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Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Dance of Shadows

Author: Yelena Black
Release Date:  February 12, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 469
Source:  NetGalley
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Thanks to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Summary:  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.
My Favorite Lines:
"Dance the dance.  There was something comforting in that simplicity.  She could dance things she couldn't find the words to say.  Feel emotion she didn't know how to show in everyday life.  She could defeat the villain, seduce the prince, enchant the nymphs of the forest, find her true love, and live happily forever after, just like that."

"You don't have to let them go," said Josef.  "You just have to use them.  For us, life and dance are not separate.  Dance your life."

"Vanessa started to feel each step deep within her body until they were as natural as falling in love, teetering with yearning, jumping back in anger.  The dance felt so intimate that she went warm with shame every time she caught the eye of one of the princesses, reminding her that the entire cast was watching her conversation with Zep."

Why I Loved It:  Let me just say, I have got to stop reading Goodread's reviews before I write mine.  I just like to know what people are thinking.  It usually makes me feel better if I have to say something negative.  But no more!  For me, this is one of those books that I obsessed over because of the cover.  It is beautiful!!  And since I am on that dancing kick *I know, I know I need to shut up about that* I thought it sounded perfect.  And there were a lot of things I loved about the book.  There were.

For example, I loved the mystery underlining the storyline.  You just know that something sinister is happening, though I don't think I  quite expected what it was.  The book had a bit of a Black Swan feel to it.  Ok maybe not that intense.  Black Swan made my head hurt with all the psychological intensity.  But still there was that tension building throughout the story that made me reminisce.  The first half of the book was actually really good that pulled you in, showed you the world of ballet, and made you wonder what exactly was happening.

Vanessa's friends made me laugh, and I found Justin to be adorable and complicated.  The dance scenes for me were intense and a bit erotic.  I don't know if that was quite the right word, but everything was so intimate and close.  I mean for those Dirty Dancing fans, you know they say dance is like making love.  So yea maybe erotic is the right word.  Either way, most of the dance scenes were well-written.

Vanessa though, the main character, was annoying.  I hate to say it, but she was.  She refused to listen even though she came to the school to find her sister.  If anyone seemed like they knew anything, I think I would hear them out with an open mind.  I mean if my sister were missing, my ears would be all open.  I wanted to shake her a few times to stop being so stuck up her butt and pay attention to what Justin was saying.  Honestly, the book could have been a bit shorter and cut out some of Vanessa's horrible pigheadedness.

And sweat is not sexy.  Nor is it something that smells sweet.  Please disregard this misconception if you read the book.      

I would read the second book in the series though.  The author shows promise, and with some work I think Vanessa could be made into a much more likable MC.

Who Should Read It:  Dancers, lovers of dance, and those people who sit on the couch and yearn to be dancers.  If you like paranormal or that dark tone *similar to Black Swan* you may enjoy this book.


  1. I've been crazy excited for this book. Sorry it didn't meet your expectations. Frustrating characters are the worst! Hopefully the former ballerina in me will love it!

    Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee

    1. I did enjoy the book once I got past her crazy. I think the ballerina in you will love it though!


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