Beauty and the Nerd
Set in the same world as Masque of the Red Death and its sequel, Dance of The Red Death, Glitter & Doom is a short story (about 50 pages, give or take) that focuses on two of the series protagonists, April and Kent. The blurb for Glitter & Doom promises that it will show us what happened to April when she mysteriously disappeared for much of Masque of the Red Death – and while some of the story does indeed take place between the two novels, it also functions as a prequel of sorts, giving us an idea of what life was like for April and Elliott during their imprisonment in Price Propsero’s castle.
There are two main parts to Glitter & Doom: “Glitter,” which is told from April’s perspective, and “Doom,” in which the narrative switches to Kent.
“Glitter” opens with a spectacle in Prince Prospero’s throne room. An eleven-year-old April and her mother are forced to look on as Prospero commands Elliott to torture a young boy in front of the court. He refuses and suffers terribly for his defiance. Fast forward five years, and we meet April as she waits in line for the opening of a new nightclub, The Morgue. Here she’s approached by a mysterious robed woman who attempts to lure her into the Debauchery Club instead. The women are attacked en route and April barely escapes with her life. It’s a year after this incident that April and her new-ish friend Araby are stood up (seemingly) by brother Elliot at the Debauchery Club. She and Araby are drugged – by one of Reverend Malcontent’s men, it turns out – and April is kidnapped…only to find herself imprisoned underground with Kent, her brother’s nerdy friend.
“Doom” shifts the focus to Kent, who’s been kidnapped by Malcontent and forced to build a bomb – the very bomb that will be used to destroy Elliott’s ship Discovery in Masque of the Red Death. We learn a little bit of Kent’s back story (which is both adorable and heartbreaking), and see how the characters’ story arcs intersect at various points throughout the duology. He and April manage to escape, but not before Prospero burns Kent’s childhood home to the ground – and the “frivolous” rich girl and the nerdy, nearly-blind inventor start to fall for one another. The story ends with the explosion of Discovery – and Elliott and Kent’s plans for revolution.
I actually really enjoyed Glitter & Doom, even if it’s a bit overpriced at $2.99. (The story goes by very quickly.) I came to loathe the love triangle between Araby, Elliott, and Will, especially as it takes center stage in Dance of the Red Death; personally, I find this blossoming romance between April and Kent much more compelling. This one’s worth a read for fans of the series, especially if you’re curious about these supporting characters.
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