jealousy burns through me..." WTFBBQOMG MY BRAIN HATES ME!!! You don't even frakking know this idiot, and you are JEALOUS because *GASP* other women have EYEBALLS?!" 2 comments
04/08 page 50
15.0% ""The richer you are, the farther from the ground you want to live, right?" WHY?! Because it keeps you farther away from the plague?! WHY NOT FRAKKIN' MOVE OUT OF THE CITY THEN???"
04/08 page 50
15.0% ""But there's something different about you." And OF COURSE, BoyToy finds SOMETHING super speshul about the most NOT SUPERSPESHUL MC!! Kill me now!"
04/08 page 51
15.0% ""Will leans forward, pulls off his mask, and kisses my forehead." Because taking off his mask in the middle of an infected city is totes OK, even though you are likely to die horribly. Consistency - who needs that crazy sh!t?!"
04/08 page 51
15.0% ""He'll forget he ever spoke to me. he doesn't realize that I was out all night, or he doesn't care. Either way, I feel unequivocally sad."

Emo kid is Emo

04/08 page 54
16.0% ""Does she have survivor guilt too, or just survival hatred for the daughter who lived?" Given she HUGGED YOU WHEN YOU CAME HOME, FRANTIC WITH WORRY, I'd say it was the FORMER. Twit. " 2 comments
04/08 page 54
16.0% "A) I am surprised I have read this far, this fast into this terrible book. B) The last time I remember going this nuts with the status updates was with LKH's "Incubus Dreams". Narrowing to YA only: "Unraveling" C) Will I run out of emo gifs for this book???" 2 comments
04/08 page 55
17.0% ""[Mother]'d trade her living child for her dead one in a heartbeat."
04/08 page 57
17.0% "A note saying "Meet me at midnight" falls out of Araby's poetry. My first thought is it is from her dad; my second is BoyToy. What does Araby think? "Oh, that must have been for someone else AGES AGO?" What a stupid @#$%@#!!!" 1 comment
04/08 page 62
19.0% "Enter BoyToy #2. Because a "dystopian novel" (HAH to that!) is not complete without at least two MeatHeads to compete for our MC's affections."
04/08 page 62
19.0% "I am just stunned how many characters in these books are only a couple of years off from the MC's age. Will is in his late teens; so is Elliot. And I think Araby is 16? Are there ANY 20-somethings or 30-somethings who are NOT parents of these nitwits in these worlds???"
04/08 page 62
19.0% ""April said we could trust you, so I'm going to." With the way April has been personified as a careless, selfish, vapid b!tch, I'm surprised her brother would take her seriously. And once he met Araby, I'm surprised he decided to follow through - I wouldn't trust this emopunk."
04/08 page 64
20.0% ""I asked April to bring you to meet me so I could see for myself how fearless you are." Araby...fearless?
04/08 page 64
20.0% ""He's so different from my father, who is quiet and always afraid." Afraid? Her dad? Seriously? He's more obvious than afraid. I think even if people went up to Araby and said, "I AM DEATHLY AFRAID", Araby wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about."
04/08 page 65
20.0% ""Will you help me, Araby Worth? I need someone like you. Willing to take risks." RISKS?! The only risk Araby can take is to shoot up with a dirty needle! GOOD GOD MAN!!"
04/08 page 65
20.0% ""I have an idea. A suggestion for your new government...Free masks. For the children." WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS? What if the rebellion dies before it ever establishes itself as a new government? You are a moron, Araby - I am running out of ways to say that!"
04/08 page 66
20.0% ""Is that who I m? A tragedy?" Yes, you are a tragic waste of paper."
04/08 page 66
20.0% ""Whoever can make the masks can defeat the disease." How does this make sense? It just means you spend the rest of your life walking around with a mask, not that the disease is defeated. The person who develops the ANTIVIRUS would be able to defeat the disease, not the mask maker!! GOD!"
04/08 page 67
21.0% "Father mixes a sleeping draft because Mary Sue screams at night (what good Mary Sue with nice DRAMAZ doesn't?!). Deff sounds like a guy who doesn't care about her!!"
04/08 page 69
21.0% ""Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I press my feet against the floor. It doesn't move, so I dare to stand." Given the bed didn't slide through a hole or just fall out from under her, I think this was a slightly unnecessary precaution."
04/08 page 69
21.0% ""Mother whimpers. I won't succumb to fear. I clench my teeth. Mother is ridiculous. I won't be like her." Oh, being afraid of something natural like DYING FROM A BOMB AND SHOWING IT is "ridiculous"?! But being an emo PRAT isn't?! You disrespectful, arrogant, self-righteous little b!tch!! I've tried to restrain from calling you a b!tch, but you are one!"
04/08 page 70
21.0% ""'Desperation and apathy are all we have left - Sometimes I wish gunpowder had never been invented,' [Father] says. I stare at him, shocked. This is the man who lives by science." Science-y men aren't allowed to have ethics! They are all ruled by PURE LOGIC. And that means inventing for the sake of inventing. They are NEVER ALLOWED TO EXPRESS REMORSE FOR INVENTIONS because emotions like "remorse" do not exist!!"
04/08 page 71
