Book Blurb: 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.
My Opinion: First off, before I started this book, I hadn’t read the Poe original. I have read a handful of Poe’s works, but The Masque of the Red Death wasn’t one of them. However, before I got halfway through this book, I went online and tried to find the original story. I still haven’t really read it, but I did skim it.
Why did I skim it? Because Griffin’s work was very incoherent, and I had to check if I was missing something vital with not having read the original work. I wasn’t. In fact, all this book really borrows from the Poe original is names, and a basic plot device (sickness). Poe’s original is about the inevitability of death, the arrogance of the rich… and that is all I got from skimming it. Griffin’s derivative work doesn’t share any of that depth.
Some of the imagery she creates is great. I love the gothic feel and how the steampunk touches are a) just touches and b) in the background. Araby is far from a bluestocking. She is actually kind of a ditz.
The story itself was all over the place, and I was left with far more questions than answers. It feels like I read the book, and nothing really interesting happened. I didn’t get that moment of heart racing, palms sweating, “Oh my gosh, this is it!” that happens a lot of the time. To be fair, it is a series, but there have been other series’ that have given me that climactic moment while reading.
Araby is fickle and vapid. The romance (because it is YA, so there IS a romance) is very odd, and didn’t flow at all. Made zero sense to have those two people together.
Also, attention to detail is lacking. The blurb says Will is the proprietor of the club, but he is just a worker there. I guess that could be a mild spoiler, but there you have it.
Bottom Line: So much potential for a really awesome story… but it fell extremely short of the mark.