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Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin First things first. I know I shelved this as a “first read” and while technically it is, it isn’t my first read. My sister won this from goodreads and was kind enough to pass it along after she finished it. I’m shelving it as first reads because even second hand first reads count for me.


Now back to our regularly scheduled program. I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit cautious because any time there is a title with the word “death” in it I become aware that death just might occur. It does, but thankfully not to any of our main characters. It starts off following our near suicidal, drug addicted heroine (he he) into a club with her best friend where she promptly takes a drug called oblivion and passes out. I know many people probably can’t stand Araby because they’ll see her put in that same role of whiny self pitying girl and while I see where they are coming from in putting her in that place, I think they are missing what else she has to offer. I found her utterly fascinating. The bond between twins is profound (or so I’ve heard) and to lose a twin is like losing half of yourself and I can completely see why she denies herself things he wouldn’t experience and blame herself for what happened. The event of her brother’s death devastated the family and alienated her from her parents in a way that seemed completely believable to me. I know she was weak in the beginning, but I enjoyed seeing her grow and fight with her addiction to stay clean in order to keep a clear head while trying to help the needy people. I loved her compassion.

Now for the guys…..I’ll go ahead and state now that I am Team Will.

Yes, I know he does something unforgivable, but he has a reason that even our heroine can’t argue with. Plus he is a change from the typical pushy, high-handed male characters that pervade YA right now ::coughs:: Edward Cullen ::clears throat:: He’s sweet and caring and reminds me a bit of Alec from Forbidden. Elliot on the other hand was cocky, high-handed, insincere, and completely loveable. Though I prefer Will, I can definitely see Elliott’s appeal. I really liked him as a character, I just think Araby belongs with Will. That’s how this series is going to end dammit!

See, Castiel agrees so it must be so.

The world is also amazing. I’ve said before that I’ve become obsessed with dystopian novels and that still holds true. I loved reading about this insane world where a mystery plague had killed all the horses and a great many people. A world where the act of kissing was the most intimate thing possible because that required removing your mask. A steampunk dystopian love story with rebellion and a bit of humor, what more do I need? Oh and the dress. Holy fuck the dresses.

I worship Bethany Griffin for describing these amazing garments in detail. Much like our world, it is the norm to show as much skin as possible, only this fashion craze is inspired by the desire to show the world that your skin is free of the puss sores and bruises that are signs of the deadly plague. The dresses are pretty much like this, take and 18th century dress, remove the petticoats and take scissors to the bottom and cut it up (in jagged, uneven lines) to above the knee. Or at least, that was my interpretation of them. Either way, I bow at your feet.

The writing was well done and I couldn’t put it down. I literally started this book at 8 one night just to get started and stayed up until well past midnight until I was literally falling asleep on it trying to finish it and rushed home from work the next day to get back to it. I love it so much.

Complaints…um, well it’s the dreaded love triangle, but it wasn’t as bad as some. It also has a horrid cliffhanger, but I guess I’m becoming immune to the anger that normally follows them. Beyond those 2 hang-ups, it was amazing and you should go read it now. Seriously walk away from your laptop, get in your car, drive to your local bookstore, and buy it now….or your local library if that have it.