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A Reader of Fictions: Creeping Death - Apocalyptica

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, August 27, 2012

Creeping Death - Apocalyptica

Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death, Book 1

Author: Bethany Griffin
Pages: 319
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Gifted

Description from Goodreads:
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.

First Sentence: "The charcoal sky spits cold rain as we rumble to a stop at a crossroad."

Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death is based on Poe's story of the same name. Having not read that, I cannot speak to the quality of this novel as a retelling. What I can assert with confidence is the awesomeness of this book as its own entity. The story contained inside this book perfectly matches the mood of creepiness and beauty set by the cover.

A horrible plague swept humanity, killing indiscriminately. There still isn't any cure, although the wealthy, at least, have found a way to protect themselves. Araby's father, a noted scientist, invented the mask which can filter the air and keep out the infection. Now those with money enough to purchase them can live with less fear of the disease.

Araby is one of the lucky ones, and she hates it. Her family has money and she is pretty well protected from the plague. None of this means anything to her without her brother, though, who died from the disease because she got the first mask instead of him. Filled with guilt and loneliness, Araby has made a vow never to do anything that her brother Finn didn't get to do.

Grief-stricken Araby suffers from intense depression, so deep that she nearly committed suicide. Her savior, April, gives her reason to keep going: escapism. With April, she gains access to the most exclusive club, The Debauchery Club. Within its walls, she can procure drugs or alcohol, forget about life for a while. Plus, she can eye the cute guy who works at the door. These opening chapters do lag a bit, suffering from a poor little rich girl vibe, but the story picks up when April's brother appears on the scene.

Like so many books these days, Masque of the Red Death does have a love triangle. Unlike most books, I have absolutely no idea which guy will win fair Araby's heart. In fact, I'm not even certain which guy I ship her with. Both have their moments and their drawbacks. Will seems almost too perfect, beautiful and kind; in a world such as this, I doubt someone could truly stay so pure, and so I imagine there must be some dark secrets there. Elliott, April's brother, definitely has issues, having had some serious family problems. Still, there's something so desperate about how much he clearly needs Araby that holds an appeal. Basically, I am torn, and I will remain undecided until the next book.

While the romance aspect does make up an important part of the plot, the world building definitely takes the lead. In this plague-ridden city, three different groups battle for supremacy. Prince Prospero has control at the moment, reigning from his castle, keeping his power through fear and withholding of resources. Two different groups aim to overthrow him, including the creepy as hell Reverend Malcontent. Add to this a totally new disease and it's possible no one will survive this future.

Masque of the Red Death is gorgeously written and atmospheric. The internet informs me that I have to wait until April 2013 for the next installment. This does not please me.

Favorite Quote:
"'She has to live, Elliott. I owe her a lifetime of apologies.'
   'Sometimes I think that's all we owe our parents.'"
Remember: Every comment on a post during Dystopian August is an entry to win one of fourteen dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels IF you've filled out the form from this post.

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Blogger Lilian said...


I have an ARC of this one lying somewhere...probably in the deep dark depths of my bookshelf of stuff I was somewhat excited for...then got unexcited for along the way.
And because of my "I MUST READ THE FIRST BOOKS OF THE SERIES IF YOU START A SERIES!" rule I also have a "IF THE BOOK PAYS HOMAGE/TIES INTO/RETELLS/IS BASED ON ANOTHER BOOK..YOU MUST READ THAT BOOK" rule. So now I don't think I'll get to reading it until I get my hands on Poe's book because I'm all like "what if I loose some hidden meaning? NOOOOO!!!"

So I skimmed your review by scrolling really fast, and the only words that caught my eye are: Araby, noted scientist, love triangle, disease, future...hmmmmmm.

August 27, 2012 at 1:27 AM  
Blogger Alessandra said...

I've read Poe's original story. It's a short story which you can read in an hour or so, and it's also easily available online through Project Gutenberg. I liked it. I snubbed Poe during my teens as I found his works too creepy (The Pit and the Pendulum!!), but he's actually pretty brilliant.

About this book: is the ending very abrupt? Or is the book able to stand "on its own"? I hate starting to read a new series and then having to wait a year or two before I can know how it ends. Then when the next book comes out I have to re-read the previous one.

August 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...


Right. This one was an ARC I had sort of forgotten about too. After my friend went to the trouble of grabbing it for me and shipping it to me. I realized I'd forgotten to schedule it in to Dystopian August, so I read it really quickly yesterday when another book turned out not to be dystopian.

Yeah, I was planning on doing that, but I didn't have time. BOO!

Sounds about right.

August 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I know it's readily available, but my review schedule right now is punishing and I couldn't fit in in another hour of reading/hour or so for the review. Maybe I'll read it before I get to book two?

I think this one can stand on its own. There's obviously more coming, but it's not a cliffhanger. You know who's survived and where most people are.

August 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Risa said...

That sounds quite good. Four zombiecorns!? o.O I'll have to get ahold of it somewhere (hopefully soon.) on the other hand, this is my last day of summer break, and therefore I will be dying of homework this coming week, etc. Probably all my reading time will be swallowed but by a gazonkload of work (gazonkload? did I really just type that?) o.O

I think I'll want to read Poe's story first, just to be able to interpret anything. I haven't seen many Poe spin-offs-- mainly Austen and Romeo&Juliet. This should be interesting.

August 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Four of them! Oh no! The end of summer break is a tragic thing, although I have some difficulty with the sympathy, since adults don't get a summer break. Serious bummer. GAZONKLOAD. I love that. If I can remember it, I'm using it.

You should read the story! I would if I had had the time. I'll probably read it before book two.