22.0% ""Stealing the plans for Elliott could upset this balance that keeps us free." How much ya bet that she's gonna upset that balance faster than you can say, "Bob's your uncle"? Because betraying your family and putting them in danger for a BoyToy's Wang is totes awesomesauce!!"
04/08 page 72
22.0% ""At lunchtime the cook assures me that she sent my care package to my friends in the lower city." Because it's way more important to show compassion to the cute younger siblings of BoyToy#1 than to comfort your scared Mother.
04/08 page 73
22.0% ""'Mother gave me money. I want to buy a child-sized mask.' Father writes instructions on a slip of paper and then signs it." Yup, Mom and Dad hate Araby. They just gave her money to buy a child-sized mask and NEVER ONCE ASKED HER WHAT SHE WAS GOING TO DO WITH IT. Totally horrible, uncaring, unloving parents."
04/08 page 74
23.0% ""You're so grown up. I always meant to have a portrait made. It's one of my greatest regrets, waiting until it was too late." Yup, Father definitely doesn't care about Araby in the slightest - I mean, people who hate you and don't care about you tell you how grown up you are and how they regret not having a portrait made of you ALL THE TIME!!"
04/08 page 78
24.0% "Um, Araby...I think it's pretty obvious A) your dad knows what you did and is letting you off easy (Because he hates you, of course), and B) BoyToy#2 was involved in the bombing that destroyed the mask factory where you wanted to buy a mask for BoyToy#1's younger brother. This isn't rocket science, sweetheart."
04/08 page 80
25.0% ""I could ask him if he calls on many girls. But then he might think I care." And obviously you do - good God, does EVERY BoyToy of yours have to be monogamous and disliked by every other female minus you?" 2 comments
04/08 page 81
25.0% "How in the frak could he be "passionately in love" with Araby? He just met her! And how the frak are the parents SO STUPID as to fall for that ploy? Is everyone's brain made of Jell-O???" 1 comment
04/08 page 82
25.0% ""Elliott thinks my pained expression is caused by the state of the city." How the frak can he see your "pained expression"? If you are wearing your mask, how can it possibly protect you from disease? If you aren't wearing...WHY THE FRAK AREN'T YOU WEARING IT?!"
04/08 page 82
25.0% ""I'm going to betray my father, and I hate myself for it." Time out. You met this guy MAYBE 24 hours ago. BUT you are going to BETRAY YOUR FATHER and possibly have him PUT TO DEATH because you met this pretty BoyToy who tells you he is totes OK and wants to give masks to widdle children. " 2 comments
04/08 page 82
25.0% ""The liquor burns going down, but I don't grimace. 'Good girl.' His admiration warms me. 'You aren't what I expected.'" So being able to drink an alcoholic beverage without grimacing is such a great accomplishment that it merits even mentioning? Does NO ONE have ANY SORT OF PRIORITIES in this book?" 6 comments
04/09 page 86
26.0% ""'We might walk together later,' Father suggests." Yup, the sign of a man who TOTALLY DOESN'T CARE or love his daughter."
04/09 page 87
27.0% ""In the years since we adopted the masks, we've become adept at reading the expressions behind them. Eyes and eyebrows are the best indicators. To know when someone is smiling, I rarely have to see his mouth." So the mask DOESN'T cover the whole face? How does it protect from inhaling the plague? What kind of seal is around the mouth/nose?"
04/09 page 87
27.0% ""I agree to everything he asks. I won't show him any weakness now." So you'll mope for years because of a dead brother, but a guy you met two seconds ago makes you SUDDENLY want to start taking control of your life?
04/09 page 88
27.0% ""'Risking contagion is a stupid way to live,' I say." So is injecting yourself with potentially dirty needles and taking orders from a guy you barely know.
04/09 page 88
27.0% ""I put my hand up to his face...I would pull my hand back, shocked that I'm standing here touching him, but he looks so vulnerable." And I really need to get laid. And I would rather trust a guy I just met than my PARENTS WHO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT ME!"
04/09 page 98
30.0% "Elliott's BEDROOM is in the Debauchery Club? Wouldn't that be NOISY? Wouldn't you want to be AWAY from the "ickiness"? And where is the "debauchery" in this so-called Debauchery Club?"
04/09 page 100
31.0% ""They would have discovered that I wanted the book and guessed why. They won't be able to question you the same way." So you just put Araby in danger, potentially subjected to the torture at the hands of bad men just for a book? A book you "couldn't get" because your Uncle would know - and yet Araby won't be under ANY suspicion at ALL even though she's the scientist's daughter?"
04/09 page 102
31.0% "So destroying churches makes people look to the church for guidance? And subject to the manipulations of a self-proclaimed reverend?
04/09 page 103
32.0% "And BoyToy#2 has scars. To show how tortured his life is and how EVULZ his uncle is.
04/09 page 106
33.0% ""...but instead of the flower, I look at him, feeling light-headed and odd. Happy. I think this feeling is happiness." Because a man's Wang can heal depression.
04/09 page 107
