Edgar Allan Poe’s story, the Masque of the Red Death, is one of my favorite short stories. Even though some of his work fell a little flat for me(The Tell-Tale heart, mainly), most of his work is perfectly creepy, and The Masque of the Red Death is one of the creepiest and the one that’s stayed in my memory ever since I had to read it for school in the tenth grade. That being said, I had a high expectation for this book based on Poe’s story, and it did not disappoint.The devastated world in this book is absolutely stunning, in the saddest way. It lingered on every page and in every word. When I was reading this book, I became completely sucked into the dark world with porcelain masks, a plague, steam engine carriages, and a city almost in ruins. I really cannot gush enough about the world-building, because it is definitely the star of this book. Characters? Who needs them when you have a setting like this! Plus, the characters are actually fairly interesting as well. It took me a while to relate to Araby, but her character growth and development is extremely evident throughout the book. She’s not the most likable character in the beginning, but while there’s tons of intrigue and plot in this book, Araby’s character arc is well done, if sometimes overshadowed by the world and plot that surrounds it.Every character in this book fascinated me. They were all complex, three-dimensional characters who had flaws and made mistakes as well as triumphs. I was continually interested in characters like Will, who at times is the ultimate nice big brother taking care of his siblings, but who also seems resigned at times, and also Araby’s best friend, who is much more than just another sidekick.The plot in this book is thick, and I never knew what was going to happen. Every character had secrets and strong motivations to propel the plot further, and I almost never tired of it. I say “almost” because there was a bit in the middle of the book where I began to tire of the story a bit, but it picked back up rather quickly. This is also the only bit of the story where I was genuinely frustrated with Elliott, so I was quite glad when I kept reading and in the next twenty or thirty pages I went back to actually appreciating all the characters again.I can’t say this book is just as haunting as Poe’s original tale(It is Edgar Allan Poe, after all), but it certainly comes close enough to satisfy. Suddenly, the world in which the Red Death exist is real and fleshed out, and contains characters I care about. A read I highly recommend.Final Impression: A solid telling of The Masque of the Red Death that entrances with the world alone, with interesting characters being a delightful plus.4/5 stars.Review originally posted on my blog at Book.Blog.Bake.