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Dance of the dead, my thoughts 
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Invisible Menace
Invisible Menace
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:46 pm
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Location: Chania or Athens // Greece
Post Dance of the dead, my thoughts
I have finished the "Dance of the Dead" (and as a couple of people may know, I wait for Shadowborn to arrive).

This will be full of spoilers and it will have spoilers from other books in the way :)

I liked most of the book. I would put it at the same level as "Scholar of Decay". A bit far fetched at times and little less gothic than I'm used to while still very nice and on theme.

The criticisms:
NOTE: While the criticisms may seem long and the praises short, it's because I can delve in the few things I didn't like 100% than say how much I liked the vast majority of everything else

- Biggest complain: The villains' end wasn't as ... emotionally charged as I expected. On first look, the slaver captain dies in a bad way while trying to save the woman he has betrayed and stolen. But this is nowhere near a Vader-like change of heart and sacrifice. He buys some time for Larissa snowmane and then the grafter zombie hand kills him. His death takes 3-4 lines, we don't see his thoughts and he doesn't even try to say an agonized, tearful "I'm sorry for everything, really" to Larissa as his zombie hand rips his clothes and crushes his chest.
The big bad necromancer is described in a couple of lines to battle a sea of zombies that Larissa Snowmane (or perhaps Misroi) sent his way at the final battle, getting grabbed by them and thrown to the river. :? Disappointing.

- While nowhere near the Tower-of-Doom level of magic, the book is a bit too magic heavy.
- While the swamp is said by all to be dangerous and all, containing both bening and evil creatures, the "allied" creatures of the swamp (not all of them are good) take way, way more book time. The nature doesn't seem uncaring in this book. It has good and evil side and creatures that actively fight.
- People get used to zombies quite fast. Animating dead while said to be a perversity etc is sometime handled casually. We have people cutting down zombies of people they knew without a second thought. The books is contradictory on how zombies are seen. At times the book takes a deep look on the perversity of the situation and at times it's glossed over as if "somewhat bad". Commanding zombies others made is seen as ... moderately OK.
- 2 out of 3 villains don't have any good, humanizing or redeeming qualities. Misroi is just a domineering force of terrible evil and corruption and Lond is a powerful (and powerhungry) force of evil. At least Misroi is a good dancer... that's the best I can say about him from the book.
- Misroi doesn't appear to suffer at all. He can't leave the swamp? That doesn't seem to bother him or hinder him.

Praises:
The book is interesting and the characters well thought. For each of the bad guys we're introduced gradually to the depths of their evilness, as we find they commit (or have done) worse and worse acts. From the slaver captain Dumont that is at first seen as an OK if strict person, to Lond the betrayer that at first seems as "somewhat evil" to Misroi himself.
It's hard to say if Misroi or Lond is worse. Lond had the upper hand till nearly the end with all his cruelty and sadism but the final unveiling of Misroi's treachery, his Boritsi-like pleasure that Larissa accidentally killed her lover with the magic he taught her (and never warned her about) breaking her own heart even living her his zombie for the laughs... pure evil.
And Willen's (the good light creature turned human) death scene... while the death of the villains was "meh", Willen's death was one of the most emotionally charged and moving I've read in Ravenloft books.

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Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:57 pm
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