33.0% "The true heroine of the book is April - she fled the book as soon as she found an out!!"
04/09 page 109
34.0% ""Driving through the city could be dangerous. We should spend the night here." Why am I not surprised that BoyToy2 would say that? Didn't Araby and April hit the town when it was night? Wasn't dangerous then."
04/09 page 110
34.0% ""I hate the mock intimacy in Elliott's voice, and that Will is hearing it and might think it's real." Because a guy you've barely talked to but constantly line over gives a sh!t about your stupid relationships."
04/09 page 110
34.0% ""He's looking at the syringe. I had forgotten about it lying there on the table." If Araby were a REAL USER, she wouldn't "forget" about her next hit because a Wang entered the room." 2 comments
04/09 page 111
34.0% ""And then for a moment, everything goes dark. Something blocks the moon." What about the carriage's headlamps? Do they not exist now?"
04/09 page 113
35.0% ""'You don't even really like me.' 'You underestimate yourself.' 'No. I don't. My parents don't even like me. They wish that I had died and my brother lived.' WAHHHHHHHHHHH! My parents don't love me! My mom just gave me money WITH NO QUESTIONS so I can buy a mask for Boytoy1's brat sibling and Dad walks with me and gave me a book of poems. I AM SO UNLOVED PITY ME BOYTOY2 AND SHOW ME SOME LOVIN' if you know what I mean" 4 comments
04/09 page 116
36.0% ""Elliott is willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of this plan, I am beginning to realize. And he thinks I am, too." THIS is why you should get to KNOW someone before signing up for their revolution, idiot girl!
04/09 page 116
36.0% ""...the only person I've actually seen blow things up is Elliott. I'm not sure that I like him, but at least he is doing something." Even if that something means my father (who hates me enough to give me presents and walk with me) dies a horrible death. You know, this book would be SO MUCH BETTER if Araby finds out ELLIOTT is the bad guy and is arrested. She can mope forever in prison."
04/09 page 118
36.0% ""'If it is safe, Araby, perhaps you will walk with me.'" I so don't love you, Araby - that's why I want to walk with you and spend time with you! Because I hate you and wish you were dead!
04/09 page 118
36.0% ""Father adjusts the collar of my coat. 'You should have a scarf.'" Not that I care about you, of course. I hate you and don't care about you - that's why I adjust your coat and say you ought to have a scarf!"
04/09 page 121
37.0% ""Clever to make the symbol of the rebellion so close to the symbol for the disease. Unless you are looking for it, you might not register the difference." You changed the color. That is all. I would think seeing a BLACK SCYTHE instead of a RED ONE MIGHT be a bit obvious. But I'm not Araby "Dumb as Brick" Mary Sue Worth(less)."
04/09 page 123
38.0% ""I'm glad I'm not in love with Elliott, too. That would be...disastrous." As if taking orders and doing assignments for him after knowing him all of ONE DAY isn't?! And who wants to bet she'll end up "IN LOVE" with the turd by the end of the book?" 3 comments
04/09 page 123
38.0% ""The other guards move in carefully. They don't want to touch the man [who is diseased]." But isn't the disease transmitted via the air? And aren't the guards wearing masks? So why are they so flippin' concerned about the guy? Blast him out of the sky or tackle him! Good grief - get some consistency!" 5 comments
04/09 page 128
40.0% ""Those men were murderers before death became a daily occurrence." The death happening in the city is supposed to be mostly from a disease. And what, does death like this suddenly make them NOT murderers anymore? Or less of murderers than before? HUH?!"
04/09 page 128
40.0% ""The mask became acclimated to me, the way that they do, and wouldn't work for Finn." First off, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Usually a prototype is VERY ROUGH, not oddly specific AND ADAPTABLE! And second - while generally I love the father, HOW DARE HE only make ONE MASK so that his daughter feels guilty when she wears it and outlives her brother!! He SHOULD have made TWO. (Maybe that's why he's so gloomy!)" 5 comments
04/09 page 130
40.0% ""'I'm sorry that you lost him. And that you've chosen to punish yourself because of it.' It was my fault." It is your fault because your father made only one mask (and one that somehow bonded to the first person who wore it) and your brother refused to wear it?
04/09 page 133
41.0% ""He's said my name twice, within two breaths. I could almost acquiesce when he says my name like that, as if he cares."
04/09 page 134
42.0% ""I've brought them here. Through my interactions with Elliott, or through some other mistake. Somehow this, too, is my fault."
04/09 page 136
42.0% ""I hate the way [Mother] ignores things that upset her." Unlike you, dealing with your problems in a mature, healthy manner...oh, WAIT!"
04/09 page 140
43.0% ""My parents' eyes move over my face, as if memorizing me." Yup, sounds like the actions of people who hate her. (And yes, I realize this is probably obnoxious...but I have to read her constantly whinging about how her parents "don't care" and wish her brother was alive instead of her. I figured I'd pass along some of the pain.)"
