Danse Macbre by Laura M. Hughes – A Book Review {Short Read Sunday}

danse-macabre

I’ve decided to start a new weekly post/meme on my blog called ‘Short Read Sunday’. Every weekend I will pretty much stop what I am reading and pick up a novelette (really short book) and give that a read instead. Nice change of pace for me as I don’t tend to gravitate towards the tiny books. But, with the ones I have read in the past, I am often glad I did. Nothing like a little stroll outside of your comfort zone every now and then.

Blurb:

The dead beckon and the little girl obeys. Night after night she answers the graveyard’s call, though she dreads her encounters with the creature that dwells there. But she’ll soon come to learn that memories are much more dangerous than monsters…

Author: Laura M. Hughes

Publisher: N/A

Release Date: Unknown

Genre: Horror

Pages: 60

My chosen format: Kindle

My rating of ‘Danse Macabre’: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US

Review:

Danse Macabre, other than being the title of one of my favourite pieces of music, is a darn good short little read. It took me in between one and two hours to finish. The basic premise is that of a young girl, Blue, who spends most of her time in the cemetery due to her mother, twin sister (Belle) and older sister (Sparrow) being buried there after their recent deaths.

Danse Macabre is a tale of good vs evil and, there are numerous elements throughout that add to this. The ominous character of ‘Him’ who claims Blue’s family is trapped in purgatory, destined to wander alone for eternity, demands Blue’s aid in claiming the souls of ten sinners. In exchange he offers, as an emissary of God, to save the wandering souls of her family. The addition of Snail and Crow also play towards the good vs evil side of things as they are Blue’s only friends and seem to appear only when Blue is going about her business claiming these souls, seemingly weighing in on her mission. They almost feel like the girl’s warring conscience to my eyes.

The short story is told in the rather strange way of chapter ten being the opening and chapter one being the finale. This, at first gave me pause for thought, but it becomes slightly more clear for the reason as the book progresses, although I am still unclear as to whether it was actually warranted. Either way, it was different. Another thing that was different, was the fact that the protagonist, Blue, did not have a single line of dialogue throughout. This, ordinarily, would seem a bit odd. But it worked strangely well.

I enjoyed the book, but, as ever, I do have a few drawbacks (nothing is perfect, after all). These range from simple to more annoying in my own mind. The simplest is the formatting. I was not a fan of the larger gaps between paragraphs and don’t think I could read a whole book with it formatted that way. But, as I said, that is simple and merely stylistic. Some readers may prefer it. A mid-range annoyance was that I really struggled to place what time period it was set in, as there seemed to be different elements from different times and cultures from around the world. A more annoying one was how a certain conflict was resolved at the end, but I shan’t go into that as talking about the end would be one heck of a spoiler. Speaking mildly of the end, I did have a little eureka moment part-way through, thinking I had guessed the ending. Technically I had only guessed half of it. The half I didn’t guess was totally unexpected and worked into the story throughout ever so well.

The negatives aside, I really enjoyed reading Danse Macabre. I was originally going to give it three/three and half stars out of five. But the bit at the end that I did not see coming bumped it up to a solid four.

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10 thoughts on “Danse Macbre by Laura M. Hughes – A Book Review {Short Read Sunday}

  1. Glad you enjoyed the read 🙂
    Interesting- I never noticed that Blue didn’t have dialogue… I guess it was easy not to notice because as readers you’re in her head a lot…
    As for the other little niggles- it seems ours overlap… the time in which the story was set and the ending… I was like- huh? If that worked for all… the ‘men’ than a ton of plots would just be… plot holes! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review, Aaron! I was originally just going to lurk silently (after all, history shows that authors interfering in readers’ book discussions rarely ends well), but I just really wanted to say thank you for pointing out the specific things that niggled you. Both you and Liz have been really helpful! Since this is my debut work, I’m taking on any and all criticism to (hopefully!) avoid the same mistakes in future books. If you guys have more specific (i.e. spoilery) gripes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and vent about them. I always welcome different perspectives! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Silent lurkers are never welcome 😉 i’m an authof myself so know it feels good talking to those who read your work. I can DM you on twitter my spoilery gripe? Unless you would prefer another way of contacting.

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  3. Great review. I didn’t mind the larger gaps between paragraphs, a few books I’ve read have them and you get used to it.

    Ah, Blue, I’ve read The Vagrant and it has a main character who doesn’t speak, it can work really well.

    You have a point about the time when it takes place, it didn’t bother me as it added to the mystery but if it had been a novel and not a novella then I’d have wanted more info.

    Ah, like most, I had a eureka moment part way through the book to!😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is there actually something macabre about the story, or is it ‘just’ the dead people? Seems to be an odd story if she doesn’t tak to anyone, but then again, her family is dead. Funny how I just read a book where the protagonist is called Blue,too 😀
    Might want to check out Peter S. Beagle , too. He has some shorter stories. I especially liked In Calabria.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s quite a dark, well-written little novelette. Can’t say too much without wandering into the realm of spoilers.

      Ahh, I wished you had mentioned that half an hour ago. I just started a sci/fi short that is so tedious and … well … unenjoyable (despite numerous 5* reviews) that I am really struggling to finish it. Must. Push. On 😭

      Liked by 1 person

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