My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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 to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . 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 boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
My thoughts: This is a unique book being steam punk and dystopian along with a rather dark storyline. The world of Araby Worth is not one of love. A deadly plague is wiping out much of the population. The very rich can afford special masks that Araby's father developed. Araby lives a privileged life of night clubbing and heavy drug use. It is in a night club with her shallow best friend, Apryl, that Araby meets Will. Then Elliott. And she loses Apryl. Thus we have a love triangle and a conflict.
Will, Elliott and Araby's parents' characters are carefully revealed, providing both Araby and the reader with surprises and likeable secondary characters. Plot, secrets and details are hammered out nearly perfectly. Which brings me to my concerns about the story.
1. Everything is set up for the conflict. The end. What?! I don't know when the next book is being released. I liked the writing style enough to continue. What I didn't like was...
2. Araby is truly too stupid to live. So she feels guilty that her brother died and vows to never enjoy life to punish herself for surviving. Then she goes to clubs and partakes of various chemicals to not hurt so much. Oxymoron. Also, for a girl so determined to not have physical relations with anybody, she certainly puts herself in dangerous situations more times than not. For all she has passed out, what makes her so certain she has never been raped. Which brings me back to...
3. Araby is too stupid to live. She lacks backbone. Elliott tells her to steal something and she does. He tells her to steal something else, which puts her in a particularly dangerous situation and she asks no questions, acutely feels the danger then returns to Elliott who is clearly using her because...? She is really stupid.
Despite Araby's self-victimization in such a dangerous and dark world, I liked the book. Araby being such a shallow character living an oxymoronic life gives her room to grow. As this is obviously a series, I certainly hope she develops some common sense, a backbone, and a personality.
Writing style - Very good. A world is created with enough description that the reader can picture the surroundings.
Pace - Perfect. The twists are well timed and the story continues to develop. There is nothing slow about the story yet it doesn't hit so fast that I miss something in passing.
Violence - Heavy. That's what makes this book so dark.
Sex - Mildly implied unless you count the rape implications which are part of the violence. Rape is not described but Araby sees the "after" picture. It is not clearly spelled out for younger readers but definitely a threat of the society she lives in.
Swearing - None.
*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.