Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
"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 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."
I feel the need to state that I am not a huge fan of dystopia. I've read ten or so dystopian novels, and truly enjoyed maybe three.
That being said, Masque of the Red Death is now considered one of the three.
I also must say that I'm unclear as to if this is considered dystopian. The people deal with a plague, and it's set in a earlier time (though the year is never mentioned. Women wear corsets, though, but guys wear pants and have tattoos...?) but it wasn't written in a historical-way.
Alright, let's stop with this rambling.
Masque was a very, very interesting novel. I've heard of, but never read the original text by Poe. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy his work--he's one of my faves. I was completely ecstatic to start a YA novel that was a Poe retelling, because I've read retellings before (maybe even of Poe...IDFK I can't remember that shit), but this was my favorite retelling to date.
Araby Worth lives in a society where a deadly plague...plagues the people (really, I couldn't come up with a better sentence?). The non-infected peepos wear masks (or masques, whatevs) that I picture as as gas mask, because those are so cool and creepy looking and unless you think of a half-mask there's nothing else to picture, as I can't recall a description.
Araby herself is a bit...odd. She lost her twin brother a few years ago, so she's kinda 'numb' and does drugs and stuff so she can stop 'dealing' with the world. (Sorry. I'm belittling again. Oh wait, I don't use that word until the next paragraph...Continue reading, if you please...) She's also sworn (to god, herself, the nation? I'm unclear) that she will not allow herself to experience anything her brother didn't. (*Sigh* that was a rather boring tidbit of the story.)
Anyways, not to belittle the story, but people are dropping like flies, and every damn page there is one or more dead people oozing puss and other nasty crap. Really. Like, dying in the streets and being hauled away in carts. Carts. God that's upsetting.
Then there are two guys (of course, right? Love triangle. Pshttt. What upstanding YA novel doesn't have one?) one who is slightly psycho and one who is off-the-charts awesome (until like, the last few chapters) but I shall not distinguish between the two.
Alright, summary-like thing done.
I really liked...some of the characters (damn. I was gunna name my fave boy, but then I realized you'd figure out the good/psycho ones, so never mind). I also liked (to a point) Araby, but I hate her name. I have no idea how to pronounce it. I pretty much called her 'Arb' (rhyming with Barb) in my head when I wasn't mentally scanning over her name to not think of pronouncing it.
Loved the story line. The idea of plagues running rampant was almost as cool as zombies running rampant, so I really enjoyed the novel.
I must say (haha, I sound so lame saying that!) that I really got into the novel (like, entranced. Slamming my fists down on my armchair, exclaiming in outrage entranced) during the last four or five chapters. I was seriously in awe and a little angry at the audacity and the courage the author displayed in those last chapters.
Loved (most of) the characters, the writing was very good, and I'm dying here (though not of a plague, so don't start screaming in the streets or anything) for a sequel.
(Without saying, "I must say" again, I have to point out that the cover is so bad. It doesn't look too bad on the interweb here, but in real life it's a mess. The girl's arm has a hue/saturation red-burn, her head is gone and looks F'ed, and the overall color is just...blah. The font is the only semi-acceptable thing about it. I hope the next cover isn't this boring.) 3/5 stars