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Review: Dance of the Red Death

Dance of the Red Death

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DANCE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin was released in the U.S. on June 11, 2013, in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Greenwillow Books, the print edition is 336.

DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is the second and final full-length book in author Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death series.

NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Description…

Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death.

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.

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Dark, richly detailed and beautifully written, DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is a riveting conclusion to author Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death series. This story captivates as it takes readers from a city on the verge of collapse to the plague-ridden swamps on its outskirts to the opulent but deadly palace of Prince Prospero for a sinister and macabre masked ball.

This second and final book in the series will keep readers on edge as they follow along with Araby in her pursuit to find her father, save her friend, save her city and defeat the two rivals who wish to see its destruction. It is a haunting story filled with heartbreak and loss, a heroine who is faced with difficult decisions and an ending that is bittersweet.

With the Red Death taking lives faster than the Weeping Sickness ever did, with two madmen on a collision course that will leave the city and its citizens in ruins and with two boys who hold a piece of her heart awaiting her decision, Araby Worth’s time is running out.

But unless she can find her father, discover a cure for this deadliest of diseases, emerge victorious from Prospero’s latest game and stop Malcontent from achieving his goal of total annihilation, there will be no reason for her to choose between a future with Elliott or one with Will. Because there will be no future. Not for her. Not for her friends. Not for anyone.

Beautiful even at its most horrifying, DANCE OF THE RED DEATH weaves its magic and draws readers into its darkly alluring world full of twists and turns, shocks and surprises, with its flawed, damaged, despairing but not defeated, maniacal, malevolent, determined and hopeful characters. All of whom are incredibly fascinating. All of whom serve to make this story one that is memorable.

Author Bethany Griffin gives readers another unique look at a story that has Poe’s as its inspiration. She builds the suspense in this sequel, making this a nail-biter, and gives her once directionless protagonist a purpose, turning her into a heroine that is strong, determined and one worth rooting for.

DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is an immensely entertaining finish to this two-book series. With its battle of good versus evil times two, its triangle-shaped love story, its chilling setting, its intriguing characters and the surprises it delivers along the way, it is a story not to be missed.

Reviewer gives this book…

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On a personal note…

I knew this series-ending book wasn’t going to be an easy read. I was filled with dread about what was going to happen to the characters from the second I began reading. I knew that something was going to happen that would break my heart. I just wasn’t sure how badly broken it would be.

But I can’t reveal the level of heartbreak I felt. I can’t reveal whether or not I’ve recovered from said heartbreak weeks after having read DANCE OF THE RED DEATH. Because then I would have to say why my heart was broken. And that answer is all sorts of spoiler-y.

What I can say is that I thought this book was amazing. The writing was every bit as gorgeous as it was in the first book in the series. It pulled me so deeply into the story that Araby’s reality became my own. And the world she saw through her eyes was the one I saw with mine.

And it was a chilling world. One filled with danger and death and disappointment and disease. But it wasn’t one that gave in to despair. It wasn’t one without hope. It wasn’t one without the possibility of something more.

I absolutely loved the direction this story took. I hadn’t thought beyond Prospero’s party when anticipating this book’s release. I hadn’t wondered what else this story might contain. And I hadn’t thought about what fate might await any or all of its characters.

And I want so badly to talk about their fates. I want to talk about everything in this book, from what went down at the party, to whether Prospero or Malcontent were victorious, to whether the victor was someone else entirely, to whether all of the main characters made it to the story’s end or whether none of them did.

I didn’t think it would be possible to successfully wrap up this series in just two books. It felt like there was too much story left to tell to be able to condense everything into just the one. But the author did an amazing job of bringing the story arc to its conclusion, tying up any and all loose ends and answering the question once and for all about Will and Elliott.

While I would have loved to see a third book, to see the party scene expanded upon, to have a happily ever after for each and every character I adore, this final book in the series was awesome exactly as it was. Even though not everyone got the ending I imagined for them.

I was utterly fascinated by every moment spent at Prospero’s. I was anxious while I awaited Malcontent’s next move. I was torn between wishing for Elliott and wishing for Will. And I was afraid to hope that things might turn out okay in the end.

An ending that came all too quickly. An ending I never wanted to have to reach. Because I did not want to say goodbye to the characters. I did want to leave this dark and disease-ridden world. I did not want to find out who Araby chose or if she survived to have that choice to make. And I did not want to find out what characters may have fallen along the way.

I fell madly in love with the characters in the first book in the series and I loved them no less in this final one. I only wish I had more time to spend with each of them, in this story, in this world. Saying my goodbyes to Araby, Will, Elliott, April, and even Malcontent and Prospero wasn’t easy. I’m still not certain I’m ready to bid them farewell. I’m still holding out a thread of hope for another story. Even if it is a short one.

And even though DANCE OF THE RED DEATH broke my heart, even though it made it impossible to say goodbye, even though it’s a story that didn’t always bring a smile to my face, it is one that I will love forever.

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Favorite passage…

I have so many favorite passages. So, so many. And I’d love to share them all, but that would require pretty much reprinting the entire book. Which is a “no no.”

So, I thought I’d share this one, which may be just a little bit spoiler-y. But it is one of my very most favorites.

Will’s voice is soft. “Lie on your stomach, sweetheart. I want to get a good look at the stitches.”

The throwaway endearment takes me back to the Debauchery Club. A simpler time when I didn’t know dark secrets and wasn’t trying to help save the world. But it doesn’t wipe away his betrayal. He touches my good shoulder to try to help me, and I brush him off.

Elliott sits up, scooting down to the foot of the bed. He doesn’t even try to hide his smirk from Will.

This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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