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Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death

4.3 63
by Bethany Griffin

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This grim tale tells of a city beset by plague. Everyone has to wear a protective mask, and corpse collectors come around every morning to dispose of the dead. Araby Worth lives a nihilistic existence centered around partying and taking drugs at the exclusive Debauchery Club, though she is careful never to kiss or sleep with anyone as she has vowed never to experience anything that her dead twin brother, a plague victim, would be unable to experience. This resolution is tested by two young men. Elliot is the nephew of the evil ruler, Prince Prospero (one of the novel's nods to Poe's original story), who is determined to save the city and willing to die trying. The other, Will, is more of a simple sort, trying merely to keep his younger brother and sister alive amid all the death. Both boys find themselves distracted from their goals by Araby and her irresistible beauty. She is not just any girl, however; her father invented the masks that are the only protection against the plague, and whose production is entirely controlled by Prince Prospero. The plot, set off when Araby steals the design plans for the masks from her father's study, is complicated, involving multiple underground rebel movements, the emergence of a second plague, and dark secrets about almost every character. As the novel ends with the plot unresolved and the main characters in danger for their lives, one can only assume there will be a sequel. Recommended where appetites for horrific postapocalyptic futures remain insatiable.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
Publishers Weekly
This gothic adventure reimagines Poe’s classic story of the same name as a full-length YA adventure. The world has been devastated by the Weeping Sickness, a disfiguring and often fatal disease staved off only with specialized masks and obsessive preventive measures. The rich hide in their towers and party in the notorious Debauchery District, the poor scrape by, and the despotic Prince Prospero rules with an iron fist. Araby, the 17-year-old daughter of the mask’s inventor, is traumatized by her brother’s death from the plague, hiding from her feelings while partying. When she meets Elliott, the prince’s nephew and a would-be revolutionary, and Will, who works at her favorite club, Araby must choose her destiny and follow her heart, while a new disease rages and the city burns. Griffin (Handcuffs) delivers a seductively dark, decadently disturbing look at a society crumbling from within and without, infused with a romantic, steampunk air and Poe’s own morbid sensibilities. Themes of science and faith weave through a story that draws from Poe’s original while standing assuredly on its own. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (May)
Melissa Marr
“Haunting and beautiful, disturbing and thoughtful, this is a book you’ll be thinking about well after the last page is turned.”
Lauren Destefano
“Luscious, sultry and lingeringly tragic, this story has my heart. I can’t stop thinking about this tale of a broken world held together by corsets and clock gears. Araby’s voice stays with me even now, making me wary of the air I breathe.”
Suzanne Young
“Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death is gorgeous, compelling, and achingly romantic.”
VOYA - Joanna Lima
On the surface, Araby Worth's life resembles that of a typical wealthy teen: in her penthouse suite atop Akkadian Towers, she shares glittery makeup and trendy clothes with her best friend, April, as the two primp and preen before a night of partying at a hot downtown club. Between drinks and drugs, Araby escapes the helplessness she has felt since the death of her twin brother, Finn, and hopes to glimpse her crush, mysterious Will with his silver tattoos. But this is not the Upper East Side, and the gossip in the Debauchery District is about who has contracted the contagion rather than who is hooking up with whom. Araby's father is the brilliant scientist who invented the porcelain masks that protect those who can afford them, but no citizen is spared from the sight of corpse collectors making their daily rounds. As whispers of rebellion against the city's ruler, Prince Prospero, grow apace with death and disease, Araby is drawn into a complicated relationship with Elliott, Prospero's nephew and the leader of a rebel group. Together Araby and Elliott uncover shocking revelations about how their families are intertwined, all the while putting their health at risk. And if they die, all hope for the city may die with them. In this incredible reimagining, Griffin captures the eerie atmosphere of Edgar Allan Poe's original short story while transporting the reader to a swampy, humid new world that is at once gothic and modern. Fans of Beth Revis's Across the Universe (Penguin, 2011/VOYA February 2011)and Veronica Roth's Divergent (HarperCollins, 2011/VOYA August 2011) will enjoy this first novel, which promises a gripping sequel. Reviewer: Joanna Lima
Kirkus Reviews
