Friday, March 1, 2013

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 389pgs

The Story

Vanessa doesn't believe that her sister is a runaway. She wouldn't leave her family behind without saying a word. The only way Vanessa can discover the truth behind her mysterious disappearance is to follow in Margaret’s footsteps, but to do so she risks her sanity and maybe even her life . . .

Vanessa Adler is one of the talented few to get a place at the acclaimed New York Ballet Academy. Between backbreaking rehearsals for the school’s production of The Firebird she desperately tries to find out what happened to her sister before she vanished. There are rumors that the pressure of performing the lead role, the same role Vanessa is now rehearsing for, drove her mad. Other girls have gone missing too. Can the role be cursed? Vanessa’s new relationship with leading-man Zep only seems to complicate things further. What is he hiding from her and can she really trust him?

The Review

A big thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy of this book!

You know what? I actually liked this book. No, really I did. While I admit that it does go outside the usual YA paranormal read for me - what with the whole ballet thing - and it can sometimes get a little weird on me as things get literally weirder in this story, but regardless, since the book had this small and very delightful essence of the film Black Swan, I found this book had really great potential for a new YA series and I'm looking forward to reading more from this debut author.

Right from the beginning it's quite obvious something 'strange' is going on in the book - what with its first scene being of a girl bursting into flames and then into ashes, followed by tutors saying many young girls drop out from the New York City Ballet Academy. Clearly this should be ringing alarm bells for the characters but then there enters our main heroine, Vanessa, who attends the Ballet Academy in question, one where her sister, the one who'd disappeared three years ago, used to attend and while studying there and socializing with a variety of people, things start to become . . . haunted. Literally. And it all has to do with the academy, the tutors, the strange boys, and with Vanessa, only she doesn't know it quite yet. *cues spooky music*

On a whole, I thought the characters were decent enough. While I still think Vanessa's new friends could have been developed a little bit more as they did fade into the background for me, but Vanessa's character in particular was a great heroine to have behind this elegant Ballet scene and I enjoyed reading about her world of dance and learning more and more about the disappearance of her sister, and how it exactly connects to herself now. Vanessa, in some sense, just had this great appeal about her. I can't really explain it. But as for the two main boys, Zep and Justin, I had a lot of doubts about them as I liked one boy more than the other boy (Zep I'm talking about you here). I may not have felt this 'sizzling' romance going on between Vanessa and the two boys because there was nothing sizzling about it, but Zep, I found, had something interesting going on with his character, something that I really liked from him, whereas Justin is just . . . well . . . cute and nice in a golden boy sort of way, so he didn't exactly have much . . . what's the word . . . connection with me.

Overall, DANCE OF SHADOWS was surprisingly a great read and I felt offered something a little bit different compared to most paranormal YA books out there. So if you love something crossed between Black Swan, Deadly Little Secret and Center Stage, then you're definitely going to love this book despite its faults as its very mysterious and very beautifully written!

The Rating
4/5 stars


  1. I've heard mixed reviews about this one, so I'm glad you liked it. I have it on my shelf waiting to be read. I love the thought of ballet and paranormal being mixed together. Great review =)

  2. Everyone seems to agree on her friends being underdeveloped characters as well as no real connection between the love interest... I honestly don't like paranormal themes in mystery novels so I won't be checking this out but great review!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf


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