What the heck is it?
The Terrible Girls Club is a (hopefully) monthly feature you will see from me doing a buddy read/review with another member of the club. We bonded over our mutual love of the character Terrible from Stacia Kane‘s Downside series. You can read my review of Sacrificial Magic here. I might be a little obsessed.
Who started it?
Well, I am happy to be included in this little club, but it was not my idea. It was started by the following lovely ladies:
This month I did a buddy read with Samina from Escapism from Reality
. Check out her post here
. We decided on Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin. It is a wonderful little dystopian world where there is a horrible plague that kills just about everyone, unless you are extremely wealthy and can afford this little porcelain mask. Here is the official blurb from Amazon:
Everything is in ruins.A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them. So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all. But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
Yeah. Pretty dark and intense. I LOVED IT! 🙂
In place of a regular review, where I tell you what I did and did not like, I am going to let you in on the discussion Samina and I had about this lovely little horrible world. I hope you enjoy it.
Laura – Welcome to Little Read Riding Hood Samina, it is so lovely to have you! Let’s get started, shall we?
Samina –I’m so excited about this Laura. I haven’t done something like this before. So let’s start from the beginning with first impressions. Did you get off to a slow start or were you straight in?
L – I was straight in. The whole world fascinated and disgusted me at the same time. The characters were all so damaged yet oblivious, and that is always a quick draw for me. Did you like the steam-punk setting?
S – Okay, I was not expecting the steam punk. From the reviews and blurbs, I thought it would a dystopian story with a bit of elegance thrown in (blame the porcelain masks mentions and the cover) so I was slightly taken aback with the stage coaches. I liked the steam punk. It wasn’t too much so as to jar my senses and just enough to set up a great dystopian setup. What about you? How did you feel about the steam punk thrown in?
L – This was my first steam-punk novel *hangs head in shame* so it was a little difficult for me to wrap my head around it. I was trying to reconcile their past with our past, and that sometimes confused me. Because they are vastly different! And obviously don’t mesh.
S- Awww. I understand your dilemma. Sometimes in a steam punk setting it is difficult to keep up. All the settings and world building gets you confused.
L – And I can be easily confused! 😉 Ok, on to the juicy bits … First reaction to the guys; who was your favorite at introductions Elliot or Will? Did that change later on for you? I had a favorite from the beginning, but I kept flip-flopping as the story went on.
S – My favorite when introduced was Will. As Araby already had a crush on him I could not help but have a bit of a crush on him too. Elliot’s introduction was good too but I wish there was more. As the writing style was, for the lack of a better word, economical, it felt slightly abrupt. I was going back and forth between these two! One moment I would love Will and then towards the second half of the book I started liking Elliot more. Will is all hunky with his tattoos and all but Elliot is a tortured soul. He has been through so much and he hides it so well too. He comes across as cold and calculative but he has got that soft streak in him which totally melts me. So, who would you chose between Elliot and Will?
L – WILL! Though right at the end my mind might be changing … I could be persuaded either way. Like you I was drawn to Will because of Araby’s initial attraction … and the tattoos …
S – Laura, *nodding head in approval* I understand. Both were swoon worthy.. Did you have a favorite character? If yes, why?
L – Yes! Will. I love him. Even if he makes some decisions I don’t always agree with. I think ever since Terrible I have a thing for men covered in tattoos … 🙂 I know I said I flipped back and forth between Will and Elliot, but that is as a romantic choice for Araby. For me, it is Will, hands down. What about you? Who was your favorite overall character?
S- Tattoos…..ah. I have got a love hate relationship with them. They can be creepy sometimes but attractive and sexy the other. Okay, I have to control my lustful thoughts and answer your questions. My favorite character has to be Araby. She was unhappy, depressed, naive, slightly jaded and I loved her. I loved her voice and her narration. Throughout I felt sorry for her and simply wanted to give her a hug. Elliot was second but it was close. I know it is so twisted that I like him more than the obvious choice. But I can’t help it. He is warped, cold, and mean and I totally love him. I always like heroes who cannot be trusted. Did your feelings change as the story moved forward? How did your feelings/ attitudes change as you read thought the book?
L – I liked Araby straight through, though I was never sure about her parents or April. As I read on I understood their actions & behaviors as I got to know them. I don’t have to always agree with the choices a character makes, but if I understand where they are coming from then it is ok. Was Araby the most depressed mc you’ve read recently? If not, who else was?