04/09 page 141
44.0% ""Father loves me. Elliott does not. And I've betrayed Father at Elliott's request. I close my eyes as the city rushes by." That decision seems REALLY WORTH IT now, doesn't it?
04/09 page 143
44.0% ""But Aprill is in there, and she would go inside for me. I'm sure of it." Wait, wasn't this the girl who didn't think about helping you pick up the stuff spilled from your purse? How do WE know she'd help you out, other than the story about her saving you from jumping off a cliff? We've barely even SEEN April this book!"
04/09 page 144
45.0% ""Sometimes I have a hard time not trusting you." Why DO you trust him?! You've only just met a couple of days ago and he's forced you to betray your father!
04/10 page 144
45.0% ""Don't trust me. It would make me feel even worse if you got killed." So A) he is expecting if she dies, he won't, and B) God forbid SHE does something to make HIM feel bad."
04/10 page 145
45.0% ""Do not tell my uncle anything about either of our parents." And then he introduces her BY HER FULL NAME, and the uncle talks about her father. So WHY wasn't she to talk about her parents again???"
04/10 page 148
46.0% ""The prince smiles a frighteningly kind smile. His teeth are stained." Because one thing "Jedi Trial" taught me, ALL EVIL BAD GUYS have sh!tty dental plans."
04/10 page 150
47.0% ""Elliott keeps his hand on my leg while we eat. I want to brush it away." And Elliott violates personal boundaries. Oh, and Araby is too stupid to enforce those boundaries. Yay for rape culture!!"
04/10 page 152
47.0% "Araby's "job" in this "revolution" is a f-ing go-fer. Does the girl do ANYTHING significant other than retrieve sh!t?!"
04/10 page 157
49.0% ""'We should practice. Every time I put my hands on you, you freeze. People are certain to notice.' He pulls me close. 'Some girls enjoy...' I push him... 'I'm sure they do, but you just called those girls fools, and I don't care for unexpected intimacy.'" Damn straight, respect her boundaries d-bag! (Unfortunately, he proceeds to justify his forced intimacy! ASSSSSS!!!!)"
04/10 page 157
49.0% ""He yawns, still stroking my hair. It feels good, and with him beside me I sleep deeply for the first time in years."
04/10 page 162
50.0% ""...I meet his eyes in the mirror. They are bluer than ever in the light streaming in through the window." Why can't anyone have plain old blue eyes? Why always something super spangly?" 17 comments
04/10 page 165
51.0% ""Mother was a hostage...and I've treated her horribly." YES YOU HAVE, you ungrateful, wretched twit. And you thought she was gallivanting away from the family because she was selfish - you selfish little brat!!"
04/10 page 167
52.0% ""I thought [Prospero holding Araby's mother captive] was the reason you never wanted me to touch you, because of my uncle and your mother." NO, because that would make too much GORRAM SENSE and make Araby not look like some whiny emo brat!! GAH!!! STOP POINTING OUT HOW STUPID ARABY IS!!" 5 comments
04/10 page 168
52.0% ""He eases the syringe out of his pocket...I shouldn't accpet it. I know that, but I need to stop thinking for a little while." (BTW, this is JUST BEFORE she meets up with the bad guy again.) Yup, this is TOTALLY how a druggie acts. Casually deciding to take a hit as if she is choosing what color of shoes to wear.
04/10 page 175
54.0% ""...with no warning, he wraps his arms around me and lifts me. He twists my body up and over the low railing on the side of the boat, dangling me out over the water." THIS IS THE MAN YOU DECIDED TO TRUST AND BETRAY YOUR FATHER FOR. Is it WORTH it Araby Worthless?"
04/10 page 176
55.0% ""And I'm falling in love with you. But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals." That is NOT the actions of a man who is "falling in love" with someone! This is a psychopath who needs to be run from! And Prospero is supposed to be the bad guy! HAH!"
04/10 page 176
55.0% ""I consider the syringe and feel an odd burst of strength. 'I don't need it.'" Drug addictions are SO EASY to get over. I mean, you just decide, when the drug of your choice is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, that nah, it doesn't sound like such a good idea.
04/10 page 181
56.0% "You cannot put women in whalebone corsets and have people travel around in steam carriages and call the book a "steampunk" story. Seriously, where is the steampunk in this story? Occasionally, the author will sparsely describe some steampunk-y thing (steam carriages and the "clockwork" breathalyzer), but this is NOT a steampunk in my book!!"
04/10 page 181
56.0% ""My mask was never off, except when Elliott was kissing me." Must be so nice to slip these things off whenever it suits you. Or to have someone disregard your health so much as to take off yours. That guy REALLY has your best interests in mind, doesn't he?"
04/10 page 182
57.0% ""The bastard may have poisoned you." If Araby hadn't been such a moron to DRINK the f-ing wine Prospero gave her, maybe she wouldn't be in this mess. (And WHY is this not withdrawal symptoms? This is the easiest, breeziest drug addiction EVER!)"
04/10 page 182
57.0% ""I'm not stupid."

