Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Red Death, book #2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Well, now. Dance of the Red Death picked up right where Masque left off...with little to no review of the previous book's events. I suggest a re-read of Masque if you've got the time. (I'd do it for the swoons alone...they are far and few in this follow-up novel.) Fighting abounds, escapes and near-misses are aplenty, and even an I love you or two is uttered. And yet, this finale in the Red Death series just wasn't quite what I was hoping for.
Our Heroine: That damned silver syringe makes an appearance once again, but this time around, Araby is able to refuse oblivion. She has learned to deal with grief and regret on her own terms. Araby's truly grown as a character, from the spoiled, naïve girl she was in Masque to the battle-hardened, world-weary revolutionary she is in Dance. Despite all of the horrific things she's been a witness to, she still maintains hope that together, she and Elliott can right the wrongs of their families.
The Love Triangle: In retrospect, I think it was always pretty obvious where Araby's affections lie, even after loyalties were tested and betrayals had come between characters. But just because it was obvious, doesn't mean I wanted to see it. I always favor my bad boys with a side of redemption, and this series was no different. What Araby says is true: Elliott would make a good leader. What I'm unsure of is whether that fact alone remains his only redeeming quality. I think Araby's presence does help to soften his demeanor some, but I'm not sure anyone could truly ever crack the ice surrounding his heart.
Will, on the other hand, is outwardly brusque, but on the inside, he's like a big, cuddly teddy bear. His presence on the airship, and among the group in general, is at first only mildly tolerated. His misdeeds are few but they are great, and he has a lot to atone for. But unlike Elliott, whose actions only serve himself or his purpose, Will is trying to regain trust. It's clear that his feelings for Araby haven't changed and that he'd be willing to do anything to protect her...even if that means protecting her from Elliott.
I remember Masque being much swoonier. There were moments, but where were the lines like this?
“And I’m falling in love with you,” he whispers. “But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals. Do. Not. Trust. Anyone. Especially me.”What? You weren't swooning at that point? ;0)
The World: Still as depraved and desolate as it was in the first book...but maybe more so with the release of a second contagion. Now, even a mask may not keep you safe. But maybe the prince can? Doubtful.
The contradictions introduced in the first book are still prevalent in this sequel: the decaying, crumbling city versus the decadent castle. Traveling through the treacherous, crocodile-infested marshlands versus taking flight in an airship. The impoverished versus the wealthy. I imagine that's exactly what it would come down to if such a plague were to be released upon us today: those who can afford to survive and those who cannot.
My only issue with the world-building is actually one that I find all too common in dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels: what about the world outside of Prospero's city? Has there been no communication with the outside world? Is this place all that exists any longer?
I thought two books would be enough, but I was wrong.
At first, I was rather elated that this would be a duology. I love when authors and their publishing houses realize that the material is better suited for a two-part series as opposed to the standard trilogy. Although a satisfying ending to the series, Dance left this particular reader wanting still more from this derelict world, despite the dire conditions the characters still face. Sure, both books were crammed with drama and action and all manner of twists and turns. And the ending was great. But I still have so many questions. Still, the one that plagues me most, and the one I'm least likely to ever get an answer to is, Would Elliott really have been able to do it?
Be sure to check out my guest post from the author plus a great giveaway as part of the Dance of the Red Death Blog Tour, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours!
the Red Death series