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Danse Macabre Paperback – November 9, 2016
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This story follows a ten year old girl named Blue, who is given a mission by a creature who claims to be an angel to save her mother and sister’s souls. She has to kill ten sinners. Our chapters count down from ten to one as the story progresses.
This story has some fantastic prose, and the world it describes so well is a gloomy one. This story isn’t scary, exactly, though it is quite dark. The character we know as Him is quite disturbing at times. Again, creepy. You’re starting to see here why I’ve never written a review of this little novelette despite liking it quite a lot. I have a hard time putting words to my thoughts about it. I’m trying to do more than ‘it’s creepy and amazing so you should give it a read’ but it is both of those things.
Now, this is a fantastic audiobook. You can read it in an hour, and the audiobook is about 2. I recommend it in audio for a couple of reasons. First of all, the narrator, Nigel Peever does no less than perform the hell out of this story. There is so much emotion where there should be, the voice he gives to Him is just perfect, and his performance brought the prose to life in my head. Best of all, there are special effects and bits of music peppered in here that add a whole extra level of awesome. It made something already great even more great. I think that of a lot of audiobooks, but this one might be my new prime example.
“Blue never liked words much. She had met many people who had used words to trick, to hurt. To lie. But this one was different. This one didn’t just give her words. He gave her numbers too. And though Blue had never been skilled with either words or numbers, numbers had always seemed more honest to her. Numbers couldn’t lie.”
What unfolds is a dark and haunting novella that will have you examining what is truly evil. When does the line between faith and reality become blurred? Do the means justify the ends? Blue is tasked with meeting some very difficult demands that will result in an ultimate battle between her own conscience and her very heart.
The writing is superbly rich and elegant. The pace is smooth and consistent while the author cleverly inserts a small amount of symbolism seen in the form of a tiny snail and a dark crow that adequately play on the fact that this is the struggle of a child. The events that unfold are heinous and cruel. The constant reminder that Blue is still so young makes this story even more effective. It challenges our own perception of right and wrong in the most distressing yet beautiful manners. In just a mere 60 pages, Hughes has managed to provide a grisly yet thought provoking tale that continues to resonate long after the final page.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