Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Dance of the Red Death
This is a sequel to Masque of the Red Death which I reviewed HERE.
An amazon summary, "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." AMAZON LINK OF WHATEVER
...I kind of like how this book summary says next to nothing about the second book, because the second book was kind of awful.
I read all 327 pages of it, which means I'll roughly be talking about the first 98 pages of it. That lands in the middle of a chapter, so I'm bumping it back a few pages to page 94 where a chapter ends. I managed to push through the book with the foolish belief that it would redeem itself, or a good ending was coming, but I definitely fooled myself.
First, I recall kind of loving the first book.
I'm not entirely sure how similar they are since it's been some time between the two and many books, but the second one was pretty awful.
There was a lack of reasonable emotional reaction from Araby, a lot of disconnect between logic and actions, as well as action being a primary plot pushing activity. Half of it didn't quite make sense; let me make an analogy to just help myself talk about this travesty.
I've often heard books compared to paved roads; where there is a plot hole, it becomes the metaphorical plot hole. This book has a different road. It's still a paved road, it just has random piles of interesting bits that you can touch down on between giant craters of unexplained events. It's kind of a leap frog effect. By the way, the car you're riding in? It's fueled by emotions and screeching it's way across all 327 pages.
So in the first book there was this great five way war over the love of Araby (who symbolically became the city, so the five way war was really how all the different characters treated the society of the city etc (look at me analyzing things, WHEEE)) and the various forms of love that takes on.
There is Araby's Father, the Scientist, who loves her as his daughter and wishes to create a world where she could be happy. There is Elliot who wishes to save the inhabitants of the city from the weeping sickness and his uncle, Prospero. There is Prospero who seems to just be a villain and tortures people. The Reverend Malcontent just doesn't really seem to matter in this novel except as a pressing force to make the city paranoid; he was the catalyst that tipped the city into madness but doesn't play a large role in this book (besides with Elliot, that drama llama). There is Will, who just seems to LOVE Araby and that's all he does (besides some clever things with no clear motivations).
There's the book.
Everyone kind of goes after Araby in different ways since she seems to motivate the whole city to do something (except for Reverend Malcontent who is primarily shown in the ways he has already affected people; see last book).
Araby has also turned into a person who's kind of too dumb to live. Seriously.
There are seriously moments where the language of the novel doesn't lend itself to capture the gravity of the situation. There are spots where a chapter simply ending would have had a far greater emotional impact on the reader than Araby's reaction.
I'm sorry, but I'm finding it really hard not to launch into a tirade about the portrayal of young women in books. ARGH.
Okay, so the second book seems to pick up where the last book left off with Araby fleeing with her crazy brained band of folks. There is a belief that Araby's father has a cure for the weeping sickness and the red death, he must simply be found to obtain the cure. Araby is determined to get back into the city to help in some way, shape, or form but doesn't seem to have a set path. Her brain seems to have functioned in the train of thought of, 'First get to the city, help???, PROFIT'. Then it spins into different directions as she kind of has a love affair with Elliot and harbors the betrayal of Will close to her heart.
That is a good third of the book. Seriously. There are some minor things going on with Kent, April, Henry, Elise, and basically everyone else in the story. It seems to be a common trend to just have love triangles happen even though the lady in the midst of it will claim to have no interest in either party only to inevitably fall in love with one of them. This kind of reinforces the notion of, 'IF I JUST TRY HARD ENOUGH, THEY WILL EVENTUALLY LOVE ME' which is messed up.
I'm going to go angrily mutter about this book and try to think of a new label which would accurately sum of the completion of a book while having so many misgivings about it.