04/10 page 183
57.0% ""But I can't trust that Elliott meant it when he said he was in love with me." He dangles you over crocodile infested waters and said he would feed you to them for his rebellion and somehow you STILL have a hope that he loves you? Are you brain-damaged, Araby?"
04/10 page 186
58.0% ""I couldn't protect April, but I swear I will protect you." Even though I said maybe a day earlier that I would throw you to crocodiles for my rebellion and held you over the side of a boat where you could have fallen and been eaten by said crocodile. Can't you feel the love???"
04/10 page 189
59.0% "Sooooo BoyToy2 hates the mask and is constantly removing it. He then proceeds to snog Araby. Shouldn't Araby be concerned that BoyToy2 could have given her the disease? Oh, that's right, we still have no clue how the thing is transmitted! It's passed through PlotContrivancitis!!"
04/10 page 190
59.0% ""I've put them in so much danger. I want them to comfort me, to tell me everything is going to be okay. Even Mother. Especially Mother." With the way you've been treating or thinking or talking about your parents YOU DO NOT DESERVE THEM!! You deserve to be alone and miserable, wallowing in your own self-pity, you WORTHLESS little b!tch! And now when YOU YOU YOU are feeling bad, you want Mommy and Daddy! WAAAAH!"
04/10 page 190
59.0% ""Removing Father's journal from my bag..." Oh, yeah, that's still in there from 50 pages ago. Because let's pick things up and forget about them to snuggle with BoyToys in the middle of enemy territory. FUN!"
04/10 page 197
61.0% "Brilliant plan, Araby. Let's go out, just before nightfall, into a dangerous part of town to deliver a mask to BoyToy1's brat younger brother. Oh, and I wanted to add: I know I've spammed the feed a lot with this book, and I'll try REALLY HARD not to post EVERY quote or instance where this book p!sses me off. I PROMISE."
04/10 page 203
63.0% "OK, time out!! Araby went to ALL that effort to deliver a mask to BoyToy's brother - and she leaves it in a building. She falls, sprains her ankle, ends up bleeding - and when she finds BoyToy1, she TAKES OFF HER MASK???
04/10 page 203
63.0% ""I promised myself that I wouldn't ever experience the things...that Finn won't." You know, like using drugs, getting drunk, looking at porn, hanging out with guys who hang you over a crocodile-infested river, wearing whalebone corests, riding in steam carriages - you know, the things Finn PROBABLY NEVER EXPERIENCED." 2 comments
04/10 page 210
65.0% "Her parents are gone, vanished, with no sign - but she's wearing her BoyToy's shirt to sleep in (because it's not like she's ever slept in a dress *GASP*) and hanging with his kid siblings (oh and BoyToy picked up the box, saving the day and being all Macho Man to Dimwit Damsel in Distress), so everything is totes awesome. Every page I read decreases my IQ by at least 10 points." 3 comments
04/11 page 211
66.0% ""The children watch [the ball], mesmerized by the satisfying bounce, the sound it makes as it hits the earth." As if they have NEVER thrown a ball IN THE HOUSE in their entire lives. As if their first reaction ISN'T to run around and throw the ball. THIS is why I hate fictional children - they DO NOT act like any normal children!!"
04/11 page 212
66.0% ""The club is closed because of the upcoming expedition." Well isn't that convenient. So BoyToy WON'T get FIRED for skipping out on the job because WORTHLESS popped on by. MUST BE NICE."
04/11 page 218
68.0% ""Their cabinets are stocked with food. I smile. I've helped." OK, so I haven't talked much about it, but the writing is painfully simple like this. It almost feels like a much younger person is narrating. And there is so little description! I feel like I am walking around in a black world with vaguely defined shadows - not a vivid world like you might think a steampunk should be!" 2 comments
04/11 page 219
68.0% "Whaddya bet BoyToy1's brat brother is sick and a cure must be found for the enigmatic disease that people have taken the time to find a prevention but not a vaccination or anti-virus? "Just keep reading, just keep reading!""