Griffin (Handcuffs, 2008) forsakes realism for sultry dystopia. Araby Worth lives in a tower soaring above a swampy, disease-ridden city. While her scientist father searches for a cure, Araby loses herself in a drugged haze and then finds purpose again joining a rebellion. But nothing is as Araby believes. Multiple factions work at cross-purposes, everyone has a secret agenda and the complex plot only thickens in this riff on Poe's short story. Griffin has taken several hot tropes--dystopic setting, pretty dresses, steampunk, love triangle--and created something that, if not new, at least feels different. The underlying questions about science and religion, which may save or destroy, and Araby's strangely dispassionate understanding of her own depression (despite a remarkable blindness to anything else) give the tale an unexpected psychological tension. Araby's precise, self-absorbed narration overwhelms some details of setting and nuances of character but elicits sympathy nonetheless. The complicated plotting fails to resolve in this volume (it is the first of two), but the inexorable movement towards the party in the prince's palace, where the wealthiest will dance to his sadistic whims while the world crumbles (per the source tale), makes for satisfying reading despite the lack of answers. Formulaic but fantastic, from the eye-catching cover to the growth of a heroine who might save the world. Tailor-made for popular consumption. (Dystopic steampunk. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Masque of the Red Death , #1
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

Melissa Marr
“Haunting and beautiful, disturbing and thoughtful, this is a book you’ll be thinking about well after the last page is turned.”
Suzanne Young
“Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death is gorgeous, compelling, and achingly romantic.”
Lauren Destefano
“Luscious, sultry and lingeringly tragic, this story has my heart. I can’t stop thinking about this tale of a broken world held together by corsets and clock gears. Araby’s voice stays with me even now, making me wary of the air I breathe.”

Meet the Author

Bethany Griffin is the author of Masque of the Red Death. She is a high school English teacher who prides herself on attracting creative misfits to elective classes like Young Adult Literature, Creative Writing, and Speculative Literature. She lives with her family in Kentucky.

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Masque of the Red Death 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
The first time I saw this book popping up I knew I had to have a copy ASAP! Why? A few reasons: First – ummm the cover is stunning!! Second – Edgar Allan Poe and Third – Steampunk Dystopian. Put those altogether and you get Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. Have I read the original by Edgar Allan Poe? Nope, not at all. Have I read any of the other adaptations? Not even a peek! After having read Bethany Griffin’s tale, any others I read will have some big shoes to fill. This dark, dystopian tale set in a dark steampunk world is mesmerizing and addicting. From the very opening scene to the climactic ending, Masque of the Red Death is everything I had hoped it would be. I completely devoured this book and fell in love with the characters and the world created by Bethany Griffin. Her writing style is captivating. The world building that was done all throughout the book was entrancing, and her character building was spellbinding. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t love about this book. We are thrust into a dying world where only the wealthy are able to afford the luxury of a mask that aids in surviving the plague. How do you get away from your problems and forget the past and the death? Alcohol, drugs, and a life of debauchery. And where else would one go to entertain this lifestyle? Why, the Debauchery Club, of course. And it is in this club that we get to meet the so very sexy Will. Let me tell you, he sent my heart a flutter! Good boy? Bad boy? Does it matter? He is the whole package. Not only do we get to meet Will thanks to this club, but we also get to feast our eyes on Elliot. I was on the fence about him for a while, but if you put aside his façade, and you really see him, he is so swoon worthy, it’s not even funny. I can see where main protagonist, Araby Worth, has a difficult time deciding whom to trust and with whom she can give her heart to. Yes, yes there is a love triangle, but it’s such a perfect triangle! So many twists and turns, and secrets revealed it will keep your head spinning. What I really enjoyed about this book was the strength Araby has even after having to live with the guilt of her twin brother’s death, watching her parent’s struggle with Araby living and not their son, having to survive in a world where death and danger lurk around any corner, and trying to accept love in a world where deception is a close friend. I could easily picture this book as a movie. The images were already playing out in my mind as I flew through the pages. The characters jumped out of the pages for me, and I felt as though I were right in the book. Seeing the death and decay, smelling the foulness of the disease, feeling the pain of loss and the fear of every shadow. I could hear the music of the club, the shots of the muskets, and the wheels of the carts that carried the bodies claimed by the disease. One of the big lessons learned in the book was this: TRUST NO ON. Totally true. Masque of the Red Death had so many remarkable plot twists and turns that some of the scenes will break your heart. Simply put, this book is amazing! Fans of dark tales, dystopian reads, and steampunk will fall in love with Masque of the Red Death, and will find a new favorite author with Bethany Griffin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. The plotline was interesting with a few twists that were not too predictable. Great read.
