Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #1
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Steampunk Makes the World Go Round

3.5 Stars

GoodReads Summary:
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.
So from the summary, we already know a few very important things. This is possibly some kind of post-apocalyptic book (it’s actually steampunk, which is even better) and there is going to be a love triangle. I am so weary of love triangles, since they are ever-present in YA books and are usually irritating. So I was both excited and wary to read this book.
Now, for how much I ended up enjoying it, 3.5 stars may be a little low. By the end of the book I was hanging on every word. But somewhere near the beginning, I got bored and put it down for a few weeks. I don’t know if I just wasn’t sufficiently interested at the time or if there was a chapter in there that just wasn’t as well written as the rest. But it was part of my A-Z book challenge, and I knew I needed to finish it, or at least try again. So I picked it up again, got past the slump and devoured the rest of the book. I’m not familiar with the writing “Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe, which this is apparently based on, so I can’t comment on whether it stayed true to Poe’s original or not.
I need more steampunk books in my life. I’ve read maybe 3? I know it’s becoming a more popular genre, so I’m excited to look for more. I mean, come on: handsome, aristocratic guys and Girls with corseted dresses but shorter skirts climbing into a steam engine or an airship that I imagine looks like the sky pirate vessel from the movie Stardust:
I mentioned earlier that I am not a fan of love triangles. However, in this book, I found that I couldn’t decide which boy I liked better and wanted Araby to be with. They both did lovely, adorable things that made you love them, and then stupid, horrible things that made you very annoyed with them. Usually I side very vehemently with one romantic interest, so this was refreshing to not hate one of the guys. However, I found myself rooting for Will most of the time, who I imagine looks something like Cam  Gigandet from Burlesque:
For some reason I could not picture the masks they wore. I don’t know if there was ever an actual description of them? Maybe there was in the part I wasn’t really interested in near the beginning. I’m definitely going to have to go back and read that part again. But they kept talking about how you could eat with them on, but you couldn’t kiss someone…how can you eat with a mask on that filters all the air you breathe? I was confused. Every time someone took their mask off it felt like a death sentence. Which meant every time Araby kissed someone, it was that much more dramatic. And for those who are wondering, yes, she does kiss and get kissed.
Immediately upon closing this book, I went onto Good Reads, praying that the second one was out. The Book gods were smiling on me, because it came out the same week I finished the first.
I guess I should say something about the main character, Araby. Obviously she didn’t stir great feelings of any kind within me. She wasn’t a complete damsel in distress. She wanted to do what was right; she wanted to help overthrow the evil Prince Prospero who refused to help the poor and the dying, but she had a healthy fear of doing anything against his tyrannical reign. And the love triangle was understandable. I didn’t hate her for being attracted to both guys.
I almost wanted more to happen at the Debauchery Club. I mean, with such a colorful name, and being seemingly so important in the summary, I expected a lot more than the three or four scenes that happened there. I feel like it was a sorely underutilized part of the story.
I’m a little nervous about the second book, because it doesn’t have as good of reviews as the first one, but I’m really excited to read it because the first was really good. Fingers crossed!

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