See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via Edelweiss.Masque of the Red Death wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, but that wasn't enough to rule out reading the sequel. Honestly, with that ending, it was almost impossible for me not to read the sequel! Ah, cliffhangers: so lovely and so painful sometimes. Fans of the first book are going to be happy with the ending they get because it's a lot of the same with a few much-needed steps up.Just as in the first book, Griffin takes Poe's masterpiece of horror fiction and twists it around in all the right ways. Like Poe himself, she's not afraid to shy away from the gorier details; dead bodies litter the ground as people die of either the old plague or the Red Death, the bodies are burned so people don't get infected, and a diseased cult runs around infecting people by decree of their leader. It's creepy, dark and stays true to this series' inspiration in all the right ways.Elliott is the shining star of the book--and the series in general, which is kind of a bad thing for Araby and the other characters. The guy's twisted by what he's been through and only a thin line separates him from being like his uncle, but it's hard not to want to crawl into his head and figure out how he works. Araby steps up and gets stuff done on her own this time around, but she's a bit all over the place and still acts as an observer for most of the novel and lacks the deeper personal motives that make Elliott so much more fun to read about.Despite the step up as the revolution begins, the romance still plays a pretty decent part. Araby even says at one point that romance is the least of her concerns at the moment and just a little while later, she's making out with Elliott. At least she admits she lied. The resolution of the love triangle... Not a fan of how that turned out. Neither guy was that great for Araby and their relationships with her came with their own sets of problems, one moreso than the other. If only that one had won out because it had so much more complexity than what we got. -sighs-As with the first book, the pacing is uneven. Most of the book reads as set-up and only toward the end--maybe the last hundred pages or so--does it kick into gear and really get entertaining. Maybe this was okay in the first book, but in the second book/series conclusion? Not so much. We should already be in the thick of things and strapped in for a wild ride, not watching the characters backtrack and get little done. Props to the game in Prospero's palace, though. It was quick and a little simple, but it was fun and suspenseful nonetheless!Also, who votes for hugs for April? She needs lots and lots of hugs. The poor girl gets nothing.If Griffin gets a deal for a new book or new series, I'd be willing to bite so long as they have a good premise. Maybe they'll be a bit better-paced and her main character won't be outshone by her love interest.