Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dance of Shadows - Yelena Black

Publication Details

Published 12th February 2013 by Bloomsbury
389 pages
27 chapters

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Bloomsbury, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion)


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.


This book does not take its time when it comes to getting started on the plot. The book opens with our main character, Vanessa Adler, settling into her new dorm room in the New York Ballet Academy - the school she's attending in the hopes that she'll find her missing sister, Margaret. For about the first half of this book I enjoyed Vanessa's character, I respected the level of determination she felt towards finding her sister and what she was willing to do and go through in order to get Margaret back. I didn't seem to find any major issues with Vanessa up until the point where the romance was officially introduced. I feel like Vanessa was pretty stupid and gullible when it came to romance. The only interaction she seemed to have with her love interest was the odd glance across the room at each other, and then suddenly they seemed to be practically infatuated with each other. This was what really pissed me off about Vanessa, I just felt like she was a strong character in the beginning of the book and then she turned out to be a gullible and idiotic girl. So by the end of the book, I felt like I neither loved or hated Vanessa as a character.

There are several other characters we meet throughout the entirety of this book, but the only others that really stood out to me were Vanessa's friends; Steffie, Elly, TJ and Blaine, especially Blaine. I really enjoyed all of these characters, I felt like they were bubbly and just generally happy people, which seemed to add a bit of lightness to the book's dark plot. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all of Vanessa's friends, Blaine was definitely my favourite, not only in the group of friends, but in the entire book. Blaine is the gay friend that everyone wishes they had. He is hilarious in the way he acts, and the things he says. I found myself genuinely laughing out loud at particular scenes with Blaine just because he was such an enjoyable character that I feel really contributed to how I felt about the book, and if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much as I did.

The predominant plot of this book is Vanessa trying to find Margaret, so with Dance of Shadows, we are mainly getting a mystery. I definitely feel like this book is an excellent mystery in the sense that there are a lot of questions that are asked from beginning to end and the story just constantly leaves you guessing, with no clue as to what could be right around the next corner. Something I absolutely loved about this book was the creepy factor that it had. I am, personally, a sucker for anything creepy or scary, and this book delivered! There aren't a whole bunch of creepy scenes, but when they do pop up, they are awesome-sauce. So if you're a fan of creepy/scary things, I definitely recommend you check this book out.

There were moments in this book that left me breathless and there were moments that left me shocked and excited, but there were also moments that left me angrier than any book has ever made me. And I say this in reference to the romance! The romance in this book took insta-love to a whole new kind of stupid. Vanessa and her "partner" barely knew each other before they pretty much decided to trust each other entirely and practically feel connected to each other mentally and physically. And even after they became extremely close, they still barely knew each other, and they hardly got to know each other for the entire book. And this to me is just idiotic in so many ways, so every time Vanessa felt 'lost' without her love interest, I just wanted to punch her in the face and tell her to get a grip or just push her off a cliff, sometimes both. As I mentioned before, when I started the book I felt like Vanessa would turn out to be a strong and independent character, and I just didn't get that vibe from her in any way, shape or form. 

As for Yelena Black's writing. I pretty much loved it. I feel like Yelena wrote this story the way in needed to be written - beautifully. The way that the author describes the dance performances in this book are just magnificent - reading the dances was probably my favourite part of this book. I felt like I was joining the dancer and could feel myself getting lost in this performance as the dancer spun and twisted and stretched and posed. It was just magnificently described in a way that pretty much blew my mind while I was reading it. Also, I felt like the authors descriptions were very well done, I found I could picture the characters and settings and scenes very vividly in my head, I managed to create an image in my head that just made the book that much more exciting for me to read.

So overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was brilliantly written and planned, I enjoyed the majority of the characters and the mystery behind the story was both exciting and mind-boggling. I highly enjoyed the creepy scenes and the slight twist that the book took within the last few chapters. I thought it added an interesting concept to the book and asked just enough questions to leave us wanting more - which is exactly what I want. More. Although the romance in this book, as well as the main character (a little), pissed me off more than I can explain, I enjoyed the plot to an extreme degree and I highly anticipate the sequel to find out how Yelena Black continues this story and continues to ask and answer questions that I'm sure will continue to boggle my mind.

3 of 5 stars