Masque Of The Red Death Bethany Griffin Book Review

I’m pretty sure that the works of Edgar Allan Poe make for awesome source material as evidenced by Nevermore and NOW by  Bethany Griffin in Masque Of The Red Death. It feels cliché to type this, but Masque Of The Red Death transported me to a place where fear of airborne pathogens rules the streets and there is a rather stark division between main character Araby Worth’s gilded world of privilege and the world of the underclass.

The Masque Of The Red Death Bethany Griffin Book Cover

The Masque Of The Red Death

I feel a bit rah-rah about the books I’ve been reading lately. Y’all I am so very much a cheerleader for Masque Of The Red Death. It opens on a macabre note, with Araby and her BFF April (HOLLA CHARACTER WITH MY NAME) on the way to the debauchery club, the first image we are presented with is that of the corpse collectors. You see, Masque of the Red Death has one of my favorite things EVER, a plague and it’s very Bring Out Your Dead with the body count. So, anyways, the plot really kicks off when April disappears and Araby gets caught up trying to help her and oh yeah assisting in fomenting a rebellion.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bethany Griffin’s world building. Her writing is lush without being purple and there is this constant current of fear. It is quite Gothic, I’d say, like I got the same feeling from Masque Of The Red Death that I did from Rebecca, that I just know something bad is going to go down. Anyways, Bethany Griffin builds a world that is claustrophobic and harsh. There’s so much fear involved: of outsiders, of disease, of the megalomaniac ruler who calls himself The Prince. Like, I had no trouble picturing the rich people towers, the castle, and the crowded, dirty town streets.

Straight up, there’s a love triangle in Masque Of The Red Death that I actually did not hate. The characters vying for Araby’s love and attention are not perfect and are deeply flawed. I love that. The two paramours, Will and Elliot, do some really scary, crappy things, but I don’t know, I guess this sounds bad, but I was able to forgive all that because the two felt real to me. And like, they are definitely battling inner demons and have really difficult choices to make, choices bigger than ‘to make out or not to make out’.

Frankly, I am team Araby. I love how Bethany Griffin constructed Araby’s privilege. We sort of see Araby revel in her privilege without any deep concern, walled off from caring about others by her grief for her brother. Then she slowly becomes aware of the circumstances of the under class. We see her grow from a self-centered, self- contained girl to one who knows she can’t sit idly by any more — not when so much is wrong with her world.

Friends, I can’t recommend this book, Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, enough. There’s some deep subtext in Masque of the Red Death that I’m still thinking about a month later. Yet, I realize not everyone will love Masque and that’s fine, we all read differently. You want something to analyze with your YA book club? Read this book. I am honestly looking forward to book two and what is definitely, I hope, the beginning of a bright career move for Bethany Griffin.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Other reviews of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin:

Into The Hall Of Books
Presenting Lenore
Bloggers Heart Books
A Cupcake And A Latte

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I loved this book so much. SO MUCH.

  2. Yay for a character with your name-I love finding that in books! I am planning to read this very soon and will hopefully enjoy it as much as you.

  3. As someone who shares your feelings on love triangles, I’m very relieved to hear that you didn’t hate this one. I have to say that I HAVE come across a couple that don’t bother me as much, but they’re few and far in between.

    Glad to hear you’re on a good reading streak! If I could pick up the pom poms for every book I read…well..I’d probably never leave my apartment. 🙂

  4. I love love triangles when they’re done well. I love them. But I AM TEAM WILL. Although I like the other guy. But I love Will, let it be known. That boy made my heart flutter, which was rare in this DARK AND THRILLING and awesome and creepy book.

    I loved it. World-building was incredible! Setting was incredible! I’m so ready for the next book I can’t stand it. Bravo Bethany Griffin!

    • See, I’m not at all a fan of love triangles.

      At this point, I am not sure what team I am on, maybe Team Araby?

      Also, word to Masque being dark and thrilling, I can’t think of better terms than that.

  5. I honestly wasn’t planning on reading this…until now! You’ve convinced me. It sounds like the book is very atmospheric and I LOVE that. Fabulous review, April!

  6. NICE use of the word paramour. I approve. I just got a copy of this and squeed all over it. 😀

  7. Thanks for the great review April. This book hasn’t hit my radar yet, but I definitely think I’m going to pick up a copy. I love when a book keeps me thinking weeks after I finished it!

  8. I love Plagues!! (Ok; that feels odd to have said it, but really? It’s one of my favorite plots.) And I don’t know why I haven’t yet read this one, because it sounds absolutely fantastic.

    I’m trying to get a book club together, maybe I’ll suggest this for our first read too! (I love reading new books with them, instead of re-reading…)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • Jac, I think you will for reals love this one cuz the way Griffin writes the plague is fantastic and the fear of it is so palpable.

      I hope your book club does read this one!

      • YAY!!! I’m serious – I’m such a plague freak. Non-Fic, Fic, etc!! (I’ve even started reading zombie books since they sort of push that off as a plague, I just can’t get enough.)

        LOL! I’m a freak…

  9. I’m honestly a little scared of this book, because a plague, as cool as they are.. holy fucking terrifying. I think I read a review once of this, that said something about masks and how creepy they were. When I was in basic training, I had to do the gas chamber. Omg. that was rough. So I’m invisioning everyone barfing and snotting themselves in the streets until they fall over and die.

    this cover rules. I love it so much. I will definitely be reading this one, just not sure when I’ll get to it. Love seeing you so excited about a book. Yay to the character April! :o)

    • See, I like reading about plagues because they scare me, like the super flu in The Stand by Stephen King gave me nightmares because I could legit see it happening.

      I did not know you went to basic training. Every day, I swear, you get more and more interesting.

      Big shout out to girls named April 😉

  10. Love this book! I also loved that there’s a character named April(it’s my name too). Have you read the second one yet? I haven’t been able to yet, and haven’t gotten to the ebook about April since I don’t have a Kindle.

  11. I would love to see another Poe retelling…maybe the Murders on the Rue Morgue 🙂


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