terferj More than 1 year ago
i was skeptical at first into reading it. i thought the cover was awesome and i do like the works of edger allen poe, so why not try it. it was dark but yet alluring. araby goes to the debauchery club to make herself fell numb to her feelings. this is where she meets will, he works the front checking to see if people have the plague before allowing them in. araby is attracted to him and why not he's eye candy with tattoos. in comes in elliott (her friend alice's brother), he's arrogant and very puzzling. he uses her to get info for him. i was captivated by the book, i didn't want to stop. it had an interesting story line, a little romance, hope to defeat evil, trying to find ways to help saving people, and betrayal. what more could you ask for?
SuperBookish More than 1 year ago
Great book with great characters. Kept me entertained
Ems_Reading_Room More than 1 year ago
A plague has wiped out most of the population, save a few who were lucky (rich) enough to procure masks that can only be used by one person. In the midst of all the death and destruction, a culture of debauchery has arisen to indulge in the pleasures that may be very soon in ending. Araby is the daughter of the inventor of the mask, and spends her nights taking away the pain of the loss of her brother at the Debauchery Club. When she meets two men that break through her apathy, she has to choose when and how she will make a stand. Masque of the Red Death is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a story that I haven't read, though I have read others of Poe's work. And this is perhaps why I just didn't feel engaged in the story. The atmosphere in Masque of the Red Death is chilling. It seeps through the pages and is very rich. The world that is created is one of total chaos. Death and sickness run rampant through the streets, but the privileged spend their evenings living in pleasure and indulgence. The two world elements play beautifully off each other. The Prince, as he is known, is terrifying in his power and his demeanor. For the rich, the masks become a fashion item, some of them owning several different masks. The poor have to save everything they have for one, and often have to choose between children, since a mask can only be used by one wearer. All of these elements blend together beautifully. However mesmerizing the world, I did not care for any of the characters. Araby uses drugs to medicate her sorrow, and that's really all I knew about her character. Elliot and Will were unsatisfying as well. Similarly, I found that characters disappeared and reappeared throughout the plot, seemingly at random, and I found myself losing interest at parts. There just wasn't enough in the characters to really hook me and want to see it through to the end. I even admit to skimming a few sections in the last 75 pages. Do I feel like I really missed something with Masque of the Red Death? Yes. I've read reviews from many people who really loved the book. Perhaps if I didn't put so much stock in a likeable character I would have been able to really embrace it. There is a fair amount of drug usage and sexual content in Masque of the Red Death, which would probably be suitable for teens 16 or older.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read this book, it was for my ninth grade English class last year. My teacher assigned the assignment for us to read a book of our choice, and so I picked this one. I looked at the colour and was astonished. I looked at what it was about and checked it out from my school Library. Right when I started to read it, I couldn't put it down I read it three times in just two days! This is by far one of the greatest books that I've come across, and I read all the time!
