Review: Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having found I am not safe from corrections on Goodreads, 🙂 ,  And having enjoyed this book I decided to share.  it’s odd though.  In all the reviews I have done, and there have been hundreds since I started doing it a year ago,  no one has bothered to correct mistakes, and I sure there have been many.  My memory is horrid on details. But this one detail, on a companion book to the one reviewed, bothered people on both sites enough to comment on it.  Bacigalupi fans must be true fans.  I love his work, and I don’t know how I got the location wrong, since I placed it in India when I read it.  Sometimes I just am clueless (also, he is roundabout in mentioning locations and pinning them down in all his books).   So I decided to get over my silly hurts and get on with it.   So here is an interesting one:

This is an imaginative retelling of the Poe classic “Masque of the Red Death” in which a bunch of aristocrats hide in a castle to try and evade a plague outside. This one starts out in a similar fashion. The city has been decimated by a plague, with shows with bruised skin and open, pus filed sores. It seems to be in the air as well as contact, although medicine and technology are not as advanced. The richer people are issued masks that filter out the bad air, provided by the “ruler” of the city, one self-styled Prince Prospero, who is holding a tight grip on a city that is falling into ruins. He seems to have no interest in reviving the city, bringing hope to the masses, or even curing the disease or giving masks to the poor. Araby, a wealthy young debutante, or she would be if the world was “normal” spends her time at the Debauchery Club where you can forget your troubles any way you want – liquor, drugs , sex. She forgoes the latter, but seeks oblivion as she feels guilt over the death of her younger brother. There is a guy at the entrance, who checks all the patrons to see if they are clean, so they can remove their masks if they wish, that she seems to connect with briefly in their encounters, She is usually accompanied by her best friend April, a niece of the prince. April introduces her to her brother Elliott, a handsome young an with a goal in mind to rebuild the city. The book details the plans of Elliott, Will, and Araby as they try and make sense of this last chance at beating this plague, as another disease, called the Red Death, comes sweeping in, killing it’s victims in a matter of hours. Great world-building, although somewhat simplistic in vocabulary and writing style, but nevertheless, if you enjoyed Poe, this is a great way to stretch out that classic short story.

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