Date of Publication: April 24 2012
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.
When I first began reading Masque of the Red Death, I wasn't impressed. I thought it was boring and slow. There was a cool premise but there was such misery in both the world and the characters that I worried whether I'd ever get to a point where I'd enjoy it.
Then, something really cool happened. I don't know how, I wasn't even conscious of it, but the story picked up and my dad told me to stop reading at 11:45, which shocked me because I didn't even think it was 10. I truly did get lost in the story and that's something special. There is a certain quality to Masque of the Red Death that is fascinating.
However, I did have my fair share of issues. It begins with the characters.
Araby is tragic and cold. Her brother Finn died and she can't get over that grief. She is very damaged and her perspective was very bleak. I don't know why but I could never bring myself to care much about her. The good thing about Araby is that she grows. She slowly heals. However, it was hard to establish an emotional connection to the story through someone that was so unfeeling.
There were two characters that intrigued me. Araby's father, who created masks which can be used to protect against getting infected by contagion, was one of them. There's so much more to him and he seems like someone with so much potential but lost. His strained relationship with Araby, along with a more rebellious side to him has me very curious.
I also found Elliott to be an interesting character. Both love interests in Masque of the Red Death fell flat to me because I didn't care much about Araby at all. This isn't me being Team Elliott. Rather, I find him fascinating. Elliott is dangerous because he says he'll do whatever it takes to accomplish his goal of saving the city. He has ideas for what to do and he's okay with sacrificing some people for the good of all. At least, his version of the good of all. He's passionate about the city and while it seems everyone else is giving up and being all, "Me? I'm just one person, I can't do anything!", Elliott is trying to make a difference. He has such conviction that he can help and make the city better and I find that very interesting to read about. It would be completely fine with me if Araby and Elliott don't work out and he gets over her because I hope she doesn't hold him back.
The world is bleak. There are a few things I don't understand about it. If everyone is going to die, what separates the rich from the poor? The city seems to have lost all contact with the outside world so why is money important in the slightest? The economy seems to have stalled completely, and the Prince sounds like a douche, so how in the world do the guards listen to him? Why are they even guards? Why don't they just become loyal to the dude that has the best chance of finding a cure and screw all the rich people? What's a Prince without an army?
It's hard to find a time frame for Masque of the Red Death but it became apparent that it's written like an older society what with the class levels. That could be an explanation, but to me, the world just doesn't make sense. Maybe that's why Elliott is trying so hard to change it, which is another reason why I like him.
I've already said the plot starts slow and picks up speed. I hope it continues to do that with more focus on action than Araby's life. To this point, the plot is fascinating with a few twists, but one of the betrayals didn't faze me at all, and that's an issue. In the sequel, which I'll probably read, I'd probably like the author to develop the rest of her characters into more real people.
I feel like there's a lot more to Masque of the Red Death and I'll definitely be looking forward to reading the sequel hopefully for its better plot plot. The Red Death and the contagion are both very creepy and I want to see some hope in this miserable world.
The writing in Masque of the Red Death didn't do much for me. I hope it improves in the second. All things considered, the story shows promise but I couldn't enjoy it because of a lack of emotional connection or a main character I supported. I hovered between 2-3 stars, which is a huge testament to how good one section was because at the beginning I was considering DNF-ing or 1 hearts. I give 2 hearts because overall, my feelings are mixed. The story is meh and there's room for improvement. I hope this is one of those series where the second book is so much better than the first after the ball gets rolling.