August 27, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anya said...

I guess the cover's not too bad. Overall the summary seems pretty good, and a love triangle where you can't actually predict the outcome~ very unusual. I might pick this up if it's at the library.

On the other hand, I get unbelievably frustrated when the sequel for a book isn't out yet, and the book has an ending that leads into the next book. *le sigh* verryyyy frustrated. I usually end up giving up on the series entirely, forgetting about it, and moving on. (i.e. Maximum Ride.)

(Risa: *skype bomb* I see you! lol)

August 27, 2012 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I like the cover, and the mood totally fits the book which is awesome.

Oooh, yeah, sometimes I think I should stop reading series books until the series is completed, but then...I can't. So, yeah. I always end up having to reread or end up just giving up.

(LOL! You two are funny!)

August 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I read this one recently too, and while I can't attest to it's retelling status either I will say that the world building was phenomenal. I actually didn't really enjoy the characters too much. I felt like Will was too damn perfect and I thought Araby quite weak, I didn't feel like she actually did anything of her own convictions but rather was always doing as she was told. And she was a bit too trusting in a world that had fallen to shambles. I did however still give it 3 stars I think, just based on the world building alone. Great review Christina, I'm happy you enjoyed this one more than me!

August 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Agreed on the world building. I think that was mostly why I liked this so much too. Most of the characters weren't exceptionally built, especially Will, who definitely felt too perfect.

With Araby, I do see what you mean. I certainly don't approve of most of her decisions (like the drug-doing) and she isn't a super powerful heroine, but I can see why. She's pretty much broken. I'm curious to see what she'll do in the next book. I'm hoping she'll be stronger, since she grew up a bit and gained some optimism by the end.

August 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

Oh, I never quite made up my mind about this book. The reviews have been all over the place and I must admit I've been avoiding it just a little bit. But you've made it clear to me that Araby is a character I most certainly want to get to know, but even more than that, you've made me curious about the worldbuilding.

August 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

Ugh, 2013 is wayyyyy wayyy wayyy too long to wait. Like Giselle, I loved the worldbuilding, the whole book just kind of felt a little seedy/shady AND I LOVE THAT. There's just this real sense of atmosphere you know?

Also, as for the love triangle, I am a little torn in that both guys do awful things so I am not a hardcore Team member at all.

I'm glad you liked Masque Of The Red Death :-)

August 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger aLilLacey said...

Whoops! The goodreads link goes to the wrong book. That one sounds interesting too though : ) The first line if this book sure gets you. I'm glad the rest of the book went well. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a new plot to a disease killing the world type situation

August 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Christy Maurer said...

Oh! I want to read this! I love the cover. I love the Poe story. Love anything plague related! Who wants to share their ARC :)

August 27, 2012 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text) said...

I completely agree with not knowing who to ship her with! I had pros and cons for both.

August 27, 2012 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Wendy Darling said...

I totally agree this triangle could go either way, too! I really liked this one--I hope the sequel lives up to the original. :) Glad you enjoyed, Christina! Nicely reviewed.

Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

August 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ooh, well, I hope you enjoy it. Araby's definitely flawed, but I thought she was really interesting. She's not super weak or super strong. It's sometimes nice to read about a non-kick butt character. It's also nice to see her learning.

August 28, 2012 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes! I loved the feel of it. This is one of those books that sets a fab mood and then just stays there! I totally loved it too!

Yeah, I agree on the love triangle. Sometimes I like both of them, and sometimes I want her to throw them both off of a building.

August 28, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oops! Fixed now. My bad! I was sleepy when I was doing this.

August 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, the book is actually ought now. It came out in April, so I bet the library has a copy it would love to share with you!

August 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Christina said...


August 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Me too! I'm hoping the sequel is even better. I think there's space for that to happen.

August 28, 2012 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

This book seems to be everywhere lately! I really need to read it.
A love triangle that could go either way is always interesting. :)

Thanks for the review.

August 28, 2012 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger M.A.D. said...

Oooh, we are definitely like-minded on this one! After having finished it I still have no idea which guy the author plans to have emerge as the winning love interest.

I WILL say that Elliott fascinates me more, even after the little stunt he pulls with the crocodiles. Had I been Araby, and having a PMS moment, he would've regretted his reptilian faux pas big time lol

Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

August 29, 2012 at 1:59 AM  
Blogger Lynn K. said...

I don't know who to root for either.. >.>
This book left me drained, I was very immersed in it and it felt like I was living in that plague filled world. April 2013 is so far away...

August 29, 2012 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awesome! You totally should. Definitely one of the more interesting love triangles I've encountered in a while.

August 29, 2012 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, THE STUNT WITH THE CROCODILES. Were it not for that, I would definitely be pulling for him, because he has a definite personality. However, that was straight up crazy. I would have walloped him good for that. Also for kissing me without my permission when I was all vowed up and stuff!

August 29, 2012 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

So far away! Glad you enjoyed it too, even if it was emotionally draining!

August 29, 2012 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

"After my friend went to the trouble of grabbing it for me and shipping it to me."
How nice of you. Sometimes I lie to my friends I say I used their gifts when I probably lost them in my room. lalalalalala.
I do have the urge to read ARCs before their release to be a hipster though...because if not, what's the point of getting an ARC?

August 29, 2012 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Christy Maurer said...

That is great! Putting it on hold now!

August 29, 2012 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, I try to as well. I probably had review things and then forgot about it and then decided it might as well wait for Dystopian August, and then almost forgot about it for that. THE DRAMA!

August 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Fantastic! Enjoy!

August 30, 2012 at 9:33 AM  

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