Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading… Dance of the Red Death

Monday, May 27, 2013

Just Finished Reading… Dance of the Red Death

Review of Dance of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
To be published by Greenwillow Books
on June 11, 2013

Source: e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Connect with the author: website : Twitter.

Summary (adapted from Goodreads:) 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.

Twenty words or fewer:  a moody, atmospheric story of love, death, madness and betrayal that will appeal to fans of Lauren DeStefano's Wither series.

My (longer) take:  Spoiler-free for both books!

I really enjoyed Masque of the Red Death -- you can read my review here -- and was very excited to read this.

Dance of the Red Death takes up right where the first book left off, and with little to no recap.The book offered a few memory-jogging reminders here and there, but there were definitely things I'd forgotten about the first book.

I remembered many of the main plot points -- a sheltered main character whose nightly clubbing with her best friend is a way to forget the death of her twin from the illness that's spreading across her city. The twins are only one of a number of pairs and doubles featured in this book: there are actually two diseases, two sinister figures to contend with, and -- to some readers' dismay -- two guys. More on that later...

What was impossible to forget was the sad, spooky, ravaged story world in which this book takes place. My review of Masque of the Red Death called the book something like post-apocalyptic steampunk Gothic horror, and the description still stands. These books are studies in contrasts: love and death, beauty and horror, betrayal and sacrifice. In this city ravaged by disease, there is an elevated neighborhood inhabited by the rich, a seedily chic nightclub, a swamp, and a castle with turrets and a drawbridge. There's cool alt-technology -- hot air balloons and steam carriages -- but all the residents have to protect them from disease are masks, and only the rich can afford them.

The books also feature characters who are full of contradictions. In Masque of the Red Death, Araby is naive and a little spoiled, but also truly grieving her brother's death. As that book progressed, she learned hard truths about both her parents, was betrayed by someone she thought was trustworthy, and learned that someone close to her had caught the contagion. In Dance of the Red Death, she's sadder but wiser. She -- and a group who has escaped the city in an airship -- hope to track down a rumored vaccine for the contagion and find a way to get clean water to the masses.

Just as in the first book, much of Araby's angst is centered around her attraction to two guys -- one with a tortured past and idealistic dreams of fixing the city's ills, the other gruff but nurturing. The triangle-y aspect of this didn't bother me as much as some, because I thought I could see which way things were headed. In Dance of the Red Death, Araby is still processing a betrayal by one of the guys, and thus does kind of torture both of them by leading one on while pining for the other. Usually that kind of stuff drives me nuts, but I guess in a book filled with so much gloom and despair, this just added on more in a way that kind of worked for me.

What I did wish for was the long promised masked ball scene. Yes, it's finally there, though as part of the climactic showdown, so there wasn't as much of a focus on the ball as pure macabre spectacle as I'd hoped. The book ends with some loss and sadness -- of course -- but also on a note of hope.

All in all, I've really enjoyed this pair of books. I definitely recommend them, and can't wait to see what Bethany Griffin writes next!

I'll be giving away BOTH these books this week for Freebie Friday, so be sure to stop by!

American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

It's Memorial Day here in the US, a day to remember and honor men and women who died in service to our country.

Last year, I did a review series called YA on the Homefront, which begins here.  I reviewed If I Lie by Corrine Jackson, Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie, and Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, all of which focus to some extent on soldiers who lost their lives in battle and the hardships suffered by their loved ones. All were great and moving stories that I wholeheartedly recommend.


25 comments:

  1. I didn't read your review since I'm reading this one really soon. I'm glad you liked it though!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did really enjoy these -- great atmosphere and I actually liked the romance, triangle and all :)

      Delete
  2. The no recap is so hard for me, because I have a bad memory, but I can usually get caught up and remember the basics

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggled a little. There were reminders but the details were hazy. On Friday I'm giving away both books!

      Delete
  3. Wonderful review! I enjoyed them too, the second more than the first. I was so happy to get the masquerade ball (finally). I enjoyed comparing Griffin's to Edgar Allan Poe's short story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On my review of Masque, I linked to the story. I think she does a great job re-interpreting Poe!

      Delete
  4. eh, it's usually hard for me to remember events that happened in the first book, and i'd hate it if the author didnt refresh my memory! im glad you enjoyed it though! Great review!
    - Farah @MajiBookshelf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha -- glad it's not just me. There were bits of recap, but I had to sneak a peek at my notes on book one.

      Delete
  5. I need to read this book too! There are too many books that I need to read LOL! And yes, I have to work on Memorial, (half-day) still, I might pick up a military read.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved Masque of the Red Death and really enjoyed the ending so I can't wait to get my hands on Dance of the Red Death. I am a little worried about the lack of recap, like said above, since it has been awhile since I read the first book. Maybe I will check out the audio version to get up to speed! Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll probably be okay. I do wish I'd read them back to back though...

      Delete
  7. Hmmm...I'm not sure about this. I did not like the first book as much as I had hoped I would and was really pissed off about the love triangle so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to continue with this series. Enjoy your Memorial Day-I'm looking forward to spending time with my war vet grandfather (Korea).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to email you and find out what about the triangle annoyed you and then I can advise.

      Give your grandpa our best :)

      Delete
  8. Another series I've to read. It sounds amazing, though I've got to read it back to back because I have poor memory. Great review, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So maybe it is a good thing I haven't read the first so that when I do I can read back to back. I don't do well with no recap. lol Can't wait to check these out!

    ReplyDelete
  10. interesting. Maybe I'm interested in these books after all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so excited for this book! I was really surprised by how much I liked the first one so I'm glad you liked this one as well. I do wish there was a bit of recap, though, I read Masque so long ago!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I haven't read this book but I will check it out. Thanks for the review.

    Andreea

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ooh I'm excited to read this, I really liked book one. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed this, and that the love triangle didn't bother you. I agree, angst is right at home in this setting. :-) Fabulous review!

    ReplyDelete
  14. OH OH OH!!!! I'm SO excited about this!!!! I loved the MotRD. I can't wait to read this!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fabulous review! I have got to figure out when I can get these read!!! I really like how different these books seem, even though they're fairly dark.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you'll leave me a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and try my best to reply. Leave me a link to your blog or website!

 
Blog design by Imagination Designs