Dance of Shadows
Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 2/12/2013
Length: 447 pages
Series?: Dance of Shadows #1
Genre: YA paranormal
Source: ARC from NetGalley
When Vanessa’s older sister, Margaret, disappeared four years ago from her freshman year at the New York Ballet Academy, everyone assumed she’d run away. But Vanessa’s believes Margaret is out there and she’s determined to find her. This dedication lands Vanessa in the exact same position as her sister: a freshman at NYBA, dancing the same role in the same ballet. Vanessa’s search for her sister leads her down a path of questions, shadows, voices, and visions. With the help of a handsome dance partner, some good friends, and her own fiery talent, Vanessa must dance like her life depends on it…because it just might.
If you’ve seen The Black Swan, then you get the general feel of this book. No, they aren’t quite the same. But the tone is the same. This is a very dark book with a lot of mysteries, and the reader is not quite sure if the protagonist is losing her grip on reality or if the sinister element is real. Is it all in Vanessa’s head, or is there something paranormal afoot? That mystery alone kept the pages turning, and I finished the novel in a single sitting.
Was the writing stellar? Eh. I’ve seen some complaints that the writing was awful and the dialogue unbearable. I didn’t feel that way — but I wasn’t exactly reading this novel for the beautiful prose. Maybe I flew through it too quickly to notice, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Sometimes Vanessa annoyed me. For example, in a scene where a character tries to reveal the truth to her, Vanessa becomes very angry and accuses the character of lying, even though she has no real reason to not believe the character or to be angry about her disbelief. However, I loved the almost comic relief of Vanessa’s friends and the almost erotic (yes, erotic) dance scenes. Yelena Black’s dance scenes are so electric and sexy that I was actually blushing, even though everyone is fully clothed in a crowded room. Intense.
FINAL GRADE: B If you like your ballet sexy and sinister, this is the book for you. Fans of paranormal romance will like it, and it would be okay in a middle school or high school library (though it does get violent and scary). Be aware that this is the first book in a series (trilogy? not sure?), with both a short-term story arc and a long-term arc. I will be reading the next book in the series, as I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this. If you aren’t convinced, I’ve also dug up the book trailer for you from YouTube:
What do you think of sexy, sinister ballet? Intriguing? Uninterested? Have any other ballet books to recommend?