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Dark Dance

(Blood Opera #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  958 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Award-winning fantasy author Tanith Lee breaks into the horror genre with a compelling and sensual vampire novel. Rachaela worked in a bookstore, a conventional young woman, living a conventional life. Then they beckoned, using a variety of ruses to lure her to the house by the sea. Now she is a prisoner, part of a family of creatures she cannot escape, lover to a demon wh ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 409 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Dell (first published 1992)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  958 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ by: Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*

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Tanith Lee died on May 24, 2015. I was devastated, not just because she was so talented and I loved her books, but because she's one of the few authors out there I would have loved to have sat down with over cocktails and chatted with about anything - her books were indicative of an unusual, creative mind. I wish I could have found out more about how she saw the world, what books she liked to read, what inspired her, what chilled her (the o
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
This was the first Tanith Lee book I've ever read, though I've heard her name here and there. I think I had a different impression of her as an author than what she actually is. But then, this is the only book I've read of hers so far, so I don't really know what she's like. This book, at least, was different than what I might have expected.

I haven't enjoyed books featuring incest (e.g. Forbidden and Ada, or Ardor). This book has incest. However, unlike the linked books, it's a horror novel. Whi
Ms. Nikki
This book over-dosed on vague prose. We had verses and flowery sentences that would float easily unto the next. No fault there. Everyone gets carried away every now and then.
But when you are doing so with such extreme vagueness that the reader knows not of what the character is thinking or if their actions ring true, then you have reached too far.
This is not my type of read at all. Breath was huffed and pages were skimmed. This read tried to be gothic and failed in my opinion.
The plot was rather
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-gothic
A slow-moving book, but intentionally so. What I love is the way she creates an atmosphere of inertia. The heroine, Rachaela, seems incapable of action, in fact she hardly interacts with the world at all. She works in a bookshop, and the world of books is more real to her than the real world. She then discovers that she is linked to the Scarabae, a family of vampires who are also cut off from the world, like insects (beetles) preserved in amber. Her attempts to escape the Scarabae are frustrated ...more
A (Is For Awkward)
Apr 03, 2018 marked it as unratable
Shelves: reviewed, 2018-april
What. WHAT. WHAT did I just read.

I am not going to waste time trying to figure out how write a more normal review about this, it would only turn into a horrible longwinded (spoilerfull) rant of how much I hated this book. Because I did. Sort of. Mostly. Except when I didn't. Which wasn't often.....

Because my first though on starting this book was "well this is a painfully awkward writing style". But I kept reading. Once I started to get to know the protagonist my first thought was "this woman is
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
A different sort of vampire book, this one seems to be commentary on apathy and passivity. The protagonist, Rachaela, who I would say is clinically depressed, exists. Just exists. She moves through life in a fog, aiming for nothing and achieving little. One day, she discovers she's part of an ancient family, known as the Scarabae, a weird vampire-ish clan that holes up in their remote estate, removed from the world and never venturing outside. The Scarabae send for Rachaela. When going to them b ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
4 stars on reread: I really like it. Warnings for incest and the sexualization of a child.

This is Lee's version of vampires. They're not traditional vampires, but they're definitely unnatural, twisted and seductive. This book is dripping with gothic trappings and purple prose. It has a very strange protagonist, marked mostly by her complete lack of action. Rachaela glides through this book while the plot takes place around her.

Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I connected more with the main character Rachaela than most people did that read this novel. Perhaps it was her desire to not deal with the real world that appealed to me. Wouldn't we all in some way like to escape reality? (possible spoilers)
It will not appeal to everyone what with the incest and innuendos of vampirism. I just enjoyed the prose and use of colours to describe everything. The House was intriguing. The family reminded me of my grandparents. Maybe that was the appeal for me, a life
Jun 19, 2018 marked it as lost-interest
Interesting premise (although disturbing) and well written, just a bit too slow of a pace for me.
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This is set in modern London (England) and sort of a gothic fantasy or horror, so the urban fantasy tag doesn't quite fit.

I almost never say this but I advise anyone picking this up to stop at the end of this book. Yes it is part of a trilogy, but I actually feel that it takes away from the subtlety and mystery of this book when things are 'explained' later.

What basically happens is that Rachaela works at a bookstore and one day receives a letter summoning her to 'The House' and her father's f
Mina Lumiebre
May 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this book to page 316 and then skimmed the rest to the end, and the ending was pretty predictable, sort of. I cannot believe this book was even written by Tanith Lee. I will say this though, the story came out a long time before the Twilight nonsense, so Tanith is sort of a pioneer in the young adult vampire fiction realm.

