Masque of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin is an intriguing re-production of Poe’s original version, “The Masque of the Red Death”. Griffin creates a world that has succumbed to an air-borne infectious disease, which leaves people dying on every corner. Only the rich are able to provide their families with masks that purify the air before breathing it in.
Araby Worth, the female protagonist, is part of the elite because her father was the scientist who first created the masks that began saving lives immediately. But her world is far from glamorous. She drinks copious amounts of alcohol and experiments with drugs, all to block out the horror that is going on around her. She’s lost countless friends, family members, but most horrifically, her twin brother.
She is spiraling, out of control, depressed, and constantly cynical. But then she is approached by her best friend’s older brother. He wants her to steal the plans for the masks from her father so that his liberal group can start mass producing them and giving them away for free to the poor. He more importantly wants a revolution, and he wants to overthrow the King. The trick is to get the plans, copy them, and slip them back to her father before he notices. But her father is watched, followed, and guarded by the King’s men. And the King does not want the “low life” having masques.
If Araby does this, and doesn’t make the switch quick enough, her father, mother, and even herself could face accusation of treason. What lengths will Araby go to in order to change the world she’s living in? Can she do enough? What will happen if she fails?