04/11 page 221
69.0% ""He doesn't want to expose Henry to dangerous germs" but he has a mask now so isn't that supposed to make everything hunky-dory???? "Just keep reading! Just keep reading!"" 1 comment
04/11 page 225
70.0% ""There is a new illness. You know how plagues are - they wait a few years before mutating into a plot contrivance. And because we figured we might as well being in the Red Death from the GORRAM TITLE. Because scientists will name a brand new disease immediately, but take eons to find a cure.""
04/11 page 228
71.0% "This book is kinda sexist. Araby constantly needs to be saved (I don't think she's ever actually saved herself), and she ONLY finds worth in being a pseudo-mother figure to boyToy1's kid siblings. She also takes orders from guys almost unquestioningly."
04/11 page 230
72.0% ""I deserve a few more hours with him. Deserve to know what it's like to kiss him, before our world goes up in flames." All this drivel while her mother is captured, possibly being raped by Prospero, and her father is in hiding. But that's not important - Araby needs more time with her BoyToy!! That's all that's important. Priorities!!"
04/11 page 233
73.0% ""I pull Will's coat closer around me, hoping he won't be cd without it. I am ridiculously pleased to have something of his." Given that is likely his only coat, while you probably have a closet full - you selfish, horrible little girl!"
04/11 page 237
74.0% ""I wonder...why I believe [Elliott]." I wonder that too. I haven't STOPPED wondering that."
04/11 page 239
74.0% ""I'm not sure what is deeper, my disgust with myself for wanting oblivion or the wanting itself." Wait, what? You actually are WANTING a hit?? A drug addict who is feeling withdrawal? Say it ain't so!!"
04/11 page 241
75.0% ""'How could you not have told me?' I whisper. 'That [Mother] was a prisoner?'" Oh, I don't know. Maybe because: "Hey, kids! Gotta tell you about Mom! She's being held captive and probably being raped daily by the evil guy who owns the city and could kill me in a heartbeat!" isn't the proper thing to say to a 13 year old. Maybe."
04/11 page 248
77.0% "Araby can't keep her hands on a box; handing her a sword is a useless effort. Not to mention, dumb as brick will probably just stand there and gawp, holding the damn sword uselessly, forcing one of her BoyToy's to save her."
04/11 page 253
79.0% ""He hands me Will's coat, and I put it on gracefully, as the remnants of my dress fall to the floor." She's now running around nekkid?! Seriously?!"
04/11 page 257
80.0% ""I have never, in all the years of our friendship, seen [April] turn away from a mirror." Uh, unless she's stood in front of a mirror for the last few years, I think she HAS. Why, oh why, couldn't this book have been told from April's POV?! She's barely been in this book, and yet she's a way better character!"
04/11 page 267
83.0% ""We can take off our masks. The air is safe this high up." Huhwhat abjisnsbabvjjj?!? There is SO LITTLE consistency with this contagion, it's not even funny."
04/11 page 277
86.0% "WHERE IS THE FRAKKING PLOT?! Did it fall off a cliff? Did someone forget to put it in here? Because the parents thing is dropped, the revolution thing is dropped, and the only todo item is to get to the ship. Whoop-de-frakking-do. Not enough to carry this book."
04/11 page 279
87.0% "Araby, worst judge of character and most likely to be kidnapped and completely helpless to do ANYTHING to save herself. OUR PROTAGONIST PEOPLE!"
04/11 page 282
88.0% ""I suspect the germs crawled off his lank brown hair and infested everything." Because that is how viruses work - they crawl onto people. *headdesk*"
04/11 page 305
95.0% "I have no clue what the point of anything I'm reading is at this point. Stuff is just happening to happen. At least before, there was a focus, even if it were stupid." 3 comments
04/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Is this book at all Poe inspired? It's the same title as one of Poe's famous and very well done short stories.