Laurab68 More than 1 year ago
To me, this is a hard one to review. I liked it and I didn't like it. Sometimes the story went round and round and I felt like it was giving me whiplash. This book had a problem that it didn't know what genre it wanted to be. Was it steampunk, science fiction, horror, love story, historical fiction? But pretty much you get everything that I just named in this book and unfortunately, it's not done very well. The first part of the book is just confusing. The prologue tells us about Araby and her family (brother and father) and her mom who has abandoned them. They seem to be in hiding in a basement and cannot go above ground. Okay, check. Something above is dangerous. But that was in the past about 3 or 4 years ago. Araby and her friend April are heading to the Debauchery Club pretty much to do what the name of the club says. Both seem to be drug addicts. However because of the Red Lung, everyone who can must wear a special masque and they are checked over by the bouncer at the club. Who has taken a liking to Araby. I enjoyed the relationship that was budding between Will and Araby. Will is a young man (18/19?) who has custody of his two younger siblings who immediate take to Miss Araby. All is well and good. Until April goes missing and her brother Elliott comes into the picture. Elliott is portrayed as a rake and a general villain. But you know what? Griffin doesn't know how to draw out suspense, so you pretty much know that Elliott is just a guy who is misunderstood. He's also the one who has been supplying Araby with her drugs. The plot is confounded and is hard to follow. Elliott tries his damndest to get Araby to fall in love with him, but her heart is firmly with Will. Sweet wonderful Will. But what we really need is a villain. And that would be Elliott's uncle who has killed his father, possibly kidnapped April and is controlling his people by allowing them to die. He is also the self-appointed Prince of the area. The last quarter of the book is so jumbled and rushed and everything seems to pop up conveniently and possibly inconveniently. A new disease has sprung up. (?) Someone who we thought was dead, is not. The person we thought was evil is not and the person we thought was sweet is not, but for a reason. A reason that is overused and should pretty much be banned from young adult books especially when there is nothing leading up to this one thing happening. I really tried to like this book and the characters, but I just couldn't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok so I thought this story was a little confusing at first, but it's COMPLETELY worth it. Also, i cant be the only one who noticed that this was a bit of a takeoff on that edgar allan poe poem?!!! EVEN. MORE. AWESOME.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't concentrate on the book found it quite bland but on the good side it seemed as if it was full of potential immagination. Its best if I thoroughly read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun and well written, an excellent version of this classic tale.
Amber_Elise More than 1 year ago
Masque of the Red Death is an imaginative read about a political power struggle and a sickness that is spreading across the lower class families. Oh, and what's a plague story without a love triangle?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a lot of potential in this author This is not a heavy read
sheltisebastian More than 1 year ago
The idea is brilliant for this story, however, it had no depth.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So its not a huge waste.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the setting (steam punk), the overall concept for the story, and many of the individual details, but all put together the story fell flat and just plain stunk (for me). It felt disjointed and all over the place. I HATE (HATE!) the ending, and I wish I would not have spent the money or time. I see other reviewers loving it and I think that goes back to the great setting and story idea, which could have been so good, but alas, not for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's been a while since I have read a book that I have LOVED this much. Dark. Sultry. Could not put this down! Has made its place into my top fav series, along with Hunger Games and Wicked Lovely. This will be a book that I will reread several times over. The plot. The characters. The setting. It captivates you and you only look up from the pages after you turn the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess it would be an understatement for me to say how much I love dystopian tales but I will say that I really loved this one because it also had touches of romance mixed in. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning when I was dropped into Araby's world. The world building the author created was so frighteningly real. I mean what would we really do if you couldn't go out with having to wear a mask and better yet what if you couldn't afford one. It was amazing to see the people moving through this world and living their lived behind a mask and having to depend on it taking care of them. I think the scariest part for me was that this is something that could really happen and we would probably have no way of stopping it. Araby was  a really cool conflicted character. She was living with the memories of her twin brother being gone I think that was one of the reasons for her drug use. Yes I said it so be warned that there a few references to drug use in the book but it was really mild talk about it. She knew the world she was living in wasn't a good one but it was also all she knew. I loved when she finally decided to think more for herself and decide to help change things. I have to say that the introductions of both Will and Elliot to this story was a welcome addition. I loved that the boys were so different but yet so unique and I liked that they weren't both pushing Araby for a relationship. I loved that Will was so family oriented and your normal everyday guy with a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. The love he had for his siblings had me close to tears at some points in the book because they were all so sweet together. On the other hand you have Elliott who is the opposite of Will but I still liked him. I loved that he was willing to try to bring about change and loved that rebellious streak that he had. I also loved that he was fighting for the good of all in the end. I am normally not ok with love triangles but in this case it really worked as I could see valid reasons why Araby could fall for either of them. Overall I loved this book and can't wait to jump into the next book in the series. This book had a lot of action and was well paced and sucked me right in. I loved the characters and they were fleshed out really well and I really felt like I knew them personally. The author did such a great job of spinning such an awesome tale that had me invested in seeing how it would all play out. There is a little bit of everything in this book for all book lovers from the romance,action and the fantastic tale of trying to figure out how to deal with this mysterious virus. I am recommending this one to all book lovers especially dystopian lovers.
