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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 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 who thirsts for her blood.


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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 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 who thirsts for her blood.

30 review for Dark Dance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest 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 (th Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest 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 other is Rosemary Rogers). I don't always enjoy Tanith Lee's work, but I always appreciate her books. She has a writing style that is completely her own and some people like it, some people don't. I like it. Obviously. I like purple prose, when done well. Especially dramatic, overwrought prose. (Which is probably why I also love Rosemary Rogers and Victoria Holt.) Lee writes a lot of dark fantasy and sci-fi and Gothic novels, so this flair for the dramatic refines, rather than bogs down, her narratives and lends to the overall atmosphere of her dark worlds. DARK DANCE is part occult horror, part vintage gothic, and part vampire legend. The main character, Rachaela Day, lives a dreary life in shades of gray. She grew up in a home where her father was absent and her mother was indifferent, and after her mother's passing, she just started going through the motions. She lives alone, has no friends, no hobbies, and is woefully underemployed. She's content with this until one day, people representing her father's family, the Scarabae, request that she return home. To her family. Rachaela refuses initially but fate - and the Scarabae - have other ideas, and before she's really aware of what's happening, she ends up in a private car to a small British town in the middle of nowhere where the names are always changing and the train never seems to run. In a large manor in the moors, where all of the windows are brilliant stained glass, the Scarabae are there to welcome Rachaela with open arms, including her father, Adamus Scarabae. He's fascinated with her, and hasn't aged a day since Rachaela's conception nearly 30 years ago. But his interest is sinister, as magnetic as it is repellent, and Rachaela's efforts to escape the sinister family might not be enough. It's been a while since I read a vampire novel that was so unapologetically disturbing. There's shock horror, and then there's "I'm going to tell this story the way it should be told, even if it offends a whole bunch of people and has the censorious members of our community pounding down my door." This book is the latter. Trisha Baker's CRIMSON KISS is like that as well (indeed, Trisha Baker is one of the recommended authors for fans of DARK DANCE. Big surprise, there). What this means is that none of the characters are likable - especially Adamus, Rachaela, and Ruth - and this book features some very disturbing content, like the sexualization of children and incest.The upside is, it's not at all romanticized, in my opinion, and feels more like inevitable doom than a fetish. New adult authors, take note. THIS is how you write a dark and disturbing story. Save your cutesy "don't read this if you're easily offended" mock trigger warnings. THIS is disturbing and gritty as it was meant to be: inevitable, alluring, and impossible to put down. RIP, Tanith Lee. I hope you're raising terror among the angels up there in author heaven. 4 to 4.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*

    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 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. Which seems appropriate, because incest is horrifying. Anyway. I did enjoy this. I was reading it at the DMV and it was starting to get good. I was crouched over it in my seat, biting my thumb, eyes wide in morbid glee. This was both like and unlike other horror novels I've read. I haven't read many though, and not for a long time. This was gothic in atmosphere, with a sense of isolation. It was sickly beauteous. Disturbing yet inevitable. I wasn't sure of the writing at first, but it grew on me. It was spare yet perfectly descriptive. I'm in awe of the way some writers can string words together. (Anyone who says the English language is lesser than others, less poetic somehow, doesn't know what they're talking about. Just thought I'd add that.) So. I think I'll look up more Tanith Lee books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    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 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 weak and the main character was unbelievable, to say the least. From the first few pages I thought the MC dim-witted and my estimation of her never faltered. For those that think they are diving into a vampire read that will have you thirsting for a Bloody Mary, well, think again. Oh, and there's incest too. And, no. There is nothing "hot" between these pages. I do not recommend this read one bit.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    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 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 by her own apathy, but escape them she must. Lee is obsessed by transformations, especially in the sense of alchemy. Male and female are not discrete categories in her world, and neither are the living and the dead. As always with Tanith Lee, the prose is gorgeous. The atmosphere is overpowering with claustrophobia and tainted sexuality.

  5. 5 out of 5

    A (Is For Awkward)

