Monday, 18 February 2013

Dance of Shadows

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Paperback, 389 pages

Published 12th February 2013 by Bloomsbury

My shelves: books-i-own, arc-or-review, supernatural, series-or-companions, read-in-2013, magical-realism, magic, better-than-expected, cover-appeal
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

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?

Black Swan meets Gossip Girl in this thrilling first book in a new series. Sexy, sinister and full of secrets, readers will be hooked on Dance of Shadows from the first page. Look out for the sequel in 2014.

Dance of Shadows is one of the most highly anticipated books of 2013 and I was one of those who has been waiting eagerly for its release. I can't deny that I mainly wanted to pick the book up just because of the beautiful cover, but yes, the  plot did sound quite exciting too! 

At first, I wasn't completely sold when I read about this book - the story revolves around Vanessa, a student at the  New York Ballet Academy. I'm not opposed to dancing, but it's not something that interests me, it's not something I'd particularly want to read about. However, there was one aspect of this book that really did grab my attention - Vanessa's sister, along with several other members of the Ballet Academy have mysteriously gone missing throughout the years. I do like a bit of mystery and after reading some online material about Margaret, I just had to find out what happened to her. 

I was surprised how much I liked this book when I first started to read it - I thought it may take some getting used to, especially as I'm not into dancing. There, of course, is a lot of dancing and quite a few dance references in this book, but it never became overwhelming, which I was glad of. The dancing is very much the stepping stone for the paranormal aspect of this book and for the search for Margaret - the focus lies on what happens when Vanessa dances, which is something very unusual, something supernatural. I thought that discovering more about the unexplained disappearances was the most interesting part of the book, as I expected it to be - I couldn't predict what had happened to the missing girls. I was, however, pretty disappointed when we did find out what had happened - the revelation all seemed to come too fast and it seemed rushed, especially considering that there will be more books that this could've been more smoothly revealed and explored.

There were a good amount of characters in this book and whilst it was good for establishing the environment and atmosphere at the ballet academy, I thought that they all could have had some more depth. Most of the characters were likeable, but I don't feel that I know enough about them to really relate to them. I did like Vanessa's group of friends as they did seem like a genuinely good group of people. I thought the character of Josef could have been magnificent, he was intriguing and clearly had a past that would have made for fantastic reading. I will say that I was so disappointed about what happens to Josef in the end - simply because I think there was a lot of wasted potential. The romantic relationships in this book were okay - they held my attention but I could sort of predict what would happen in the end between Vanessa, Zep and Justin. I should hope that some sort of more complex relationship between the characters will appear in the future - there is room for development.

Overall, Dance of Shadows was an entertaining book which held my attention.  I think that it certainly has the potential to become a very popular series. The plot was interesting and I am still interested in the missing girls and in Vanessa's search for them. Unfortunately, for me, the book did slightly decrease in quality as it progressed, it seemed too rushed for me to enjoy it, as though the author was cramming things in just before the end of the book and this reflected in the quality of the writing. I will most probably read the next book in this series, and hope that both the plot and the characters deepen. 


  1. I'm sorry to hear this one left you disappointed since it seems to promise so much. I'm looking forward to reading it and seeing the dancing references.

    Great review! :)

  2. Sorry it didn't live up to what you expected but I'm glad that at least it wasn't too bad :)
    It does sound like it has a lot of potential.

  3. I didn't really enjoy this one either. I had trouble relating to the characters too.

  4. I am reading this one right now and I am almost done, I am really enjoying the story but, I do see a lot of flaws in it but,it has kept my attention and I haven't been bored by it. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  5. Wow, wonderful blog format! Always Indian like this type of blog
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