The Dance of the Red Death is the sequel to The Masque of the Red Death and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Araby has escaped the city, leaving the Red Death and the chaos behind. Reeling from the betrayal of both Will and her father, she takes refuge in the swamp and in the arms of Elliott. But they can’t rest for long; Araby searches her father’s notebook for clues for a cure, and his innocence. She knows she must return to the city and face Malcontent if she is to have any chance of saving April.
I wish the last 100 pages of The Dance of the Red Death had been expanded upon to be the whole novel. In fact, the title suggests the dance would be the central element. Prospero is determined to hold a great ball in the face of the Red Death; his entertainments cruel and controlling. The scenes at the dance are dark and menacing, will a real threat towards the characters. The chiming of the clock and the masquerade, hark back to the original inspiration that was Poe’s story. Yet, everything seemed to be rushed over, from the starting pages, right through to the startling end. I wanted to love this book but it contained too much and not enough in depth.
There is no chemistry between Araby and Elliott. Every time she turned to him, I felt it was just so the reader would be put out on Will’s behalf. In The Masque of the Red Death, my loyalties swung between her two suitors but this time, I was just annoyed that she was stringing Elliott along and not forgiving Will.
Malcontent’s army, the people in the swamp, Elliott’s band of rebels, Araby’s father, Prospero’s kidnapping antics, the sinister ball and the constant sense of running from one life or death situation to the next, didn’t really leave space for anything to be developed in full. Ultimately, I ended up enjoying the book, mostly for Prospero’s evilness but it could have been so much more.
The Dance of the Red Death is published by Indigo, an imprint of Orion, and is now available in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.