    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 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 an unpleasant misanthrope and sociopath and I might just hate her.." But I kept reading.. My first instinct while reading about her family was to DNF and get out fast. Buut I kept reading. Reading the scene where she runs away and decides to come back to hook up with HER FATHER creeped me out and made me go wash dishes for awhile.. But then I came back and KEPT READING. Reading about her reaction to, and behaviour towards her daughter made me want to reach into the book and steal the baby before too much damage could be inflicted (sadly I was right), but by this point I was clearly invested and kept reading.... My first instinct after finishing the book was to 1 star. Or better just delete from my profile (and kindle) and pretend I never read it. But my inner critic keeps going "but but it was really really compelling!!!". So the writing is awkward and strange. The story is horrible and disturbing. The characters are horrible and disturbing, when not downright evil. The plot is barely there, and what there is horrifying. The book ends in an unpleasant place, not just plot and resolution wise, but because some of the characters are still alive. Unfortunate. I absolutely can see how some people can 5 star it. Or 1 star it. I will NOT be reading book 2. At this point I am fairly sure I am never coming near another Tanith Lee book ever again. I am not sure I am going to sleep ever again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    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 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 becomes the path of least resistance, she obeys the summons and becomes trapped in their nightmarish world. I really like this book. You never know, for sure, if these people are vampires or not. Certainly they're extraordinary: they live for centuries. But are they vampires? They themselves don't seem to know, or only seem to believe that they are. It's as though they've been told they're vampires over the years, so they behave like vampires, because what other identity do they have? What's the word for "freakingishly long-lived human"? People in states of depression could experience a similar grasping for identity, I suppose. I do. Am I truly depressed, or am I just telling myself that I am? I love how author Tanith Lee handles her unmotivated protagonist. Rachaela doesn't want to do anything but exist. I think she must have been a difficult character to make interesting. This is a good book. I will probably read the rest of the trilogy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    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. 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    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 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 that I found I would have wanted. Would it have been so bad to laze away the days in an old home by the sea? To read my books and be dotted on as I replenished the family line? Hmmm, maybe not so much!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    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 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 family, who she's never had any contact with. Eventually she goes and all decends into gothic creepyness as she tries to discover the many secrets of the Scarabae (the family) what it is they so desperately need her for. The characters are not particularly sympathetic, but are strangely compelling all the same. This is supposed to be a vampire story but in this book isn't the turning book of the novel. I loved the mystery and general sinister insanity of the family and the air of suspense created. Incest and madness play major roles which may discomfit some. What I liked most was that at the end Rachaela still doesn't know if the family are vampires or deluded through centuries of inbreeding, which have given them special abilities. I've skimmed the other books in the trilogy and think it's best to read each book as a separate novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    (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 (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 don't want them to be changed.") I think I'd describe this book as "trashy", but in a good way. It's very dark (naturally), with lots of gloomy descriptions and VERY flowery prose. I'm currently in the mood for dark books, so this works for me. Oh, and the "trashy" description comes from the fact the story is about an ancient, incestuous family trying to preserve their bloodline, and the only capable breeder in the family happens to be Rachaela's father. You tell ME how that's going to turn out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    April

    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. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sonora Taylor

    This was fine. Classic Gothic vampire novel, and kept me intrigued. Compulsively readable. I docked a star though for the incest and for the sexualization of a child. Even if the latter was done with horror from the third-person narrator, you can do that without going on about how a child's breasts look. The story would've been just as effective without the incest element either, and made an otherwise excellent sex scene feel gross. So, I wouldn't say the book was bad, but I also can't say I'd r This was fine. Classic Gothic vampire novel, and kept me intrigued. Compulsively readable. I docked a star though for the incest and for the sexualization of a child. Even if the latter was done with horror from the third-person narrator, you can do that without going on about how a child's breasts look. The story would've been just as effective without the incest element either, and made an otherwise excellent sex scene feel gross. So, I wouldn't say the book was bad, but I also can't say I'd read it again or continue on with the series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence FitzGerald

    Slow, contemplative, melancholy. Very good prose. I do not like fantasy. Poor characterization, convenient magic. But this, this... The best speculative fiction tells us something about ourselves. I'm not sure Dark Dance did that so I deducted a star. But really... Slow, contemplative, melancholy. Very good prose. I do not like fantasy. Poor characterization, convenient magic. But this, this... The best speculative fiction tells us something about ourselves. I'm not sure Dark Dance did that so I deducted a star. But really...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I love the way Tanith Lee writes. There's something about her style that's clear and emotional, atmospheric, and engaging. She's not the kind of writer who I could read back-to-back-to-back, but every time I read one of her books, I find myself drawn in almost without realizing it. Dark Dance is overflowing with Lee's style, but the story here feels very lackluster. This was touted as Lee's first foray into horror, but with the recent trend of paranormal romance, I can see this getting tagged wit I love the way Tanith Lee writes. There's something about her style that's clear and emotional, atmospheric, and engaging. She's not the kind of writer who I could read back-to-back-to-back, but every time I read one of her books, I find myself drawn in almost without realizing it. Dark Dance is overflowing with Lee's style, but the story here feels very lackluster. This was touted as Lee's first foray into horror, but with the recent trend of paranormal romance, I can see this getting tagged with that genre if it were released today. Like her other books, there's an erotic undertone to the entire story, and the whole point of Dark Dance seems to be that erotic undertone. What makes this horror, though, is worthy of a trigger warning: incest. Specifically, known and willing incest, on both parties. Lee doesn't shy away from the specifics, either. There's more to the horror than just that (this is a creepy story of family and commitment), but man, that definitely stands out. This is a two-star story, elevated to three thanks to Lee's style. I'd be hard pressed to recommend it, but fans of Lee should definitely give it a chance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    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 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 matter is dark and twisted. It's not a typical vampire book. In fact, I wasn't sure if the family was just crazy, cult-like or truly vampiric until the end. My favorite part of Tanith's writing style is that there are no info-dumps or complete explanations of the family. You're left wondering with the main character if they're all just mad. There are hints to the otherwordly nature of the family that adds to the atmosphere and mystery of the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    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 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 new line is amazingly satisfying...a rare and wonderful bargain for readers. I hope to be looking into the Abyss for a long time to come."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Velvetink

