Masque of the Red Death

A couple of days ago, I finished reading Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death. This novel is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work of the same name. When I started reading this book, I was really excited about it and anticipated it only taking me a short while to read. That was almost a month ago.

Those who know me can probably guess why it took me a little longer to read this book, but, for you casual followers of Knight Reader, I’ll clue you in. As the title suggests, this book is very dark and deals with a lot of death. I just couldn’t handle that due to recent events. Nothing about this book is light or even remotely hopeful, and I needed something that could lift my spirits more than Masque of the Red Death could ever pretend to. During the past couple of days, though, I decided that I needed to go ahead and finish this book so that I could move on to something else. I will tell you that I probably would have loved this book had I read it at any other time in my life. Unfortunately, I didn’t, and I just couldn’t find it in me to enjoy a book that featured such a seemingly hopeless situation. I may revisit the book later, but, at least for right now, Masque of the Red Death just didn’t do it for me.

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In this very loose post-Apocalyptic adaptation of the Poe work, Araby Worth is the privileged daughter of the world’s most valued scientist. The world has been ravaged by a horrible plague, and only the wealthy can afford the life-saving masks that are the only defense. Araby lost her brother to the plague years ago, and she spends her days and nights numbing herself to the pain of existence without her beloved twin.

Things are changing in the city, though. Forces are at work that will challenge the dictatorial Prince Prospero’s rule. Some of those forces are aiming for a society where every citizen, regardless of wealth, has access to the much-needed (and way-too-expensive) life-saving masks. One faction, though, seems to be convinced that only war–and more death–can put an end to the plague that is decimating the population.

But what will happen when another plague, a more deadly disease known as the Red Death, begins sweeping across the city? Is there any way to save the people of the city? And how does Araby fit into all of this? What more will she have to sacrifice for the good of those around her? Find out what happens when the masks are stripped away when you read Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death.

While this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, it will definitely appeal to fans of gothic fiction. Definitely market this one to fans of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s not a happy book, but it does provide an escape from everyday life. It also raises some interesting questions about access to resources, bioethics, and what society would/could look like if a biological weapon or pandemic disease were to be released. Something to think about.

If you want to keep reading Araby’s story, Masque of the Red Death is only the first book in this series. The second book, Dance of the Red Death, is due to be released this July, and there’s also an eBook novella, Glitter & Doom, which I think is already out. As for me, I’m going to give myself some time to digest this book a bit more. Maybe I’ll feel differently about it by July, and I’ll be able to give the sequel a try. Only time will tell.

For those who do want to learn more about this series, consider visiting the author’s website.

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