Title: Dance of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death
I’ve been waiting a while for Dance of the Red Death, so when I was given an early copy, I was ecstatic to start reading. The dark tones of Masque of the Red Death were different that the other books I had read before and I found I really enjoyed it. Dance of the Red Death has those same dark tones, but sprinkled in with a little bit of hope.
Dance of the Red Death picks up right at the end of Masque of the Red Death. They are on the airship, trying to escape the city as it falls into chaos. April has been infected with the contagion, Araby’s got a horrible shoulder wound, and the tension between the conflicting parties is thick enough to feel choking. Araby has agreed to be with Elliot in order to give him a better appearance, but things are getting confusing between them. On top of that, Araby isn’t sure what her feelings toward Will are and she doesn’t know what to do about their relationship.
Araby is a strong character. She doesn’t let things stand in her way and finds creative ways to get around obstacles. She’s not self-sacrificing in the superficial way a lot of heroines in today’s Young Adult books are. She thinks her choices through and figures out which option is best for her and everyone involved. She knows how to be a part of a team and that sometimes strength is in numbers.
Elliot and Will are two very differing boys. Will takes a bit of a quiet, more backseat role for part of this book, and I think that works well for his and Araby’s relationship. He knows and understands that Araby doesn’t quite trust him anymore after what he did, and he knows that beyond apologizing, the only thing the can do is prove to her through actions that he is there for her. Elliot is the leader, he wants to take control of the city and fix it. At times, it was hard to know if he really cared for Araby or if he only liked the contentedness she brought with her. I enjoyed how this love triangle played out. This is how they should be done; each boy with his own merits, but not openly competing like children.
The actual story was fantastic as well. The contagion is spreading, but so is the new disease called the Red Death. Araby and company know they must do something to try and heal the city, and they know that means getting rid of Prince Prospero and cleaning the city’s water. Prospero won’t go down without a fight, and without any idea of if the water filtration system is even real, Araby and company are fighting against the odds.
Dance of the Red Death is a stunning conclusion to Griffin’s reworking of Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death that left me feeling happy and hopeful. It is a bit of a darker toned book, but don’t let that stop you from reading the series. It’s imaginative and fantastic and well worth a read.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.