BookishThings More than 1 year ago
3.5 It's been a long time since I've read Poe's version, but I enjoyed this retelling. It's every bit as gloomy and depressing as Poe's work. The characters are great. There's so much more to them than meets the eye. Araby is full of grief, and refuses to allow herself any moments of happiness. Will is sweet despite his hard exterior as a bouncer. I wanted to dislike Elliott so bad. He comes off as a total d-bag, but he's a man of many layers. Honestly, the first half of the book was lacking for me. Everything seems to be moving along very slowly, and there are parts that I felt are choppy. The world building is amazing. I felt as though I was in the plagued streets. The last quarter of the book was strong. There were moments of wtfery and shock. I'm stoked for the sequel to come out. Thank goodness I don't have to wait long until the release date.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book...well..its hard to explain! I did really like this book, not one of my favorites but it was a pretty good read! Its really interesting and a really trippy idea. BUT this isn't the type of book you can just read. When reading this book you really have to focus and imagine it playing out in your mind like a movie, or else you will find it flat boring and kind of stupid! The book starts out really good and you expect it to stay that way but after a while it gets a little weird?  Also at some points you are kind of like, 'okay, what is going on right now?? Did I miss something or..." because there are some parts you just feel like you totally missed something and get lost. If you are going to read this book really focus on developing the characters out and let it play out like a movie! It was the only way I could get into it! Ahha, the people I used to imagine the characters where- Lily Collins for Araby, for Elliot I kept going back and forth between Austin Butler and jamie campbell bower, I had a hard time picturing Will but I kind of pictured him as Joshua Brand when he had his hair long for his model pictures and then for  April and Araby's dad I pictured candice accola and pierce brosnan! ohhh and for the prince I pictured tom hiddleston.   ahha, thought this might help some people! I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm addicted to anything Poe, and I absolutely love the idea of creating a new story from his literary genius, overall I found the book well written and lovable and, I will read the next one.
emeeks More than 1 year ago
The world Araby Worth lives in has been consumed by a devastating plague. Those who have not already gotten the plague live in fear of contracting it. Araby is looking for oblivion. A way to forget that her twin brother died and she still lives. Things start to change when she meets Will and Elliott. Suddenly, there might be something to live for. I was impressed with this story. I really enjoyed how flawed Araby was as the main character. In the beginning of the story she is very self-centered. She only thinks about her own pain. As the story progresses, Araby begins to realize there is more to the world and that maybe she is not living her life in a way that honors her brother. Along with Araby’s development there is the intriguing world of the plague and those who are still alive. Elliott and Will are both surrounded with mystery that make you want to keep reading to find out more about them. Araby’s dad also has a lot of intrigue to him and I really wanted to find out more about him. I did find myself wanting to know more about how the Prince came to power and how he maintains control of the city. I am hoping there is a bit more backstory on him in the next book. Overall it is a great read and I can’t wait for the next book.