Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death

4.2 62
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

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Overview

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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062107817
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Series:
Masque of the Red Death , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
133,824
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.”

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