    vampires. have two copies of this. (one from A) 8th March 2010 = one copy to essi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    If V.C. Andrews wrote a vampire novel this would be it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    I love this one and have read it over and over. If more Goth lit were like this I would read a great deal more of it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendopolis

    Well, that was different.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Clarice

    Tanith Lee has come up in a number of my Goodreads reading suggestions and on the back of these recommendations I decided to actually read something written by the author earlier this year. I came across several of her titles, including Silver Metal Lover and Electric Forest, which all sounded appealing, but decided to make a start with Dark Dance, which is the first book in Lee's Blood Opera series. Jumping straight into a summary of this book without giving too much away: The story follows our Tanith Lee has come up in a number of my Goodreads reading suggestions and on the back of these recommendations I decided to actually read something written by the author earlier this year. I came across several of her titles, including Silver Metal Lover and Electric Forest, which all sounded appealing, but decided to make a start with Dark Dance, which is the first book in Lee's Blood Opera series. Jumping straight into a summary of this book without giving too much away: The story follows our heroine Rachaela from the point when she is plucked from her solitary and mundane life as a shop assistant in London to live with her father's family, the Scarabae, on the family's country estate, up to the point when her daughter Ruth arrives to join the Scarabae family a decade later. Having been brought up as an only child by her estranged and now deceased single-mother, Rachaela is at first reluctant to join her relatives. (She has thus far never met her father.) Yet, as circumstances appear to conspire against her, she eventually embarks on the journey to meet and live with this rather weird bunch of characters. The Scarabae family is made up of a multitude of extremely long-lived oddballs, who idle away their days galloping through the house on toy horses or defiling books in the library before gathering at regular intervals for seagull stews and roast rabbit dinners. Following a rather disconcerting nightly encounter with the most reclusive member of the family, Adamus, Rachaela's father, the family's dark secrets - a tradition of intergenerational incestuous relationships mixed-in with a moderate amount of vampire-like behaviours - are gradually unveiled to Rachaela and the reader. Overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, and unwilling to yield to Scarabae family traditions and play her part in this 'familial arrangement', Rachaela makes a first attempt at returning into her old life, but due to abysmal public transport links - Lee delivers a humorous, yet totally factual, and thus damning, indictment of the state of the British public transport infrastructure in these passages of the book - Rachaela is soon retrieved by her very own father, for whom she is, much to her own dismay and bewilderment, now harbouring sexual attraction. Following their passionate encounter in the aftermath of Rachaela's 'repatriation' to the Scarabae household, Adamus, however, reverts to his reclusive lifestyle within the tower. Ignored and neglected by her absent lover and by now totally bored out by the remainder of the geriatric family members, Rachaela decides to embark on a second escape from the family, which ends in her return to London. Here she intends to take-up her old lifestyle, but finds herself pregnant with Adamus's child. For the ensuing eleven years, we witness how Rachaela fits her life around her unwanted daughter, Ruth, until the family finally start stalking Ruth, who readily abandons her mother to take-up residence with the Scarabae. Dark Dance was quite something else and I am at a loss how to best assign this book to a genre, though I would agree that, purely for the sake of assigning a genre label to the story, I think Urban Dark Fantasy probably sums it up nicely. Perhaps even Urban Dark Gothic Erotic Vampire Fantasy? How does that sound? Yes, there are vampires or vampiric elements, but this aspect of the story is not really touched upon in great detail and the reader is largely left in the dark about the specific nature of the Scarabae-type vampire. Some reviewers highlighted the erotic elements within the story. Yet, despite the explicit nature of a handful of passages, I wouldn't describe Dark Dance as Erotica or Erotic Fantasy either. The book is not exactly littered with descriptions of erotic scenes. Yes, Dark Dance contains explicit references and descriptions of intergenerational incest. Some readers clearly are put off by this. Deal with it, or don't. It's the premise of the book. I repeat: Dark Dance depicts incest, in this case as a longstanding tradition practised within the Scarabae family. The plot revolves around it, the family's peculiar characteristics and, above all, their longevity are derived (somehow) through the practice of incest. If you are put-off by references to and the description of incest, don't read Dark Dance. Your choice. Yes, the storyelling remains at times rather vague. As a deliberate stylistic choice, this omission adds a layer of mystery, kept me guessing and pondering about the protagonists' motivations long after finishing the book. Why, for example, is Adamus opting for a reclusive lifestyle away from the family in the mansion's tower, whilst at the same time complying with its traditions and acquiescing to perform in his his role as the Scarabae 'seed bearer'? What is the reason behind the persecution of the family, their residence in exile and how did they come to be what they are today? I am very much hoping that some of these aspects, if not all of them, will be addressed in Personal Darkness, the second instalment of the Blood Opera series, which I shall definitely be getting hold of. My full-length book review for Dark Dance is available here: https://readaroundtheclock.blogspot.c...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    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 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 ambition. One would not have used the term so freely in the early 90s, but she has a touch of autism or aspergers. Anna tells her she lives a "dream life," and I think it is very apt. Lee carefully orchestrates a comping of age in how Rachaela learned to both accept and condemn her own mother's behavior through her own experience of raising Ruth. It is also a singular and unique portrayal of a woman who completely lacks all sense of maternal love and warmth. Such an exploration of a female character is rarely undertaken without heavy handed condemnation for the lack of maternal feeling. She is a thoroughly unlikeable character, yet it's never difficult to relate to her either. Her pettiness, selfish disposition, and chronic indecision are all too human attributes, which renders her, if not likable, at least relatable. I read it fast, fell easily into the story and found it very visually complex in my imagination as I read. This, I attribute to Lee's eerie poetic prowess and word-smith skill. She throws contradiction after contradiction at the reader in all of her descriptions, such as fat women with thin faces and dark houses full of light, but the effect renders a more detailed imagining. Fat is fat and could lead to a generic image, but what does a fat girl with a thin face look like? It was an interesting and effective technique. Book two, Personal Darkness sits next to me. I never knew there was a trilogy, and I know I should probably leave well enough alone here, enjoy the nostalgia and move on, but I'm going to give book two a go. Everyone needs a good trashy novel now and then.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Remco Straten

