It feels like I have been waiting forever to read Dance Of The Red Death, the conclusion to Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death. Y’all, I loved the first book in this duology. It contained things that I am totally gung ho about – plagues, romance, solid writing, Edgar Allan Poe. However, it also ended on a total cliffhanger, and so I was eager in my anticipation of Dance of The Red Death. Unfortunately, I am not as excited or impressed by the sequel. Sure, there were good parts but in the end I feel indifferent about the book.
Griffin’s Dance Of The Red Death picks up exactly where Masque Of The Red Death leaves off — with Araby, April, Elliot, and Will on the run. You see, the world main character Araby lives in is not like our world. People breathe air that has been filtered by masques. The plague is rampant. There is a megalomaniac in charge of everything named Prospero. It is a dark and scary world. Everyone is terrified of getting the red death, but even worse is the weeping death where you basically gush blood out of your eye sockets until you die a quick and horrible death. It is highly contagious. However, there is one glimmer of hope. Araby believes her father may have the cure to the red death. The only issue is that he is basically person of interest number one and because of some weird rumors everyone wants to kill him. So, essentially Dance Of The Red Death is all about the characters racing against time to find this cure because if they don’t, April will die as she has the plague. And no, these aren’t spoilers for this book, it basically says so right in the first chapter. Anyways, I found this book to be much more dark and scary than the first book, and also way more confusing. Granted, it was confusing because I did not make the effort to re-read the first book. Alas, this is what happens when you are lazy.
Araby Worth is an interesting character. Like, she has basically NOTHING left, as her family is all gone, her best friend is dying, and the boys she is into are both total tools. Yet, despite all the bad she carries on. She has tenacity and I like that a lot. She has a lot of inner strength. I will state that there were plenty of times where I wanted her to just make up her damn mind when it came to which character she wanted to be with, but that’s because I am easily frustrated when it comes to love triangles. Honestly, I think that I would have much more to write here about character growth if I had re-read book one.
Now, I actually kind of liked the romance in the first book. I found it hard to choose one character for Araby to place her focus on. I thought it was dark and enthralling and romantic. With Dance Of The Red Death I could not be arsed. Like, it’s like someone just funneled all the sexy out of the book and left it with a serious case of the blahs. For real, I just felt numb to the romance. AND USUALLY I AM ALL ABOUT THAT STUFF. Chalk it up to a lack of sexual tension, I guess.
Frankly, my non-love for Dance Of The Red Death likely has emerged from the fact that it feels just so different from the first book. I mean, yeah that can be a great thing, but it just lacked the pizazz and spark. I found a few of the scenes quite confusing – most especially the scavenger hunt. I need to be able to picture things in order to wrap my head around something, but I had a tough time doing that. The pacing felt excruciating, but to be honest, I had to know what happened with the end so it was not like I could just give up.
I suppose I make this book sound awful, and that is not my intent at all. I did like it, contrary to all appearances, just that it pales in comparison to Masque Of The Red Death. In fact, one of the good things about Dance Of The Red Death is the ending. Y’all, the ending is totally legit and real and not at all a cop out. I found myself quite satisfied with how it ended which is a huge thing for me. So, if you are curious and need to know how the whole Prospero-Weeping Sickness-Dying Best Friend-Will vs. Elliot- thing works out, pick this one up and your questions will be answered.
Disclosure: Received for review via Edelweiss
Other reviews of Dance Of The Red Death by Bethany Griffin:
Bookish Brunette – “I think this book is even MORE intense than the first.”
Fiktshun – “a riveting conclusion”
Finding Bliss In Books – “an undeniably worthwhile follow-up”
Books by Bethany Griffin:
Masque Of The Red Death