Crystal Starr Light Aubrey wrote: "Is this book at all Poe inspired? It's the same title as one of Poe's famous and very well done short stories."

I do not know, and I didn't know this!! Thanks for that input!

message 3: by Willow (last edited Apr 03, 2013 11:45PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Willow Aubrey wrote: "Is this book at all Poe inspired? It's the same title as one of Poe's famous and very well done short stories."

Yes, it's definitely Poe inspired. The evil bad guy in charge is named Prospero.

I can't imagine the series following Poe's story all the way through. After all, everybody dies in the short story.

Although, if she did follow the original story and killed everybody off, I would look at this series in a whole new way..

Crystal Starr Light I have a bit more respect for an author who can kill off characters. It's not easy - you get attached and want them to live happily ever after. But life isn't always that way, and a good, nicely done character death can help bring things into sharp focus.

message 5: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Willowfaerie wrote: Yes, it's definitely Poe inspired. The evil bad guy in charge is nam..."

Thanks for letting me know this! It makes me nervous because Poe is one of my heroes, but I might just give this a go!

Michelle Elizabeth I've always been jealous of people on Amazon Vine, but I guess this is one of the downsides of Vine, huh? Ocassionally you are obligated to read stinkers! XD

Crystal Starr Light Michelle Elizabeth wrote: "I've always been jealous of people on Amazon Vine, but I guess this is one of the downsides of Vine, huh? Ocassionally you are obligated to read stinkers! XD"

If it makes you feel better, I've only really found a couple of really amazing books on Vine - most of the books end up being 2 or 3 stars. (In comparison, non-Vine selections are more likely to be 3 or 4 stars.)

The other bad thing about Vine is you have to review a certain number of the items you request. Which means plugging through and reading something that you might give up within a couple of chapters (or alternatively, reviewing just the portion you read, which can cause backlash).

So, Vine like anything has its pluses and minuses.

Willow LOL I love it! You had the same problem with your review that I did. There was too much wtf to name it all without writing a novel.

Excellent review!

And that was sweet of you to mention me. :D

Crystal Starr Light Willowfaerie wrote: "LOL I love it! You had the same problem with your review that I did. There was too much wtf to name it all without writing a novel.

Excellent review!

