Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Challenges: 2013 Debut Author Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Rating: 2 stars
Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .
Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister’s shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .
Dance of Shadows is a beautifully written story that is haunting and completely keeps you guessing. Anything with dance is always an interest of mine – I’ve danced since I was 4 years old and I simply love it. Books centering around dance are always so well done and I just love reading them.
I love books that keep me guessing, but Dance of Shadows was a bit too much of a mystery to me. Throughout the book there are characters who make it clear they know what is happening or at least know pieces, yet Vanessa completely blows them off. I was left so frustrated at knowing nothing because of Vanessa’s immaturity.
It was the last quarter of the book that did this one in for me. While I thought it had its flaws in the first part of the book, I was genuinely enjoying it. The last quarter of the book had me constantly rolling my eyes. The pacing got weird and to be honest, things just went weird. There was one happening after the next that just didn’t work for me. This is also where all the paranormal comes in. From when I read the description and heard about Dance of Shadows, I thought that the book was basically ballet meets demons. There is a complete lack of paranormal, except for a few subtle hints, for most of the book. The paranormal element was cool, but I think it would’ve been dealt much more justice if it had been more spaced out instead of merely crammed into the last part of the book.
The ending also annoyed me. While some things were wrapped up, so much was left open ended. After the extent of the questions that weren’t answered throughout the majority of the book, this was a bit much for me. It left an opening to continue the story and while I am intrigued about it, I think the majority of the reason I would want to continue the story is to just get some answers to the wild ride that suddenly happened in the last quarter of the book.
Yelena Black writes very well – I quite enjoyed her prose. I really liked the secondary characters. Vanessa was a very immature character who often irked me. Yet, she still had a great voice.
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black was a book that had so much potential, but at the last moment fell flat for me. I love idea of the premise and the writing, but the other elements just didn’t do it for me. That aside, I am curious what Yelena Black will write next. I would love to see what she could do with a contemporary – to me, her writing style just seems very similar to a lot of my favorite contemporary authors.
While I was not completely crazy about this one, check out some reviews of people who were: