Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. I received my copy of this novel through Amazon Vine.Thanks to the magic of Goodreads, I can say Masque of the Red Death has been on my radar since August 30, 2011 and as more in-depth descriptions were added, it became one of my most anticipated reads of 2012. Seven months of anticipation, especially after seeing it get consistently positive reviews, make my disappointment in the novel that much more bitter.Masque of the Red Death had all the ingredients for a great novel. A gloomy mood set by the description and Araby's inner thoughts set the stage for a fabulous post-apocalyptic Gothic novel. Poe's classic short story is creatively twisted into something that is both an original work and a loving homage to Poe's genius. Some scenes of the novel are incredibly powerful--like the one with Will, Araby, and the moonlight flower. I had to go back and reread it a few times because I loved it so much.What is there not to like, then? The story sounds fantastic in theory, but it is more often lacking in practice.Araby and Elliott are well-developed characters in all the technical aspects. Elliott has a motivation and is incredibly sympathetic; Araby doesn't have much of a motivation herself, but her despair and loneliness drew me to her and could once again earn a lot of fans out of sympathy for her. My problem is that despite their adequate construction, I couldn't connect with them. They didn't feel alive, so to speak. Their connections with other characters left a lot to be desired too. Why was Araby drawn to Will and Elliott the way she was? The hope they offered? That seems the most likely explanation, but nothing about the characters and their relationships clicked the way they should have. Two-thirds of the way through the novel, very little had happened and there was almost no forward momentum. I procrastinated on a major paper to read this book and I wanted to at least pretend it was a better use of my time, but I couldn't keep up the illusion when I kept putting it down and watching documentaries about Columbine and OJ Simpson's trial on television.The plot did kick in shortly after--oh wow, did it kick in; I couldn't put it down for those last hundred pages--but saving any sign of plot or action for the last one-hundred pages of the book could lose a lot of readers.But now I'm done and my Count of Monte Cristo paper is calling my name, motioning me to come closer with a knife in one white, crinkling hand and pen and paper in the other. I think it's best I go see it before I get stabbed--or worse, before one of my books gets stabbed. As a bonus for readers who want a small insight into how the author chose the names for her characters, look no further than right here. If this is what happens when I express my dislike of a name, I may need to do it more often. Masque of the Red Death left me unimpressed and disappointed, but other readers will doubtlessly enjoy it.