And that was sweet of you to mention me. :D "

Thank you!! Yes, it's amazing to see how similar our thoughts are on this book! I honestly could have gone longer, but I was starting to run out of steam - all those status updates and all ;)

And you are welcome! You were the one who inspired me to read this; I absolutely had to mention you in my review!

And thank you for also helping me out of a mediocre book slump! While I didn't enjoy this book as in "What a great book - I enjoyed myself!", I did get passionate about what I liked and disliked, which was great. It makes reviewing a bit easier, more invigorated.

Willow I'm kind of amazed at the reviews on this. When I went on Amazon, the most popular review was by someone who loved this dark Poe book. Yet she slammed Nevermore, which I loved. In Nevermore the heroine loves and respects her parents and she hates to see people picked on. The rules for the author’s crazy Poe world fit together (which is rare). I guess the reviewer liked 'Masque' because it was darker. But I'm still totally baffled. I guess we all have wildly different tastes.

Crystal Starr Light Willowfaerie wrote: "I'm kind of amazed at the reviews on this. When I went on Amazon, the most popular review was by someone who loved this dark Poe book. Yet she slammed Nevermore, which I loved. In Nevermore the heroine loves and respects her parents and she hates to see people picked on. The rules for the author’s crazy Poe world fit together (which is rare). I guess the reviewer liked 'Masque' because it was darker. But I'm still totally baffled. I guess we all have wildly different tastes. "

Huh, that is strange. I haven't read "Nevermore", but I really didn't find this book all that dark. I mean, Araby hardly acts like a drug addict at all. And while I felt that the setting was really dark, I think most of that was due to them always being outside at dark or twilight and the lack of description of the surroundings.

To this book's credit: at least Araby isn't whining about nothing. Her brother's death is pretty harsh, and I can understand some of her actions (such as the silly vow) in regards to that. Her saying her parents don't love her when they clearly do - yeah, that I don't get.

Looking back through my friends, a lot of them gave this about 3 stars. For them, it seems the dystopian steampunk worked, and they could get behind Araby's voice. Huh. Strange.

message 12: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Your steampunk comments remind me of this video:

message 13: by Ferdy (new)

Ferdy The more reviews I read of Masque of the Whatever, the more dumb it sounds.
Araby comes across as a like a silly cow of the highest order and the boytoys sound even worse.. Am I meant to find a love interest that threatens to feed the heroine to crocs romantic and swoon worth?! Just WTF?! Ugh.
And why the hell does Araby make such a dumb vow?! Who the fuck decides not to have future relationships/sex and other stuff because a family member dies? It's so dumb.
Great review btw!! BORAT!!!

Crystal Starr Light Lucy, that is a PERFECT way to describe my reaction to the steampunk in this book!

Crystal Starr Light Thank you, Ferdy! Yes, Araby IS a silly cow; she's incapable of defending herself, makes stupid choices, and only seems to care about herself or her boytoys - and of course one of them is that a-hole type that is so popular in YA! And then the whole sex thing! GAH!!

Is it such a shame if we have a female protagonist that occasionally DOES something? Who doesn't make stupidly vague/specific oaths about sex and intimacy?

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

Shae To me, this book seemed like she sold it on concept and then had VERY little time to write it. It was just a rushed mess. I also couldn't figure out the time period for the longest time. Was it post-apocalyptic? Was it steampunk? Cause they are so two different very genres that are difficult to capture the feel of on their own, let alone together. They just...don't work in this book.

Crystal Starr Light Shae wrote: "To me, this book seemed like she sold it on concept and then had VERY little time to write it. It was just a rushed mess. I also couldn't figure out the time period for the longest time. Was it post-apocalyptic? Was it steampunk? Cause they are so two different very genres that are difficult to capture the feel of on their own, let alone together. They just...don't work in this book. "

That does sound very possible; there were so many elements that felt rushed or not fully fleshed out. Sorta like you might expect from someone who is, excuse the phrasing, "writing by the seat of one's pants". "Ooooh, let's put in this!" and "Well, now I need a character to do that!"

And I agree, it was very confusing to have two pretty disparate genres combined. Steampunk typically is set in a Victorian era, while post-apocalylptic typically connotes a return to a pre-technology era - assuming that even steampunk tech would be beyond the culture.

Of course, I don't think either were done that well. The steampunk felt kinda tacked on, and the post-apocalypse was a bit confusing.

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