I'd like to thank the publisher and Edelweiss for allowing me to read this book.
Well now. This is going to be a very polarizing book when it comes out., On one hand, its a very interesting idea inspired by The Masque of the Red Death. On the other, the finished format was poorly done.
I'm going to bring this up now, because it was the biggest issue I had through the book. I had noticed while I was reading, that the main character liked to reference she was Jewish - a lot. Characters were nasty to her being Jewish and I had no idea why. Clearly this was a story that did not seem to be set in WWII, but for the life of me I could not understand why the overabundance of antisemitism was present in this. It wasn't until I finished the book and was reading the author note that I realized the author while doing research on the plague discovered that people believed those who were Jewish were seen as harbingers of the plague or cause of it.
...This would work if there was some sort of religious angle expressed in the book. Of course, there wasn't. This could have worked if any of the characters referenced this, they did not. This also would have worked if we had some kind of ... world building besides this castle and the Duke's manor, there isn't. So, all in all, you have a book full of people just absolutely dog-piling on her and the main character referencing her being Jewish and you not really knowing why... and it isn't until hitting the author's note at the end that it makes sense, but came across poorly.
It's the BIG reason that I bring this down two stars. The third star being ... vampires? Really? It sounded and read like a last minute decision. I wasn't completely thrilled with it and I think it hurt the story. I would have liked a thriller / murderer aspect but seeing the vampires being the cause of the plague or the plague making vampires was poorly written.
I honestly really can't say I'd recommend this book to any one because if you're Jewish you might find issue with the above. All in all, there have been other Edgar Allen Poe inspired stories this one probably shouldn't be on your list to try unless you're really desperate.