Bethany Griffin’s book Masque of the Red Death is one of my favorite books so far this year. Based on the Edgar Allan Poe story with the same name, Masque of the Red Death is a fascinating story of a society that lives with the aftermath of a devastating plague. This is a strange post-apocalyptic world. People live in fear of contracting the contagion. Clothing styles have changed, allowing more skin to show to prove that the wearer is not afflicted. The rich wear special breathing masks and rarely leave their homes. The poor cannot afford the masks and many succumb to the disease.This is a world with giant bats and hungry crocodiles. Airships fly overhead and steam carriages have replaced horse-drawn carriages – the horses have died out. There’s a sense of hopelessness and despair in this world. The population is ripe for rebellion.And there is talk of rebellion from many sides. The population is repressed by the elusive Prince Prospero who rules the city with an iron hand from his isolated castle. Surrounded by fawning aristocrats, Prince Prospero is a bit of a sociopath and his methods are treacherous. His nemesis, the Reverend Malcontent is rapidly gaining followers. The symbol of the Black Scythe appears all over the city. Our heroine Araby Worth lives in the Akkadian Towers with her mother and father. Araby is an interesting character – she suffers from survivor’s guilt and has contemplated suicide. Araby's brother Finn died from the disease and she has put her life on hold, vowing not to experience anything that her brother will not experience.Despite the somber mood of the novel, Araby and her best friend April manage to spend some time in the Debauchery Club, a kind of men’s club that now allows women due to the dwindling population. The club provides an escape for the upper classes but it also has a sinister aspect as well. As members enter the club, they are tested for the contagion. Will works at the club as a doorman and contagion tester as people are tested for the contagion as they enter the club. April is much more outgoing than Araby. Araby prefers to dull her senses and April’s brother Elliot is more than willing to oblige with some sort of drug. I loved the characters in this book. The story is told from Araby’s point of view. Araby was sad, devastated by her brother’s death. Araby was also caring, loving, loyal, and generous. I loved how she felt the need to get masks for the young children around her. Will was one of my favorites. A working class man, Will was responsible for the care of his younger brother and sister. He was clearly in love with Araby and took care that she remains safe. Elliot was a bit of a rake, a scoundrel, not afraid to use people or step on them to advance himself. What is interesting is that the characters are not what they appear to be, so the plot twists are quite fun. Yes, there is a love triangle in this book. The competition between Will and Elliot for Araby’s affections is interesting. With Will, everything felt natural and real. With Elliot, not so much. As you can see, I am rooting for Will. I enjoyed reading Masque of the Red Death. Bethany Griffin has excellent story telling skills. The world was well detailed and captivating. The pacing was well done. I can’t wait to read the sequel. Thanks to the author, I am now interested in reading the original short story by Edgar Allan Poe as well. Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for a review copy of this book.Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.The original short story can be found here.