Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Well, I'm glad I didn't go all the way to America for this. That would have been a huge chunk of money wasted. What a load of blah. Firstly I got confused as to the setting. In most cases, when a book contains some deadly virus-plague thing that slowly wiping out all humanity, I automatically think Dystopia. But when they started going on about steam carriages and corsets, I figured I was wrong. I know Steampunk can be set in an alternate future, but most of the time they hang about the Victorian era, where they belong. Also referring to the city they lived in as 'The City', also didn't really help. Don't get me wrong I like a bit of mystery, but at least let me know if we're in an alternate reality or not. That could be one of those silly things that just bugs me. I am aware that I am fussy.
Then there was the fact that the whole thing was told not just in the first person, but also in the present tense, which meant that we were finding things out when the main character did. Unfortunately the snag there was that no-one seemed willing to tell her anything. Sometimes she'd take it upon herself to ask a question, but then for some inexplicable reason, wouldn't (that was actually used in the book). Then you'd finally think they were going to tell her something and there'd be a distraction of some ilk and they'd forget all about it. Which wasn't annoying at all (it was, I'm being sarcastic). It really stunted the pace of the book, not that there was anything going anyway, but still, nothing was happening, really slowly. What did happen was lots of cliches I can imagine the author just shoving in willy nilly because she wanted a Mask of Zorro-esque scene with all the sword fighting and dress slashing, goddammit and no-one was going to stop her. That's the only explanation for it I can think of because THERE WAS NO REASON FOR IT, IT MADE NO SENSE AND WAS STUPID!!! Not to mention being pong-wiffy with cheeseyness.
And don't even get me started on the characters. E-gads. They just got worse and worse as the book progressed. The main character was a complete contradiction to herself and couldn't decide whether she wanted to be vulnerable or strong. She ended up being neither, rather a simpering self centred attention seeker (not in a show off kind of way, more in a woe-is-me I'm so alone and misunderstood kind of way) who wanted to play the hero but when it came down to it always managed to wheedle her way out of it. Other characters (mostly male) kept telling her she was brave, but I'm sorry, I saw not one shred of evidence of her apparent heroics. They must have been saying that just to get into her pants (and by that I mean undercrackers). All she did was moan about how no-one cared about her, ramble on about how guilty she felt over her brothers death and generally wallow in self pity. It's a wonder she got up in the morning. On that topic, it was mentioned that she was suicidal but apart from a couple of mentions, to me she didn't really come across as someone wanting to off herself. She just whined. A lot. The two male leads for just funny in their stereotypical-ness (not really a word but it'll do).
I'm not even going to talk about the god awful love triangle (or not much anyway), because I'm eating dinner while writing this and I don't want to up chuck into it. Suffice it to say there was lots of to-ing and fro-ing, sappy lines, denial and 'it meant nothing's' usually in the space of a few sentences. Yay
There'd also be random bits that were quite graphic and disturbing that felt a bit out of place.
Did I mention the main character was annoying...I did? Well, she really, really was. I think it was the fact that she was so spineless that got to me. There are just too many strong, female leads in the world of literature that there's just no room for self-centred girls like Araby...I've forgotten her surname, that's how much I didn't care about her or her problems.
I usually try to find a positive, but I can't even say the writing made up for everything. It was pretty basic and kinda obvious, just a series of lists describing things or events in rather unimaginative fashion.
I was originally going to give this 2 stars, but during the course of writing this I've changed my mind. So, sorry. This one for me at least, is a dud, though after looking at the reviews, I see I may be in a minority.
Edit: Oh crumbs and I completely forgot that the main character takes drugs. Because her life is soooo terrible and she has nothing to live for...blah, blah, blah!!! Doesn't that make her seem like a wonderful and noble person. Things start getting iffy? Time to space out and go to a happy place!!!
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