Series: Masque of the Red Death, #2
Genres: Dystopia, Steampunk, Young Adult
Published by Greenwillow Books on June 11, 2013
Pages: 336 pages
Reviewed by: Kristina
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.
DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is grotesquely beautiful in some ways but also slowly paced and a bit confusing. The visuals and the references to Edgar Allan Poe’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH were huge highlights. Much of Prospero’s macabre masked ball reflects the grotesque beauty of this world. Even outside of the ball there are so many instances of horror and death that Araby and her friends face. One of the greatest scenes in DANCE OF THE RED DEATH were the different colored rooms Araby travels through on a sadistic kind of scavenger hunt. The rooms along with the sighting of the ‘Red Death’ at the ball my favorite bits as these were the most blatant references to Poe’s work.
While I loved the visuals and world building I couldn’t get into the story or connect with the characters. Having read MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH over a year ago I forgot a ton of character development and plot of which DANCE OF THE RED DEATH does little in the way of clarifying or rehashing. This led to a lot of grasping for clues and patching together bits and pieces of information which ruined any connection or understanding of the story and its characters. DANCE OF THE RED DEATH also dragged with a ton of setup and characters just talking about what they are going to do. The real excitement and faster pacing happened at the end of the book which was both welcoming and frustrating to have to wait for.
Since I had to piece together memories of who was who, I was not that emotionally invested in Araby and her friends. I understood the need to go to Prince Prospero’s ball and find a cure for the plague, but character motivations seemed so muddy that I wasn’t really sure of who was doing what or why. Lack of understanding character motivations did not help the love triangle between Araby, Elliot, and Will. In general, love triangles are usually not my favorite as they take so much time away from the actual plot. This love triangle was a hard one to love as both Elliot and Will just seemed to be lacking in qualities to like and didn’t do much to endear themselves.
DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is the last book in the Masque of the Red Death series and while it was confusing and frustrating at certain points I really enjoyed this retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s work and the worldbuilding.