Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin I'm giving this more of a 3.5 stars range, but on the high end of 3.5. So, do with that what you will. Oh, YA dystopia, you strike again. Inspired by Poe’s work of the same name, I admit this was a dystopia that drew me in almost instantly. That said, it had it’s faults that YA dystopia almost always seem to have. It gets a pass, though, because though Araby had some qualities that made me cringe a bit, the fact that she was a drug addicted, suicidal teenager with survivor guilt won me over to her. She was way too trusting amidst the inherently distrusting world she was placed in; she followed what the two male characters told her to do way too often. Though I appreciated the way she got stuff done when it was needed to be done, I wished she had taken her own initiative at times. It felt like she was always just doing what Elliott or Will told her to do. That said, I’ll start with the iffy and move on to what I loved. We have the usual trap of a dystopia that isn’t fully explained. Now, granted, we got closer than in most dystopias, but I was hoping that the plague would have been explained a bit better, sometimes I felt like too much was being assumed. The Red Death as a second contagion seemed completely implausible. I understand that the second contagion was the more direct nod towards Poe’s tale, but it felt completely out of the blue and it also didn’t make sense (the first contagion had to do with sores and being contagious through the air; the second? People randomly fell down dead crying blood. It didn’t fully make sense…) The world she constructed in the aftermath of this destruction, though, I really really liked. Vaguely steampunk (just enough), and very bleak. The world building was good, it just needed more in way of backstory going further than just Araby’s childhood. Dystopia relies on backstory I don’t understand why authors tend to ignore it. Also this is YA so apparently that means there has to be a love triangle. Again, I both enjoyed and was irritated by this. Like, obviously I appreciated Elliott over Will as Elliott was the screwed up revolutionary who wasn’t very kind and just seemed to be using Araby (alas am I predictable in my tastes) whereas Will was the tattooed boy who worked in the club and had two young siblings to take care of back home. (A good boy/bad boy dynamic, really). The thing that irritated me about the love triangle was the fact that it existed and how blindly Araby followed the two boys around (granted, Elliott was within reason because the revolution was his plan; Will? Will just got cast in the ‘I want to protect you’ role that is insufferable). There was also no remote resolution so lord only knows how much messier the love triangle is going to become in the next book. The good things, though? I loved the concept of the masks being the only protection from the contagion and the way they all held on to them. I really liked how Araby’s relationship with her parents was portrayed - survivor guilt from Araby surviving and her twin brother, Finn, dying was hit on the head with this and I thought it was done pretty well. The theme of revolution from the Prince Prospero was one that I, of course, was fond of (I do love a good revolution plotline), and though Araby fell into some YA heroine traps, I really did enjoy her narration (which is saying a lot because it was a first person novel).So, worth a pick up. It didn’t take me long to read and the atmosphere alone makes it enjoyable enough for a read.