Goodreads Summary: "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."
I think I've fallen in love with re-tellings. Whether I've read the book that they are based on or not I find myself filled with renewed interest in the prior book, when the story is told right, when the right twists are given. These re-tellings have the power to make things new again, to lend excitement where it may have previously fizzled out. If I haven't read the story before they have the power to draw me to the original creation, to have me googling similarities, to find out where the stories intertwine and to ultimately make me crave a reading of the original.
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin is one of these re-tellings. I was immediately sucked into the world that Griffin had created in her novel. There was something so poignant about the first chapter, something that invoked emotion in me, something that made me keep reading. Something that made me hate to put this novel down even for a second.
I was originally drawn to the cover, like a moth to a flame, than found myself even more interested when I saw Edgar Allan Poe mentioned...a YA novel based on one of this brilliant man's short stories? Count me in! I devoured this woman like a mad woman from one of his stories. After having only read a few chapters I found myself googling the original story to get a feel for its synopsis, to make the connections, to see what I was missing out on because I hadn't read this particular Poe story before. I made them and decided on the spot that this was a short story worth reading.
Araby is a character of discovery, of hidden depths, of hidden strength. April is a mystery. Then there is Elliot and Will, the kind of boys that give meaning to love triangles. Together they form a magnificent for Griffin's gothic nightmare of a world.
It's very like one of Edgar Allan Poe's works, you can never trust what you think you know. Characters you feel are for one thing may be for another, plans you think are in motion aren't, and you can never be sure that things are what they seem. This is a book that will keep you guessing.
As a literature major I love books like this, books that can catch someone's interest and make them want to look back on the original...that makes them curious about something that otherwise may have never piqued their interest. I think they're a wonderful teaching tool, a great way of learning comparison and contrast. Actually, I think that was an optional assignment in the Adolescent Literature class I took a few years back; I only wish this book had been around then. Masque of the Red Death is an amazing example of this power that authors can hold over this and a new favorite read of mine. I'm looking forward to seeing what else this brilliant author can come up with.