Monday, August 6, 2012

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
319 pages
Released: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

A little post-apocalipitc and a little steampunk (a super combination in my opinion), Masque of the Red Death drew me in right away.  It's another one of those faced paced YA novels that I didn't want to put down for so many reasons...

First, I was massively curious about the disease in this book.  The first sounded pretty much like your traditional plague - fever, pustules that ooze nastiness, you know what I'm talking about, but the fact that it could be prevented by a masque that only the rich can afford - well, that brings up all sorts of social issues, doesn't it?  That was probably more interesting to me than the disease itself.  The second disease involved suddenly bleeding from the eyes and instant death.  That one made me even more curious - what's causing it?  How does it work?  Did someone create it and release it into the public?  All questions I hope will be answered in the sequel.

Second, Araby.  She's got a tough life.  Sure she's wealthy now, but it wasn't always that way (though I wish that had been explored more).  But despite her wealth, she still has problems - she has friends she wants to help, she finds out terrible secrets about her mother, and she keeps an even worse secret from her father about her brother's death.  Of course, in addition to that is something of a love triangle, though it didn't read like your stereotypical YA love triangle.  It really added to the plot.

Third, the battle between science and religion.  I found this aspect of the novel to be interesting as well. It seemed there were two camps - those who were religious minded, who felt science had failed humanity, who wanted to pray to god for a cure.  Then there were those who were science minded, who, like Araby, had never read the bible or given god a second thought.  Sometimes I feel our real world is becoming more polarized in this way, but I don't think it has to be so.  When plague hits, perhaps the best solution is a little of both worlds, but I don't want to get all philosophical on you.

Four stars!  Fictional diseases are so interesting to me, so I adored this book.  Bottom line, this book was fantastic and I'm eagerly anticipating its sequel due out in April and I urge to you read this soon.   In the meantime, I'm going to have to read the Edgar Allen Poe short story that inspired this novel because I've heard it makes you appreciate Griffin's work even more.

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