Dance Of The Red Death picks up pretty closely after Masque leaves off. Araby’s world has pretty much fallen apart, betrayed by the one she loves, learning that her father is far more responsible for the plagues of this world than she ever realized, and doing her best to make sure her best friend doesn’t keel over, she is in for a very bumpy ride.
I am rather conflicted about this one. I adored the first one, despite its irritating love triangle and cliffhanger because it was beautifully written and appealingly dark and while this kept those standards high, the love triangle was quite a bit worse in this one. Araby spent much of the time with Elliot while secretly pining for Will but refusing to outwardly pine for him because he betrayed her and she can never trust him again and so on. All that is understandable, but more than a little irritating because we all know exactly where this story is going to end up. ****SPOILER****With her forgiving Will and them riding off into a disease free sunset.****END SPOILER**** While I was fully Team Will from the beginning, I did actually like Elliot in the first one, whereas in this one he just turns into a dick. He pushes Araby around, and tries to get her into his bed even though he knows she is conflicted over it and still hung up over Will…then the ending…well let’s just say that if I HAD been Team Elliot, that ending would have murdered that inclination pretty rapidly. I really need to do a better job of weeding out the possibilities of love triangles in my reading material because they all anger me so much and I find them so juvenile. X_X
The plot line and writing were just as epic and dark as the first one, with Araby forced to make difficult choices and searching desperately for a way to save April, be it through her father or by trading herself to Malcontent, she is pretty determined not to let April die. ****SPOILER****Not that it does one damn bit of good because she dies anyway. I was so fucking angry and that’s a big reason this couldn’t get 5 stars, besides the irritating love triangle.****END SPOILER**** I didn’t see much of it coming and since lately I seem to be clairvoyant about plot twists, that’s really a huge compliment. I think anyone who loved the first novel will enjoy this one, just be prepared for more love triangle drama.
****Thank you to Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****