Friday, June 28, 2013

Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #2) by Bethany Griffin

Release date: June 11, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 336
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.
Let's start bluntly. Dance of the Red Death was a bit underwhelming for me. After such an interesting and promising start in Masque of the Red Death I had very high hopes for this sequel. While certain aspects did live up, others fell a bit flat.

As in the first book, Bethany Griffin's world is vividly imagined and lushly described. One can see the damp, dirty streets and almost smell the rotting bodies of the Weeping Sickness and Red Death's victims. It was still a world to rival Edgar Allan Poe's own and one that would do him proud.

But unlike the first book, certain plot elements were lacking. First, I found myself absolutely dragging through  most of the book and had to force myself to read it. It felt to me like everyone was rushing around the city with a purpose, but very little was actually happening until the end. Then, when we reach the end, Prospero's comeuppance is rushed and unsatisfying. There are also quite a few questions left completely unanswered.

Luckily for us, Araby has become a much more compelling protagonist than she was in the first book. She doesn't sit around and let the big strong men take control. Instead, she stands up and works toward her goals, generally completely defying said men. Watching Araby be strong, defiant, brave, and loyal is what kept me reading, even when I wanted to just quit this book.

While I really enjoyed Masque of the Red Death, I can't say I feel so excited about Dance of the Red Death. But, the world Bethany Griffin has imagined and expanded from Edgar Allan Poe's short story is an awesome one and definitely the highlight of the book.

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