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Monday, February 18, 2013

Masque of the Red Death -Bethany Griffin

** spoiler alert ** My favorite Edgar Allen Poe tale is Masque of the Red Death, one of my favorite horror movies is Masque with Vincent Price playing Prince Prospero, one of the best villains, ever. In my personal opinion.

So when I saw there was a YA retelling of this my heart skipped a few beats. Any one who knows me know I love a good retelling, fairy tale, famous story or historical event. But this book was a bit of a let down.

First I do want to mention that the imagery in this book was brilliant, astounding and breath taking. It was the plot line and the characters that made it fall flat for me. Ms. Griffin’s descriptions of the clothing, buildings, masks and society had such color it was a pity that many of her characters were one note and that the plot was failed where it could have been a beautiful steampunk, disturbing story of debauchery and death. which the author was TRYING for

So here we go:

1) Araby- the MC- is a depressing, immature, suicidal, poetry reading emo with no real personality. She betrays her family for some guys she’s never really spent time with and just makes one wrong decision after another. I could not relate to her pitiful my brother died years ago, I’m gonna get drunk and inject drugs into my system every chance I get, Oh woe is me! attitude.

2) Love triangle-SICKSICKSICKSICK to DEATH of love triangles, or foursomes etc…etc… In real life moody, not so pretty girls with no personality do NOT get more than one boy. I mean even HOT girls don’t have more than one eligible bachelor following them at a time, usually. Granted novels are supposed to distract you, take you away…But I am SICK of this trend. Stupid Twilight, stupid indecisive Bella. Stupid LKH and her horny whorey characters. I blame you for this.

3) Elliot- I like Elliot, I always enjoy a good hot sociopath with an agenda. However even Elliot, who we gets loads of details about comes across as fairly one dimensional. He is the hero, in a anti-hero kind of way. Like Batman, dark and willing to do what normal good guys won’t.

4) Will- You WANT to like this character. He’s the awesome hero! The normal one, he’s working menial labor to take car of his little brother and sister. But he betrays the MC in the end and while she still loves him (speaking as a woman who has BEEN betrayed it pretty much kills the love right out of you.) he winds up a douche bag, (even if he was forced to do so). However if I read the next book we’ll probably see more of him, maybe he’ll redeem himself. He didn’t want to betray her.

5) Father and Mother- I really liked these characters. Her father is distant and seems to not care about her but his minimal presence actually is pretty powerful and gives him the feeling of a larger character, the scientist, the fighter. And the reader gets a feel of how much he actually LOVES his selfish daughter. Araby’s mom, while at first she reads as weak the reader finally realizes that she is a survivor…And then their dumb daughter betrays them and puts their life in jeopardy.

6) April- This is a weird character for me. She disappears not even half way through the book and while Elliot and Araby are worried about her, she just shows up and then at the end you finally find out where she went. In a movie her part could be cut out.

7) The bad guys- Prospero was not nearly the sick, sadistic, indulgently grotesque villain he could have been. Rev. Malcontent is just lame, he’s a threat always in the back ground, but doesn’t come out until 30 pages before the end in a big BANG. These villains could really have been worked better.

8) Post Apocalyptic/end of civilization crap- I am tired of this genre, almost as much as I have tired of vampires, angels, zombie, mermaids, and fairies. I wanna see more witches, were creatures, demons and creative retellings that don’t touch what has already been done 1000 times over.

9) The plague- This shouldn’t even be called The Masque of the Red Death when the Red Death doesn’t appear until the end and the whole book focuses on the Weeping Sickness. Sure it will be important later, but if you are going to give something a title that inspires scenes of multi colored rooms, pleasure-seeking parties and the appearance of death himself, you should really have the Red Death be the main fear.

10) The end- The end was the best part and is the reason I will probably read the sequel. However, I care more about the minor characters than the main ones and this is a problem.

So three stars mainly because the imagery was amazing, that idea was pretty good and I am interested to see where she takes Dance of the Red Death.


  1. Just started Following you.Hope u can follow me back. love2readalways.blogspot.com

    Wanted to read this book. I too love to read retelling fairy tales they are my favorite books. I am reading Cinder at the moment and im amazed at how much i love it.

    Hope you have an awesome day!!! Happy Reading :)

    1. Thanks! I am following you as well. I havent read cinder yet, will look forward to your review


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