Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publication Date: Feb 12, 2012
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 . . .
Vanessa is accepted to the prestigious New York Ballet Academy the same academy her sister, Margaret, disappeared from three years ago. Vanessa is not truly passionate about dance but she is determined to find her sister. When Vanessa is cast in the same ballet her sister was to star in before she disappeared Vanessa believes she will be able to find out what happened to her sister.
Dance of Shadows is written in third person and because of that I had a harder time relating to the main character Vanessa, it felt like I was just following her around rather then actually being in her head and understanding her motivations and feelings. Eventually she did start to grow on me, and I really wanted her to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance and the Firebird.
In Dance of Shadows there was a whole host of supporting characters T.J, Blaine, Steffie, and Elly . My one problem with them was that one of the supporting characters, Elly, drops out after only going to school for a week and all of the characters become obsessed with it. They are calling Elly constantly, sending her e-mails, wondering why she left, and lamenting the loss of her like she was their best friend! This was probably the most unrealistic part of this entire book. In undergrad and Law School I have had people drop out around me all the time, especially during the first week! I’m sorry to say but no one thinks about these people once they are gone. When someone drops out they are just kind of forgotten it was weird that these characters got so obsessed with Elly.
The romance in this book rubbed me the wrong way. There is a love triangle which isn’t a deal breaker, for me, unless the love triangle is done badly. Unfortunately this one was done terribly. Both Zeppelin or Zep and Justin are flat and one dimensional I never got the vibe that either of them really liked Vanessa other then the fact that they told her they did and even worse, it never felt like Vanessa had any feelings for either of them! In fact Vanessa talks about how much she hates Justin and then suddenly she likes him? The book actually would have benefited if there had been no romance and instead had focused on the mystery.
The saving grace for this book was the ending. I liked all the twists and turns it took and I have to say I really didn’t see the supernatural element coming which was a pleasant surprise. I’m interested to see how Black will expand upon this in the next book.
Overall, I enjoyed Dance of Shadows at times I was rolling my eyes but all in all it was a pretty interesting read and I hope Black further fleshes out the characters in book 2 and expands upon the nice start she made in book 1.
Yelena Black is a recent MFA graduate of Columbia University. She currently resides in New York City and is a full-time writer. She has a keen interest in dance and all things devilish.