Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin

A modern-day plague has swept through the world with alarming force, and there’s no cure.  As Araby Worth and her best friend, April, rush through the streets on their way to the Debauchery Club, they see people die in the streets, carts full of bleeding, dead adults and children, and general hysteria. The only protection from the disease is a high-tech, extremely expensive mask that Araby’s father invented.  The masks can’t be shared, though, so if families can’t afford one for every person, they have to choose who gets to live.  Araby and April live a higher-class life than the rest of the masses, since Araby’s father is the mask inventor and April is related to the Prince.  To forget about the horrors in the world, the girls opt for oblivion, drugs, and late nights at the Club.  One morning, though, Araby wakes up in a strange room.  A club worker, Will, brought her home after she passed out in order to protect her.  Will and his two younger siblings have a special impact on Araby, and she starts to care for them.  At the same time, April’s cunning and slightly devious brother, Elliott, shows an interest in Araby, but his interest is motivated by more than love.  As the world continues to crumble and politics starts to tear the city apart, Araby has to make difficult decisions and open herself up to experiences she had vowed to avoid.  This reworking of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name is cleverly told and captivating, filled with adventure, romance, politics, and a futuristic feel.  The final few pages are dramatic and rapid, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment of the story.

Galley review   Publication date 4.24.12

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