I found absolutely nothing lyrical or redeeming about this story though, and I understand if Tanith wrote this to appeal to the crowd -- I'm sure there are pressures on
Apr 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
(The description attached to this book in Goodreads isn't really accurate, because the main character ISN'T drawn to the house by her own passion, really. Rachaela gets manipulated into most of her decisions throughout the book, and she doesn't seem to WANT anything, other than to be left alone and not bothered. Her motivations can be summed up as "I'm comfortable with how things are and I don't want them to be changed. Okay, things have changed and I'm comfortable with how they are NOW and I do ...more
Stephen King endorsed the entire Dell Abyss Horror line. Here is his blurb:

"Thank you for introducing me to the remarkable line of novels currently being issued under Dell's Abyss imprint. I have given a great many blurbs over the last twelve years or so, but this one marks two firsts: first unsolicited blurb (I called you) and the first time I have blurbed a whole line of books. In terms of quality, production, and plain old story-telling reliability (that's the bottom line, isn't it), Dell's
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Dark Dance was a very strange book. I found it hard to get into. The main character is not very likeable. But you end up learning why that's the case. There are feelings described in this story that I didn't realize other people imagined. (I won't spoil, but let's just say it has to do with expectations.) There is a subtle kind of horror to this book which is part of what kept me going. At the end, my favorite character let me down. Overall just a weird journey.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vampires, gothic, horror
If V.C. Andrews wrote a vampire novel this would be it.

have two copies of this. (one from A)

8th March 2010 = one copy to essi
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I'd give it 3 and a half stars if it were possible, but upped it to four because I adored this book when I was an angsty gothic teenager. My reread here at 40 was prompted by the recent release of a 3rd season of Twin Peaks, after a 25 year absence, and the death of Chris Cornell, the combination of which has cast a spell of nostalgia on me for better days gone by.

Rachaela is a well-drawn character, minus all the gothic vampire crap. She is a great picture of a lonely woman without am
Tenebrous Kate
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a revisit for me (always a dicey proposition given that my last reading was during my Teen Goth Years), but the intervening years have made this even more of a delight to read. It's a completely unique uncanny tale that reads like what might happen if VC Andrews wrote in the style of Edgar Allan Poe while listening to a steady diet of Sisters of Mercy records. Strange, heady, and clever in its exploration of gothic/decadent themes.

Highlighted in episode 21 of Bad Books for Bad People: h
Jorge Palacios Kindelan
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was well written, and Tanith had a great way of setting up atmosphere and making you believe the surroundings the characters are at. THe gothic castles and the London streets all seem authentic and easy to picture while reading. The so-called erotic angle feels flat tho, as half of it involves an underage teen (ew)
Other than that particularly ugly detail, this is a pretty good horror novel and I look forward to reading the sequel.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this a couple of weeks ago, and it's still flopping around in my head. It took me two nights, so it's a quick and absorbing read. When the book ended, I went to sleep and woke up literally not remembering where or who I was.

I still have so many questions.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books that made me want to start reading again. I forgot the name for several years, but I still remember the book. I never really knew it as a vampire book because it had more of a demon feel to it.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote in my review of Sabella that Tanith Lee wrote an incredibly unusual vampire novel, and well, here she has done it again. Dark Dance is mesmerizingly strange and creepy in the best way possible.

Rachaela Day is a friendless and isolated woman living a dull life as a bookstore employee when she receives an invitation from unknown relatives to join them at their rich estate. When she finally takes them up on the offer, she finds herself thrown into a dark and mysterious world of the Scarabae
Catherine Labadie
Sep 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: only-meh
Writing style felt clipped and suited the passive main character, but once again the story was a bit too weird for me.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, that was different.
Joshua Andrew
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully twisted story. Wonderful writing, minimal when it needs to be, poetic when it needs to be. Quite honestly, I did not want the story to end.
Lori F Watson
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Love this author. She is one of my favorite authors. This is one of my favorite series from her. I wish there was more.
I'm incredibly happy I stumbled upon this hidden gem. Anyone who enjoys a slow-burn, atmospheric, gothic horror should enjoy this novel. The descriptive writing is beautiful without venturing into purple prose, and the writing just gets better as the book goes on. It started out slow, then events in the middle had me hooked, and by the 75% mark I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't put the book down.

I understand why this book has several low reviews, it's not for everyone. The subject matte
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
People that gave it poor ratings complain about the no-plot, slowness, dull character general weirdness and /r can't take the incest. That's fine, tastes differ but that's personal opinions and tastes. This is a very dark and disturbing book(series) and absolutely mesmerizing. It's not for everyone. It's for ppl that are seriously open minded and that like to be challenged and clearly are not freaked out by darker themes. So not everybody's cup of tea. I wish there was a way to differ personal o ...more
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai

Other books in the series

Blood Opera (3 books)
  • Personal Darkness (Blood Opera Sequence, #2)
  • Darkness, I (Blood Opera Sequence, #3)
“It was usual to be obedient to authority, to obey a legal letter. But Rachaela left her bills
unpaid until the threats began. She ignored the money-envelopes stuck through the door for starving
children and the sick.”
“I see that. Where am I?’
‘You are quite secure, Rachaela. You have all of us.’
Rachaela quailed. ‘But you’re all mad.’
Anna smiled her smile. ‘What can I say to that.”
More quotes…