- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 2 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Laura M. Hughes
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 13 Nov. 2017
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B077BNS16R
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Danse Macabre Audiobook – Unabridged
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In short, Blue is a young girl, tormented by memories, each night she visits the village cemetery and the graves of her lost loved ones. Each time, there is a man waiting for her there, Blue strikes a bargain with him and thus her tale of revenge and redemption is set.
Blue as I mentioned is a captivating character, the struggles she faces, the actions she must take and the consequences of those actions are all gripping. Even without a single line of dialogue she's a character that you really feel for. As the story progresses we see some flashbacks of Blue's, these help you as the reader feel drawn to her even more as you experience events that she has had to go through in her past.
Along with Blue there's also a few other characters, Snail and Crow are by Blue's side for her story, her sidekicks, offering advice and acting as her conscious. There's also the man who haunts Blue, he comes across as sinister and menacing and when his true intentions are revealed late on takes on a nightmarish aspect to.
The world building is also top quality, it's only a novella so we aren't given detailed and multi layered areas full of history and lore but what we are given works really well. While we don't actually know when or where the story takes place Hughes creates a vividly dark setting for her tale that fits the tone perfectly.
The book starts at chapter 10 and ends with chapter 1, this may seem strange at first, it did to me but it ties in well to the story and as you progress you will have an "ah" moment when you realise why the chapters are labelled in reverse.
Hughes writing is also praiseworthy, weaving together elements of fantasy, horror, ghost stories and thriller her style is dark and creepy yet she never goes overboard with the descriptions or gore for the horror elements, sometimes we don't need gallons of blood with viscera spraying everywhere and that old saying "less is more" is apt for Danse Macabre. Sometimes it's what you're not shown rather than what you are that allows you as the reader to imagine the scenes in your head as you read them. This means that those of you who would normally shy away from the genre can easily give this a go and treat yourself to this read.
Hughes has a way with words that borders on the poetic, she manages to create vivid imagery and emotion for her main character in Blue.
I don't read many novella's but this is the best one I have read, Danse Macabre outstanding, it is an atmospheric, haunting and evocative read that I highly recommend.
I hadn't realised until today that Hughes had written a somewhat longer piece, this 56 page novelette, which I bought and devoured in a small hours of the morning of bedtime reading. This piece more than fulfils the promise of glimpse afforded by the competition with high quality writing and lots of points where I stopped to make a note.
For example in the line - "She placed a sensible hand on her right hip and tilted her head, just like mama did." - I loved the way adding the word "sensible" economically created a perfect image of the young girl's stance.
I have always thought the mark of true quality (genius if you like) in any endeavour is the economy of effort to achieve an outcome. The two deft touches on a football with which a striker scores an outstanding goal, the simple lines with which an artist conjures a perfect image, and the clean simple use of language - not complex words, not convoluted sentences - but ordinary words each skillfully placed to punch above its weight.
Thinking of this I had a slight meta-moment when I read the line "His voice was that of the Serpent, and her mamma had always told her to beware those who used too many words."
Another line that tickled me "The other girl subsided, grumbling something about how, when God created the world, he should have made sure there were enough decent dresses to go around."
Certainly Hughes does not use too many words, but this is still an ingenious and captivating piece. A young girl in a graveyard is haunted by a demanding apparition and - in strange ways - counselled by a snail and a crow as she sets about a quest. The first chapter number you see is number 10 - which might make you wonder if you have missed something. However, it is all part of a captivating story - in some ways a series of vignettes - in which we follow the girl Blue through dark memories and darker challenges.
Even now, re-reading bits of it, I am struck by the careful structure that lies beneath an ethereal tale, like the outline of furniture beneath a ghostly sheet. For example in a foreshadowed reference to oranges that goes on to haunt the story. There are others, cruel jibes with which fate taunts the protagonists, but to mention more would be to throw in some spoilers and this is a well written story that I would not wish to spoil for anyone.