Thursday, October 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1) by Yelena Black


  • Series: Dance of Shadows
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English

Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets—until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy.

Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets trapped in a sinister spiral of secrets. Back-stabbing bunheads, a fiercely unrelenting choreographer, and the sexy male lead of the troupe—they all want something from Vanessa. And though she revels in the attention, what Vanessa truly craves are answers. Instead, she feels as though she is losing her footing at every turn. Is she doomed to relive her sister's strange fate?

Riveting and sexy, Dance of Shadows twists the cutthroat world of ballet with a psychological thriller, in a dance you won't be able to resist.


I have to admit that this book is in my top list of beautiful covers. It's eerily beautiful to see the lone ballerina in that pose surrounded by fog and red petals. Her tutu is stunning beyond compare. Although, it has bright colors, it brings dark foreboding. Plus, this cover speaks what the plot is all about.

DANCE OF SHADOWS is all about 15 year old, Vanessa Adler attending the prestigious ballet school, New York Ballet Academy. Although she is a natural-born ballerina, she's not really into dancing, she attended the school to investigate what happened to her missing sister, Margaret, who happened to be a ballerina in the said school, years before Vanessa. But Vanessa feels a strong pull to ballet because everytime she dances, she loses herself and the world fades into oblivion thus it's a given that she landed the lead role in Firebird. But then the girls started to get missing again. Soon, Vanessa isn't just the investigator, she has been entangled in the dark secrets of the school, secrets that are far from her reality.

This book had a very promising plot indeed. It was genius to combine something as elegant as ballet with mystery and supernatural. The notion that dancing=magic is really cool and that there is a right dancer for a dance, can transcend dimensions and is capable of unleashing forces is beyond awesome. Plus the author made the dance dark, intriguing and sinister. But sadly, the execution didn't live up to the reader's expectations. The first chapters were good, but as the book progresses; the pacing was so slow on unimportant parts and too fast on vital ones plus the characters frustrated me.

I found the main character Vanessa likeable enough but too frustrating. She may be selfless, good and friendly but she's naïve and stupidly stubborn. As for me, I really like strong characters, those that can stand up on their own or maybe just those who realize things at least. But who knows, there's still room for Vanessa's character to grow in the sequel.

As for the other characters, I wish we were given more of their backstories, and not just tell the reader who the character is. I guess one could never root for a character who's just a face.
The romance, although there were three love interests, it's pretty obvious that Vanessa likes Zep, or Zeppelin (weird name). It's insta-love actually and although there's a hint for a love-triangle, it doesn't really feel like it, when Justin --the guy who has the only common sense in school acts as a jealous jerk

Given those flaws, DANCE OF SHADOWS has some good points too. I love the mystery entwined with the reality aspect. The twists throughout the story (disregarding the said flaws) kept me on edge and to continue reading until the last page. The fast wrap-up in the story shed some light on the mysteries surrounding the school. It brought the darkness of the story to light and made me experience what Vanessa experiences.

I believe that given more practice, the author could definitely write her future books with more depth, style and passion. Plus she really has this good idea, good plot that could turn into a best-seller with proper care. I would still like to read of her future books and this series ( I do love ballet and wish this plot all its best)

*review copy provided by Freshfiction
To see full review. visit Freshfiction.com

11 comments:

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