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.
Dance Of Shadows - The Paranormal Side of Black Swan
(Updated: March 04, 2013)
The story overall was nice, the plot unravels nicely, however the author switched between what was really important and the focus of the story. At times it made me wonder if it was indeed a love story or a mystery and suspense instead. What I didn’t enjoy as much is how sometimes Margaret would lose her focus and concentrate on her attraction and love for Zep and stray away from her reasons to being at the NYBA. I think the premise of the story is good, I am looking forward to finding out what happens next. I think the magic, the mystery and passion behind the world of ballerinas and ballet are exquisite and magical on its own. Dance of Shadows has potential, it is suspenseful, magical, enticing and passionate. I am looking forward to book #2.
The first thing that caught my attention about his book was the cover. One should not judge a book by its cover but there are times when vanity goes above reason. The beauty of the cover doesn’t necessarily describe the story.
Dance of Shadows is an intriguing, dark and interesting story that compels you to keep reading. Think of Black Swan with a touch of magic and the paranormal. The story is set in New York City as a backdrop and one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the country The New York Ballet Academy. The action develops slowly, but the author doesn’t waste time in pointing out the characters that will make an impact in the story.
It all starts when Vanessa decides to follow her sister’s step and attend the same school her sister attended before her disappearance. I think the promise of the book is good, we don’t always get to hear or see what goes on in the world of ballet and this book gives you an idea of how intense that world can be. The story follows the events three years after Margaret disappearance, Vanessa is set on becoming a dancer while finding out what exactly happened to Margaret. She is convinced Margaret is alive and is somewhere in New York City. Though it is not clear what exactly happened to Margaret, Vanessa is convinced that whatever happened to her, it happened while she was in school but nobody knows what happened or worse, they don’t want to say anything. The New York Ballet Academy is one of the most prestigious schools in the world, and behind the perfect and sophisticated facade there are mysteries, secrets and pain.
I liked how the author introduced us to a world that for most is unknown and sometimes obscure. The world of ballet is one that isn’t always spoken of. I enjoyed the mystery behind Margaret’s disappearance, the whole story felt like a conundrum that was being decipher piece by piece. Vanessa had matured since her sister disappearance, becoming a ballet dancer wasn’t a dream of her as it was for Margaret, but she knew that by becoming one she would be able to get close to the mystery surrounding her sister’s disappearance.
The characters in this story were very mature and likeable. Margaret was smart though at times insecure and childish, she brought the needed drama to the story. Joseff on the other hand, brought mystery and passion though not necessarily a major character in my opinion he did gave the story a sense of realism. Zep’s character showed that adversity and passion when mixed can shape and harden a person, making them susceptible to do horrible things, some unimaginable. Justin, I knew his character would be the breaking point of the story, the one whose important thought not immediately recognized would be the one to make it all come into place. I think the secondary characters made more of an impact to the story than the main characters. I enjoyed how mature most were and how they interact with one another. Though I am not exactly convinced that friendships develop as quick and strong in the matter of days, I did enjoy their bonding.
Slow at times with plot holes, but I still enjoyed it
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
eARC received from Bloomsbury via Netgalley
Release Date: On Shelves Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Dark and Chilling
I will admit that the cover is what drew me to this book. It is easily one of the best covers I’ve seen so far in 2013, and although the book did not live up to the amazingness of the cover; I still enjoyed it.
This is the first ballet book I have read, and I will say that I spent most of the book picturing the people from the movie Center Stage (probably because it’s the only ballet movie I’ve ever seen). That did make it more enjoyable because, having never taken ballet before, I actually had an idea of the moves so I wasn’t just picturing some random leaps into the air. I actually enjoyed the ballet aspect of the story better than anything else. It’s a world that is so beautiful and severe, and Yelena definitely captures that stress and flawlessness of ballet in her writing. I could see the tension in their nerves melt away as the characters started dancing. The ballet made this book captivating, and it is the ballet that will bring me back for book 2.
The characters were, unfortunately, hit and miss for me. I really enjoyed the minor characters, while I didn’t like the main ones. Vanessa is one of those heroines who doesn’t see what’s going on right in front of her, and that really irked me. Plus, her friends tried to get her to see reason at times, and she wouldn’t hear them out. I guess she was just kind of dense, and at times, it was like the world revolved around her—and that type of heroine really bugs me. I’m hoping she will become more mature in the next book because she has great potential. Her best friends were great though, especially Steffie and Blaine. They were each quirky in their own way, and you could tell they really cared about what Vanessa was going through.
So, let’s get to the guys. First, there’s Zep—the amazing dancer who makes jaws drop all over the place. He’s the kind of guy who should be on the cover of magazines, and he definitely has the charm and charisma to back up his good looks. However, from the start, I got the feeling that his charm was fake, and it bugged me to see Vanessa fall straight for it. But, I probably would have fallen for it, too, if he was as good looking as everyone says he is! Still, I could feel that he had secrets that he didn’t want discovered.
Then there is Justin, another boy who has secrets. He comes off as this big jerk who is a bit of a bully. I liked him because he just seemed to tell the man to “Suck it,” and I love guys who are rebellious in the face of authority. However, like Zep, I just didn’t trust him because he was obviously hiding something. Still, when Vanessa describes him, I can’t help but get a bit swoony. Add that to some of the smexy dreams Vanessa has about him, and I might be giving him another look.
Even though the story was slow, I still found myself lost in the hauntingly beautiful dance. When Yelena described the world slipping away as the dance unfolds, I was just completely lost in the imagery. I could see time stop as the dancers transcended reality and became almost dream-like in their beauty and grace. Yelena’s words were beautiful and foreboding at the same time, and I fell straight into her macabre world.
Would I recommend it to others?
I would recommend it to YA fans who are looking for something different, who don’t mind pushing through slower moments to revel beautiful writing. YA fans with a history or love of dance—you should definitely check it out.
Will I read the sequel?
Yes, although it won’t be one of those that I pre-order and start reading the day it arrives.