Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury February 12th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal and Mystery!
Series: Yes, first of series.
Other Books From Author: Nope, it’s her debut
I received this for review from the publisher, but this in no way swayed my opinions, promise!
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 . . .
“The right steps with the right dancer can wreck havoc.”
Vanessa’s sister disappeared from the New York Dance Academy, but she’s not the first one. 11 girls have gone before her, and all in the same way. They were told to master an odd dance– La Dance du Feu– before they went missing. Something is wrong, terribly wrong within the 4 ashen walls of the dance theatre and Vanessa must find out, or the world will spin away into the hands of a sinister force as she dances. Mark my words, the disappearing girls will keep you spooked out… and still guessing.
Yelena Black is really good with her world-building, from the studios, to the ballet, to the ancient folklore and dark magic, I held my breath the whole time because I was so afraid that shadowy hands will grab me from the book! The element of fear and suspense transcends every page, not to mention how the intoxicating ballet atmosphere feels like the best cake treat for a kid, if only I can try those steps and pirouette my way cross country!
However, as I dug deeper into Dance of Shadows, I realized there was nothing amazing or particularly outstanding. It didn’t convince me how so many missing girls from the same institution could go unnoticed by the public, and it was sad to see how the high school drama watered down the gripping mystery I was ready for. I read this book very very carefully, not skipping a single punctuation because I couldn’t bear to miss any details that points to a possibly mind-blowing revelation. And… There was none.
Throughout the whole story, the characters continually disturbed me. I like how Vanessa is a girl with a mind of her own, but her stubbornness and lack of judgement is infuriating. It’s those moments when you know exactly what’s wrong with what the character is doing but she won’t do anything about it. The clues are screaming into her ears, the abnormal behaviours can be explained if she stops to reason, yet she pushes away the person trying to help her and confide all her secrets to the big bad guy. Don’t even get me started on the love triangle. Both boys were equally douche and I had no idea, absolutely NO IDEA how that mushy little relationship could be love!! *RAGES*
If not for the final paranormal twist and beautiful ballet, this wouldn’t even be a 2-star book. You know, people always tell you “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”, but I never learn.