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The Masque of the Red Death


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Death is impossible and living is impossibly hard for 17-year-old Araby Worth, with her exclusive, decadent lifestyle surrounded by a devastated society ...

About the Author

Bethany Griffin teaches English Literature, History and Creative Writing. She has written one previous novel, a blog and a stunning post-apocalyptic YA novel.


This gothic adventure reimagines Poe's classic story of the same name as a full-length YA adventure. The world has been devastated by the Weeping Sickness, a disfiguring and often fatal disease staved off only with specialized masks and obsessive preventive measures. The rich hide in their towers and party in the notorious Debauchery District, the poor scrape by, and the despotic Prince Prospero rules with an iron fist. Araby, the 17-year-old daughter of the mask's inventor, is traumatized by her brother's death from the plague, hiding from her feelings while partying. When she meets Elliott, the prince's nephew and a would-be revolutionary, and Will, who works at her favorite club, Araby must choose her destiny and follow her heart, while a new disease rages and the city burns. Griffin (Handcuffs) delivers a seductively dark, decadently disturbing look at a society crumbling from within and without, infused with a romantic, steampunk air and Poe's own morbid sensibilities. Themes of science and faith weave through a story that draws from Poe's original while standing assuredly on its own. Ages 14-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Masque of the Red Death is a very well written debut novel. The writing itself is beautiful, the vivid descriptions are the best I've read recently. Bethany Griffin's writing style is very unique, and I loved it. This book was a joy to read. The whole idea is very unique. It's a concoction of dystopian and steampunk mixed together perfectly to create this hauntingly beautiful story. I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this book or not but it blew my mind. It's such a mysterious tale that leaves the reader catching their breath in suspense. Read, Write and Read Some More Griffin captures beautifully what it might be like to become terrifyingly familiar with disease and death. TES It's a must read for all dystopia, steam punk and historical lovers. THE BOOK ADDICTED GIRL Revolution, romance, decadence and decay make a heady mix in Bethany Griffin's YA thriller inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's plague-riddled short story... Never patronising, often horrific, Masque is a brave, breathless adventure. Written with restraint and relentlessly addictive, the worst thing is the unbearable wait until the release of the concluding second part. -- Rosie Fletcher SFX

Gr 9 Up-This grim tale tells of a city beset by plague. Everyone has to wear a protective mask, and corpse collectors come around every morning to dispose of the dead. Araby Worth lives a nihilistic existence centered around partying and taking drugs at the exclusive Debauchery Club, though she is careful never to kiss or sleep with anyone as she has vowed never to experience anything that her dead twin brother, a plague victim, would be unable to experience. This resolution is tested by two young men. Elliot is the nephew of the evil ruler, Prince Prospero (one of the novel's nods to Poe's original story), who is determined to save the city and willing to die trying. The other, Will, is more of a simple sort, trying merely to keep his younger brother and sister alive amid all the death. Both boys find themselves distracted from their goals by Araby and her irresistible beauty. She is not just any girl, however; her father invented the masks that are the only protection against the plague, and whose production is entirely controlled by Prince Prospero. The plot, set off when Araby steals the design plans for the masks from her father's study, is complicated, involving multiple underground rebel movements, the emergence of a second plague, and dark secrets about almost every character. As the novel ends with the plot unresolved and the main characters in danger for their lives, one can only assume there will be a sequel. Recommended where appetites for horrific postapocalyptic futures remain insatiable.-Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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