06 January 2012

Book Preview: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Bethany Griffin's first installment of her proposed trilogy will find many fans.  At this point, I think I'm one of them.  Here's the Good Reads summary: Everything is in ruins. A devastating plague has decimated [sic: it's actually much higher than that, but most people use this word, which means one in ten, carelessly, including this summary] the population and those who are left are in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them. So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . 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 boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her. 

Finally, a steampunk post-apocalyptic, dystopian love triangle trilogy I can get behind!  I'm sort of kidding.  I've actually grown weary of the trilogy/love triangle/dystopian ideas.  Why can't we have one great, big book instead of three pretty good-but-incomplete books these days?  Why can't our heroines be faced with impossible life choices instead of impossible love choices?

But beyond those generic criticisms (which I seem to have with almost *every* YA book/franchise these days) I really liked the atmosphere of this book, though I wouldn't call it New Orleans-meets-fin de seicle-Paris as the author's note suggests.  I enjoy both the limitations and the limitless imagination that go hand in hand with steampunk.  Araby is an interesting character, as are her friend April, and the two boys in her life.

This book isn't out for another several months (July '12), but it's got the kind of cover and conceit that marketers love and I feel that we'll be seeing a LOT about this book in the lead up to its publication. I received an ARC of this book from our Harper sales rep, Anne DeCourcey, because she is beyond diligent when it comes to keeping me in books. Masque of the Red Death qualifies for the New Authors Challenge hosted by Literary Escapism.  Two down, thirty-eight more to go!


  1. SO looking forward to this one, too! Free ARC giveaway contest maybe?? (hint hint)

  2. So, so looking forward to this! I'm a huge Poe fan and I'm excited to see where this book goes with his work.

  3. Broche, you're welcome to borrow my copy if you'd like. Just let me know!

    sosaysthewhale, I'm not a Poe scholar or anything, but I didn't get a lot of Poe references in this book, other than the title of course. Perhaps the author is holding off until later in the series, or perhaps she just wanted to invoke Poe in the minds of her readers to establish the atmosphere.


Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)