S – The most depressed character I can compare Araby with would be Chess. Feel free to disagree with me but both of them are unhappy and depressed. Trying to get oblivion but that time always comes when the haze dissipates throwing them back in to cold, hard reality. How did you find her? Was she annoying in her self-pity and misery?
L –I agree with you, but I think Araby is more “lost,” for lack of a better term, than Chess. She at least had an institution (The Church) that she could believe in. Araby has (had?) nothing. I did not find her annoying at all. I wanted to cry right along with her. I could not imagine going through what she did. I probably would have turned to drugs as well, if not have given up entirely. I am not made of strong enough stuff to survive in a world like that. Did her casual drug use bother you? I am guessing not … because of our mutual love of Chess 🙂
S – After reading The Downside Ghosts, the drug use seemed like candy in this one. I know this is YA but I have to say the drug use issue was handled well. Not over-whelming but enough to make you feel sorry for Araby and understand her better. She has been through so much and has a dysfunctional family. Especially since she misses Finn.
L – Speaking of Finn … what did you think about her vow to him?
S – I completely understand her feelings and her vow. He was her twin and they lived for each other. She thought that she was responsible for his death and that but denying herself she was being fair to both of them as she was trying to punish herself for being alive. Moving on to the setting and the world, did you feel strongly towards anything?
L – I felt strongly that I was glad I didn’t live in that world, how terrifying it must be!! I seem to be washing my hands A LOT more after finishing this book! What about you, are you a little more of a germ-a-phobe now?
S – I’m not sure. I would be if I was living in that world. Thank God I’m not.
L -Do you believe that science started the plague? Or do you think the Prince had more to do with it?
S – Science alone cannot start a plague. It has to be driven by someone and I think in this case it was the Prince. I wish I could get my hands on him and give him a piece of my mind.
L – Do you think there are other civilizations that survived it out there? Will they be found?
S – I definitely think there is a civilization out there. I believe it will be this other civilization that would bring an end to the decaying world. The story unfolded really well for me and I did not expect the twists or betrayal. Did you expect it? How did you take it?
L – NO! I did not see that coming. I was very upset, but once I realized the motivations for it, I guess I could understand it. Did the “big reveal” of the bad guy surprise you? It shocked the crap out of me!
S – Blimey! I totally did not expect that. I mean I knew there was betrayal somewhere in this story but that bad guy I had never thought of. Well done to Griffins. So, what about your overall thoughts about the book? How did you find the writing and the narration?
L – I enjoyed the pace of the story and the writing style. It was significantly darker than anything I have read recently, and was a good change of pace. You?
S – I loved her writing style. It would suffice to say that less was more for the story telling. The words used were economical and to the point. It did not try to distract from the story or the characters which held my interest to the very end.
L – Did you have a favorite quote or line?
S – Oh, yes. There were quite a few quotes for me to pick from but if I had to chose I would chose a few really good ones.
“I’m barely alive. I stare into space and whimper in my sleep. When I’m awake, I contemplate death, try to read, but never really finish anything. I only have the attention span for poetry.”
“Just because you don’t want to see something doesn’t mean that it will go away. Do you think inhumanity doesn’t exist if you pretend not to see it? Or maybe get too drunk to understand?”
“Ugliness has seeped into every part of the city.
Or maybe the ugliness is in us.”
L – Oh, those are all good ones!
S – The quotes are making me want to read this again. What did you think of the plot? Interesting or predictable? Was it everything you expected?
L – A little of both. I don’t mind predictable, it can be comforting. Although I was a bit surprised when THE bad guy was revealed. I didn’t see that one coming at all! I was sad when I turned the last page; I wanted more. What was your overall impression of the book?
S – Did I say I loved it? It was awesome and one of the best YA books I’ve read in a while. It was something which stays with you, something power full and thought invoking. Would you read the next book?
L – Absolutely! Can’t wait!! 🙂 What about you … would you read a sequel?
S – Hell yeah! I want the sequel like now. I know it’s coming in April 2013 (already started stalking the author) but I simply can’t wait to get more of Araby and Elliot.
L – … and Will!!
Samina, thanks for asking me to read this withyou! I really enjoyed this whole process, and look forward to doing it again sometime!
Leave me a comment, letting me know if you would like to see more like this, more like my regular reviews, or something different entirely … vlog? More author interaction? Guest posts? Etc.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂 Thanks, as always for stopping by!