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Danse Macabre

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  231 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Librarian note: Older cover of B016FRZ7KE.

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…
Kindle Edition, 56 pages
Published October 2nd 2016 (first published October 9th 2015)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Mark Lawrence
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gothic horror novella at 25,000ish words many modern writers would call it a long short story and Michael Moorcock would call it a book.

The primary strength of Danse Macabre (the 7th book of that title thrown up by Goodreads search) is the prose. The descriptions and atmosphere are excellent. Not perfect - to my taste Hughes often uses one more adjective than needed - but really very good.

The period and location are rather tough to pin down and quite possibly it flits across centuries
James Tivendale
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy, horror
"All angels are men, all men are crows, and all crows are liars."

Danse Macabre is Laura M Hughes's debut outing and at only 56 pages I was able to read this novella in about an hour. It follows a seemingly innocent and shy young girl called Blue who has to complete a mission given to her by a disfigured being claiming to be an angel. This shadowy fiend haunts a graveyard and states that Blue has to murder ten sinners and upon completion, her deceased mother and sister can escape purgatory and
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mini review

Just within an hour, you can experience a great enchanting and haunting tale.

To sum up this little gothic horror novelette in one word, it’s truly macabre. If you know me by now, you will know that I rated my novellas quite critically, in fact, there are only three novellas that I’ve read up to this day which received a 4 or higher rating from me. Those novellas are Secret History, Emperor’s Soul and Edgedancer, all written by Brandon Sanderson, Laura's little story is the newest addi
Petros Triantafyllou
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hughes' little novelette is the short story of the year.

“Blue always preferred numbers to words. Words have power. Words hold painful truths and delicious lies. Just one word can stir up a hundred memories and a thousand feelings so that you can be hurt by a word or killed by a sentence.”

Laura is a virtuosa of prose. Dancing between beautifully written allegories and masterfully placed expositions, she has written an ostensibly "non sequitured" story with vivid imagery and even pace. Danse Macab
J.P. Ashman
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dark, haunting and clever. An emotional roller coaster that will leave you guessing, wondering and feeling for the a main character caught in a horrifying string of events that end with a satisfying if not tragic ending.

Highly recommended!
Julia Sarene
I quite enjoyed that little novelette!
It was darker than expected, though not scary. It had quite some good unpredictable twists and kept the reader in the dark about what was going on for quite a while!
I especially enjoyed the mix of what felt like a bit of Poe, with a young childs POV, a dash of bloody murder, a bit of deceit and some lore to spice it up!

Definitely worth a look for a quick "story snack" between the big books! I'll definitely keep an eye out for more works of Laura Hughes!
Scott  Hitchcock
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror

Ms Hughes has excellent prose which really added a dark subtext to this interesting horror novelette. She is able to simultaneously depict the scene, characters and action into one fluid motion with nothing superfluous added.

The plot itself was easy to figure out and she flipped through events near the end in a furious fashion where she could have developed things more. I do hope she writes something longer and more developed in the future.
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deliciously creepy novella. Review to follow.
Nimrod Daniel
I would have never heard of this novel without being familiar with fantasy-faction and Laura. Danse Macabre feels more like a horror story than a fantasy, which is not exactly my cup of tea. I usually feel that horror elements in horror stories are used for no good reason, but only for the sake of horror itself (maybe that's the whole idea? ). That's me anyway.

From the very beginning you can feel the how creepy and bleak the world is. Other readers might like it but I didn't like the horror atmo
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘Blue, still kneeling, turns her head slowly to the left. Mere inches from her face, a great pair of spider-egg eyes gleam dangerously in the moonlight. He crouches beside her, head tilted to one side, staring at her from atop the other grave, as always.’
Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes is a little gothic horror novella that I quickly devoured within just over an hour and half. I was so compelled and drawn into this story that it left me contemplating over it hours after finishing, which is a g
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2017
Blue always preferred numbers to words. Words have power. Words hold painful truths and delicious lies. Just one word can stir up a hundred memories and a thousand feelings so that you can be hurt by a word or killed by a sentence.

3.5 stars. At only 56 pages this novella definitely had a bigger impact on me that most short stories I read. The language was beautiful and the story reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman. If you are a fan of his, then try this.
I know the author of this book, so my review may be biased. This is a novella Laura wrote. It took me a bit of time to get into the story. In the beginning I was mostly just confused and wasn't sure what was going on. I persisted and I'm glad I did, because after a while things became clearer. The story is quite creepy, I enjoyed reading about this creepy atmosphere. After things became clearer I enjoyed the story a whole lot more. I liked the way the chapters were done, counting down from ten. ...more
G.R. Matthews
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short, dark story of redemption and fall. Some beautiful imagery and a delicate touch with emotions. The story is carries you along in the mind of a small girl, lost amongst sorrow and loneliness.
Dyrk Ashton
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what to expect from this novella, but a couple of other reviews convinced me to give it a shot. I'm really glad I did. Hughes sets a striking, unsettling tone and mood immediately, sucking us into... somewhere cool. And terrible. Could be somewhere in the recent past of a city/village in Great Britain, could be colonial America. Could be now, could be a hundred years ago. We just don't know. And that's part of the fun - and weirdness - of this tale. The characters are immediately m ...more
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The hunter’s moon glowers down. The little girl walks along the path. Her shadow stretches long behind her, and it is filled with death.

