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Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series: Masque of the Red Death #2
Young Adult
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian, Steampunk, Romance

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.
*Digital galley provided by Greenwillow Books for an honest review*
*This review contains minor spoilers for those who have not read MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, please pursue at your own risk*

Bethany Griffin does a fantastic job of keeping the gloom and doom of her world right on the money. And just like in her first novel, the Gothic elements that would be found in Poe's work are prominent throughout. I couldn't wait to get into this book after things were just starting to heat up at the end of Masque of the Red Death.

Araby really starts to break out of her shell in Dance of the Red Death, which actually surprised me. In the first book she was willing to let other's take away the pain of loss and the world around her, Elliott and Will and their Triangle of the Red Death, for example. Through all the traumatic events that have happened in the previous book and even before Masque of the Red Death even began with the grieving of her late twin brother, Finn, Araby begins to understand that using drugs and boys to lessen the problems in her life just made her weak. She begins to take her role in Elliott's rebellion into her own hands now that April, Araby's best friend, is at the mercy of the plague and the rumor of her father circulates through her thoughts. She seeks a better tomorrow, a world without the heinous Prince Prospero and a city without the Red Death or the sickness that is killing off her loved ones.

The love triangle started to irk me more in this book than it had in the first one. In MotRD I tolerated it. In DotRD, Araby made it quite difficult to look the other way when she would do thing with Elliott, get caught by Will and then feel guilty. It happened one too many times for me to tolerate it anymore. I question Araby's motives for lusting her kisses to Elliott while Will is the one that has caught her heart. She knows that she cannot trust Elliott, he even said it in the first book. And her feelings for Will are as clear as day. So why is she stringing both of these boys along? Because it's YA. Because she can. And that is why I detest the device of the love triangle. It did not make me enjoy the book more than I already was, it actually made me like it a little less. Luckily the actual plot was kept at the core of everything or else Dance of the Red Death would have been lost on me.

What I happened to really enjoy about this final book in the Mask of the Red Death series is that we finally get to see how Bethany Griffin takes the famous masquerade ball at Prospero's castle and weaves it into her own world. Unfortunately, the ball is short lived. The first three quarters of the novel is carefully paced out and a little on the slow side, leaving the final part of the novel crammed and rushed. I would have liked to see more of what was going on during Prospero's ball seeing as through all the rushing I was left feeling gypped. I had gone two whole novels waiting for this corresponding scene to that of Poe's short story and I was upset by how fast it went by.

Final Summation: I am pleased by how the MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH series has come to a close. On a happier note despite the abysmal amounts of death and carnage that Araby and company had to endure. With minor pacing issues and a love triangle that failed to keep me satisfied on the second go-around, DANCE OF THE RED DEATH does have some dents. But those dents don't make it any less of a novel. The story progression and the stakes that Araby is forced into in order to scrounge about for the life without death and disease. DANCE OF THE RED DEATH marks for a well captivating conclusion to a world that I'm glad only exists in the works of writing and Poe fans are sure to enjoy.

First Line: My father is a murderer.
Story: A
Cover: XS
*To check out my review of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, click here*