Reading Level: YA
Hardcover: 320 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen 4/24/12
To me, this is a hard one to review. I liked it and I didn't like it. Sometimes the story went round and round and I felt like it was giving me whiplash. This book had a problem that it didn't know what genre it wanted to be. Was it steampunk, science fiction, horror, love story, historical fiction? But pretty much you get everything that I just named in this book and unfortunately, it's not done very well.
The first part of the book is just confusing. The prologue tells us about Araby and her family (brother and father) and her mom who has abandoned them. They seem to be in hiding in a basement and cannot go above ground. Okay, check. Something above is dangerous. But that was in the past about 3 or 4 years ago.
Araby and her friend April are heading to the Debauchery Club pretty much to do what the name of the club says. Both seem to be drug addicts. However because of the Red Lung, everyone who can must wear a special masque and they are checked over by the bouncer at the club. Who has taken a liking to Araby.
I enjoyed the relationship that was budding between Will and Araby. Will is a young man (18/19?) who has custody of his two younger siblings who immediate take to Miss Araby. All is well and good. Until April goes missing and her brother Elliott comes into the picture. Elliott is portrayed as a rake and a general villain. But you know what? Griffin doesn't know how to draw out suspense, so you pretty much know that Elliott is just a guy who is misunderstood. He's also the one who has been supplying Araby with her drugs.
The plot is confounded and is hard to follow. Elliott tries his damndest to get Araby to fall in love with him, but her heart is firmly with Will. Sweet wonderful Will.
But what we really need is a villain. And that would be Elliott's uncle who has killed his father, possibly kidnapped April and is controlling his people by allowing them to die. He is also the self-appointed Prince of the area.
The last quarter of the book is so jumbled and rushed and everything seems to pop up conveniently and possibly inconveniently. A new disease has sprung up. (?) Someone who we thought was dead, is not. The person we thought was evil is not and the person we thought was sweet is not, but for a reason. A reason that is overused and should pretty much be banned from young adult books especially when there is nothing leading up to this one thing happening.
I really tried to like this book and the characters, but I just couldn't.