Summary: 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 around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . 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 is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
Genre: YA Fantasy/SciFi/Horror/Romance
Release Date: April 2012
Where to Buy: Masque of the Red Death is currently on sale for $1.99 digitally!
Source: I purchased a copy for Kindle while it was on sale!
I like the short story Masque of the Red Death by Poe, but I definitely feel like it wasn’t quite long enough, so I loved that the author created her own story around it, rich with detail! I was afraid it would be too teen for me with too much romance with love triangles, but the cover and the synopsis drew me in and I decided to give it a shot. I liked Masque of the Red Death and I’m glad I picked it up.
Araby was one of those characters who intrigued me from the beginning. Despite her rich girl outward appearance, I could tell there was some real pain under the layers. I wanted to know more about her. The way her world worked with the plague being a huge problem, the difference between the rich and the poor, and the way everyone learned to read expressions from behind a mask that kept you alive was so interesting to me. I also loved the way the Prince was connected to Araby and the people Araby came across. It was definitely a well thought out adaptation that weaved original elements of the short story together.
There WAS a love triangle, but I actually kind of enjoyed it. I liked both love interests a lot. Whenever I leaned more towards Will, there are things that Elliott said or did that made me lean towards his side. And I think Araby was the same way. I also liked the way both of them pushed her to be better, less afraid, and more of a person because I’m always a fan of people in relationships challenging each other and making the other a better person. On the surface, she kind of ran from one to the other, but it somehow wasn’t annoying at all.
I’m a bit torn between feeling like the book was magnificent to feeling like it followed a predictable and typical YA formula. I think in most ways, it was both. The formula actually worked for me and it could have just been that I read it at a good time or that the setting and connection to the original story intrigued me so much. I loved the premise, but I also realize that Araby jumped into an entire political scheme for no reason, never really went looking for her friend, ended up at Will’s house for extended periods of time, and was able to steal from her father, who was supposedly being watched. If I think too much, it all sounds hopelessly impossible and unbelievable. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, so I suppose it doesn’t matter that much!
I think I would recommend Masque of the Red Death and I’d continue the series to find out what will happen next. It was a beautifully written story and I’m curious to see how the world will sort itself out. Between the plague and the Red Death and the mistrust and the rebellion, I seriously have no idea what will happen. The last YA novel based on a classic work that I read was much too love triangle and teenager-y for me, so I think perhaps I went into this with lower expectations and it could be why the YA formula worked instead of failed for me.