Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Author: Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: April 24, 2012

Masque of the Red Death is Bethany Griffin's Gothic horror novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It is classified as Young Adult.

Araby Worth's world has crumbled around her - literally. Not only has she and her family lost her twin brother, Finn, to the Weeping Sickness contagion three years previous to the events in the novel, but the disease is still running rampant in the city. Corpse collectors walk the streets every morning for the infected dead, and those who can afford it wear their masks constantly. Prince Prospero rules over the city with an iron fist, with whispers of revolution blowing through the streets. People are disappearing, churches are burning, and some even say that the world is ending.

I found Griffin's Masque of the Red Death to be a grotesquely beautiful reimagining of Poe's original work. It lost none of the aristocratic fallacy or nail-biting suspense that oozed from Poe's terrifying horror story. If nothing else, Griffin expanded upon it, giving depth to the faceless dancers at the original, damned masque.

As its own body of work, Masque of the Red Death picked up some entirely new themes. The main one that stood out to me was the twin theme. One entity represented light and the other darkness, one embodied joy and the other melancholy, and so on. With the opposing twins, there can only be one, and a choice must be made (or made for you). This most certainly applied to Miss Araby Worth on many levels. 

There were some romantic elements and a bit of a love triangle in the story, but it was all so overshadowed by the decaying city that it was not obnoxious or overwhelming. The romance was never unbelievable (if that is possible in a dystopian, apocalyptic novel), and Griffin does not use it as a crutch. Both boys have many strengths, and Araby herself is such a bewitching character that it makes it plausible for both boys to fall in love with her. However, should Araby choose not to stick with Elliot, he is welcome in my home at any time.

Masque of the Red Death will suck you in, hold you, and dump you breathlessly back into reality, leaving you yelling, "Wait! What the Hell is this?!" at it like a mad woman once you finish. Or maybe that's just me. But I don't think so.

Buy your copy here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Be sure to add it to your TBR list on Goodreads!

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.


  1. Awesome cover! Great review...adding to my TBR Goodreads list!

    Thanks for sharing...like the "mad woman" part...thought I was the only to yell at my books at times:)

    Great job!

    1. Thanks! And yes, I talk to or yell at my books quite often. :-)

  2. Sounds intriguing! I'll definitely make sure to check this one out.

  3. I was highly anticipating this novel, especially after reading some awesome reviews from those I trust most in the bookish world. However, even when the masses are fawning over a book, I like to go in with a clear head and no expectations so that I can fully appreciate the book for what it is, not what I've been told it is. Still, I shouldn't have been surprised to be instantly grabbed by this book. Drugs, debauchery, betrayal...this book didn't waste any time getting to the good stuff.


You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!