tl;dr This book was ok. Great setting and idea, but the writing wasn't the best. [[MORE]]
Description: Araby Worth is our main character, set in a period (I think pre-industrial revolution? Not 100% sure, but def a steampunk setting) in which a deadly plague has killed off much of the population, including her twin brother. Her father, a scientist, has found a way to protect people by inventing a ceramic mask that keeps people from contracting the sickness. Araby, who has been depressed since the death of her twin, spends her nights in the Debauchery Club with her friend April - who happens to be the Prince's niece. In the Club Araby pushes the boundaries with drugs to make her forget about her pain. Stuff happens, she becomes part of a rebellion, and a love triangle emerges.
I'll be honest, I was drawn by the cover then by the authors name being so similar to mine. So I gave it a shot. I found Araby intriguing. Her struggles with the depression brought on by her brother's death, her fathers absence and general lack of attention when he is around, and her mother's - well I don't know what to call it but her mom isn't the typical love-y nurturing mother. She vows that, since her brother was taken so young and she was helpless to do anything to help save him, she would not experience anything her brother wouldn't get to experience. Relationships, love, really anything that could make her happy.
So I was intrigued from the beginning. At first she falls for Will, a worker at the club who is covered in tattoos and flirts with her every time he sees her. Araby's main reason to head to the club is to do some drugs (like, real drugs that get injected. Not ambiguous "there were drugs there" or "people smoked some pot" no, she's doing something like heroin or something more hardcore) and forget about her pain.
Anyways, I forget how/why exactly but long-story-short April ends up introducing Araby to her brother Elliott who April has described as a poet. Then of course, shit starts getting more typical YA. Elliott ends up convincing Araby to help him stage a rebellion. Araby ends up all kinds of pulled around, with no real leadership ability of her own. She wants to do the right thing, though so I guess that amounts for something. In the meantime, Araby continues to get to know Will and falls for him, while somehow ending up in a pretend relationship with Elliott. Oh joy, the love triangle is rearing its ugly head yet again.
Anyways. I liked the setting of this story, which was taken from Edgar Allan Poe's poem (story?) of The Mask of the Red Death. The writing wasn't that great though, and had it been a better the story itself could have been so much more. Araby could have been so much more than a pawn, but it felt like thats all she was the entire time. I don't know, I was just left slightly disappointed, though not enough to forego reading the next book in the series.