Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1) by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
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 by Yelena Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and Netgalley.)
15-year-old Vanessa is starting at NYBA (New York Ballet Academy), and her mother is going nuts because Vanessa’s older sister Margaret disappeared from there 3 years ago, and they haven’t heard from her since.

Vanessa is determined to do well, ballet is what she loves, and she intends to make it her life, but sometimes when she dances really well, walls blur and things look odd, and she doesn’t know what this means.

When Vanessa is then given the lead in the December production of ‘The Firebird’, she is overwhelmed; the position was supposed to go to a senior, not a freshman, and even more worryingly; Margaret was also cast for the lead in the same production 3 years ago.

Other things are going on at NYBA though, several girls have gone missing, other than Margaret, and now one of Vanessa’s new friends – Elly has also disappeared.
Why do girls keep disappearing? Does this have something to do with ‘The Firebird’? And is Vanessa destined to follow in her sister Margaret’s footsteps?

This book started off really slowly, at 25% of the way in it felt like it was really dragging, and it didn’t really pick up until the 60% mark.

Vanessa obviously loved ballet, and wanted to be a dancer more than anything, even enough to go to the school that her sister had gone missing from. Her secret that dancing sometimes made things seem unreal was a little odd, and I did wonder why it hadn’t stopped her from dancing altogether. She just seemed to think that if she ignored it, it would go away, which is a valid plan of action I suppose.

I found the fact that one of the girls – Elly, had left under mysterious circumstances wasn’t given enough attention, as it seemed that for a while the girls were happy to just assume that she had gone home. I kind-of expected the realisation that she hadn’t gone home to come sooner, but this actually took a while.

As I said, the pace in this book was really slow in the beginning, and I had difficulty with it right up to the 60% mark, where things started to happen, and the pace picked up. It was around this point that the mysteries in this book became more interesting, and I began to really want to know what was going on, and who Vanessa could and couldn’t trust.

And of course, no book would be complete without a blinking love triangle would it? Vanessa pursues a relationship with Zep (the male lead in the production), whilst another boy Justin seems to be stalking her. There seems to be reason’s for Vanessa to mistrust both of them, although her infatuation with Zep does seem a bit OTT for the amount of attention he actually pays her. I personally did not trust Zep at all, but then Justin was a bit odd as well if you ask me.

I had kind-of guessed what was going on overall, but I didn’t guess the details, and there were some aspects that I hadn’t guessed at all. The last 12% of the book was very gripping, and definitely the best part. Some things were tied up nicely, but there was still enough to keep me interested in the second instalment. At the beginning of this book I was thinking that this was going to be a disappointment, but I’m so glad that I persevered with this, because I ended up really enjoying it.
Overall; This started slowly, but built up to a great finish.
8 out of 10.


  1. This seems to be either hate it or love it judging from the reviews I'm seeing around the blogosphere. Glad you liked it :)

    1. I noticed that too! I was a little worried about reading it after reading a couple of negative reviews but it wasn't bad int he end ☺

  2. I didn't read your review since I'm doing mine on Friday for a tour and I haven't written it yet, but I'm glad to see you gave it 4 stars! I'll have to come back on Friday and see where we agreed. :D

  3. This sounds good, but wish that it picked up before 60%
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. Thanks for letting us know that the pace does improve as the story progresses. Vanessa seems like an interesting character... I'm adding this to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I really like the sound of this one so in glad the pace does pick up. Great review!

  6. I have this to read too. It does sound good overall but I HATE slow beginnings, and this is slow for over half? Ugh. I don't know if I can do it.

  7. Another slow one, huh? Well at least it picks up in the end! I really want to read this one, especially because I danced (ballet, tap, jazz) for 12 years, and I miss it! I can't believe I haven't read a ballet book yet, because I know there's a few out there! Great review!

    1. You should try 'dancing in the dark' that's a ballet book too!

  8. This is one of the books on my TBR list! I can't wait to read it! Great review and thanks for the heads up too on the slow start. Even though I'm not found of slow starts, some books are worth finishing after the story picks up!

  9. Oh and I should add that this is one of the prettiest covers I've seen this year.

    1. I was worried after reading bad reviews but it was actually alright! I love the cover too - so pretty!

  10. Hmm, I have an ARC for this, and I have hesitated moving it up in my pile, you gave it such a good rating I may have to reconsider.