Danse Macabre is a dark fantasy novella, which perhaps slips over to the side of horror, set in a relatively modern world. The novella is stand-alone and does not utilize any characters or settings from any established book or series.
For lack of spoiler-y content, I’ll keep my description of the plot itself vague. The tale follows a young girl named Blue in a third person limited perspective. Blue is a tortured girl. She clings to dark memories which create both a hell within her own mind as well as propel her to take action. Each night she visits the cemetery, the graves of her loved ones, and the creature that waits for her there. But, as with all great short fiction, Blue isn’t quite who she appears to be and the ending presents a few fun twists that give the story a different angle when I thought back on it.
Laura’s writing is what surprised me most about this story and truly what propelled me to keep turning the pages. For an author whose only distinct (public) work is this novella, I was amazed at how brilliant it was. The writing is fluid, poetic, and the descriptions are vivid but not overdone. The tale was paced well with plenty of tension without lacking moments of calm and description. It was structured in an interesting way that worked well for me. I was already very pleased with the tale in the end, but Laura did a good job of adding more layers and depth by making the ending both satisfactory and adding twists that enriched the rest of the story.
Overall, I was very happy with Danse Macabre. It wasn’t a long read but the time I gave to the novella was well spent and has me hoping to read more from Laura Hughes in the future.
About the Author: Laura M. Hughes was born and raised beneath the grey pigeon-filled skies of Rochdale, northern England. As a child she enjoyed collecting insects, reading about insects, and looking at pictures of insects.
Shortly after turning twelve she experienced a life-changing event: the cinematic release of The Fellowship of the Ring, which smashed through the French windows of her imagination like a fantastical half-brick and let in all sorts of new and exciting ideas.
She currently spends her days working, reading, and faffing about with numerous writing projects. In her spare time she can be found at home switching off lights in the rooms her husband has been in, as well as foiling frequent assassination attempts by their four crafty cats. Oh, and writing reviews over on fantasy-faction.com!