    Tanith Lee is a good writer, however, this book was not for me. Not a lot happens in the book, and though the prose was 'purple, but done well' and kept me going through the end, laying the book down left me dissatisfied. An exercise in "How do I out-Rice Anne Rice, and out-Andrews V.C. Andrews?" Yes, there's immortals, and house burnings, and attics and flowers. And god, is there incest: "I hate you, father! You're a monster, father! I'm running away, father! But please ravage me first." And th Tanith Lee is a good writer, however, this book was not for me. Not a lot happens in the book, and though the prose was 'purple, but done well' and kept me going through the end, laying the book down left me dissatisfied. An exercise in "How do I out-Rice Anne Rice, and out-Andrews V.C. Andrews?" Yes, there's immortals, and house burnings, and attics and flowers. And god, is there incest: "I hate you, father! You're a monster, father! I'm running away, father! But please ravage me first." And then, some 11 years later: "I hate you! You're a monster for wanting to have sex with your grandchild! I'm going to take her away! But please ravage me first!" Most of the book is set in a house in which a family of ancients (vampires, of sorts) live. It resembled a care home, where residents' minds are allowed to wander in peace and eccentricities are indulged. But old men, even 300 years old, sitting in a corner playing chess, is not what I come for. In the end, the child burns the house down, including most oldies that wanted to see her 'wed' to her grandfather. She's demonic, so we're told, and set up as the antagonist of the next books. There's a case to be made that the child's behaviour is the result of her mother's neglect, and whether the self-appointed role of 'vampire hunter' is not justified. I'm not sure yet whether I'll be picking up the sequel to find out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tenebrous Kate

    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 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: http://badbooksbadpeople.com/episode-...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Palacios Kindelan

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eyemshea

    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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ridgely

    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. 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deb Pauley

    Usually, I adore Tanith Lee. This was one of her earlier novels and while I could see glimmers of the rich prose that would make Lee one of my favorite authors, the novel was a little rough around the edges. Lee refined her prose and ability to create strange, lovely worlds with her later works.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lori F Watson

    Love Love this author. She is one of my favorite authors. This is one of my favorite series from her. I wish there was more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Andrew

    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.

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