This is quite the allegorical novella, haunting and macabre, with mournful imagery throughout. I'm sure different readers will see individual aspects as more profound or more compelling. I found deeply rooted childhood teachings and thoughts of Heaven and Hell and imagery that can linger with us as we age. We may not believe, that is true, but sometimes we are t
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words have power. Words hold painful truths and delicious lies.

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I learned of this horror novella earlier today and decided to pick it up as a Halloween treat for myself. I literally read this in one sitting and it has completely blown me away. Danse Macabre is a haunting, somber and tragic tale that is so much more than a typical horror story with its tendrils deeply steeped in the realm of psychological thrillers. There's a profound sense of mystery that keeps
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is the novelette about? Blue is a 10 year old girl who visits the graveyard every day as her twin, older sister and mother have been laid to rest there. During one of the visits, there is a very ragged looking man standing on her sister’s grave. He offers Blue a deal to redeem the sins of her dead family members or their souls will forever be stuck in between Heaven and Hell.

“And let us not forget: to sin against your fellow man is to sin against Heaven, against seraphim such as myself. It
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always my full review can also be found on my blog: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

This is a stunning read, in just 56 pages Hughes crafts a fully fledged story with a captivating main character in Blue and a fitting if somewhat tragic ending. Being a novella you know that words and space are to a premium and Hughes utilizes these perfectly, giving you a tale that keeps you intrigued, guessing and mesmerised. It's dark and ominous with an underlying tone of tragedy throughout.

In shor
Brian O'Sullivan
A shy young girl called Blue and an increasingly creepy angel draw this story into places one wouldn't normally dare to tread.

A clever plot, strong characterisation and beautiful prose lift this short story above most others in the genre.

One of the best reads I've had in a while.
T.O. Munro
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a great re-reader of books, but there are some whose very individual style and premise merit a revisit. This elegant, charming, cryptic little novella will not cost more than an hour or so of your time. Yet it will amply repay the investment with beautiful prose and an absorbing story.

Original review follows - and I still stand by every word.

I was first aware of Laura M Hughes as an entrant in a short story competition on Thatthornguy where I thought her 300 word piece of flash fiction
D.M. Murray
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes is a little ripper of a book. It’s subject matter is bleak, bleak, bleak, but it is brightened in dazzling fashion by some of the most lovely prose I’ve come across in some time. I’ve read this little book twice, most recently some months back on a cold, grim Sunday in front of a roaring fire, and you know what: that is the very place one should take in this book. Not in front of my fire, obviously, but a fire, somewhere.

Danse Macabre has a definite creepy, skin
Quenby Olson
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stunning story, one that managed to carry a creepiness and tension that sat like a weight on my chest the entire time I was reading. Full review (hopefully) to come.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this sublimely eerie tale! The novella was fantastically dark and atmospheric. Danse Macabre was very well-written and exceptionally captivating. I thought the unique way in which the story was structured worked really well. The protagonist, a young girl named Blue is an unforgettable character. There is so much worth mentioning in this story, but, I feel potential readers would benefit from diving in knowing as little as possible. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys horr ...more
Travis Peck
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was eerily delightful and delightfully eerie. The author does a remarkable job of capturing our attention and creating a creepy atmosphere with excellent prose in a mere 50-ish pages. Danse Macabre is a great read, and I look forward to more books(short or long) from this author in the, hopefully, not-too-distant future!
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-own
I really enjoyed it! A bit confusing in the beginning but everything is becoming more clear a few chapters in. About halfway trough I thought I had it all figured out but in the end it was different from what I thought... I am looking forward to reading more by this author!
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So deliciously dark and yet full of heart. I was transfixed from start to finish. Laura M. Hughes is an author whose work should be read by all.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick read, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. At times, I was a little confused and had to reread the passage I'd just read, but the writing was compelling enough that I couldn't put it down. Hughes plays with time skips and alternates between past and present tense, and the effect is is surprisingly immersive. I found myself slowly understanding more of the story as it progressed. All in all, I'd highly recommend this as a quick read for someone looking for something gripping an ...more
Alec Hutson
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well-constructed and written novella. I loved the atmosphere of the piece and the character of Blue - I bought into her arc completely and found its resolution quite satisfying. There were also more than a few turns of phrase and flourishes that made me take moment and appreciate the writing. I hope we get a full-length novel out of Ms. Hughes soon!
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Read this in one go in front of a roaring fireplace on a cold and rainy day. I don't think I could have chosen my spot any better for this spooky and beautifully written story. Definitely worth picking up. ...more
Steven Kelliher
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prolific reader and reviewer Laura M. Hughes foregoes dipping her toes and jumps cleanly into the rising stars pool of independent fiction authors.

Full review:
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Laura M. Hughes was born and raised beneath the grey, pigeon-filled skies of northern England. She currently works as a freelance proofreader, and has also been known to write for publications such as Fantasy-Faction and These days you're most likely to find her playing D&D, painting gaming miniatures, or working on the sequel to her first LitRPG novel, God of Gnomes (published as Demi Ha ...more

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“All angels are men, all men are crows, and all crows are liars.” 7 likes
“Blue always preferred numbers to words. Words have power. Words hold painful truths and delicious lies. Just one word can stir up a hundred memories and a thousand feelings so that you can be hurt by a word or killed by a sentence.” 1 likes
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