Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Tour and Book Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Series: Book One in the Dance of Shadows Series
Published By; Bloomsbury (Feb. 12, 2013)
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description:

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.

Purchase Links: Amazon/B&N

About the Author:
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.

My Thoughts and Review:

I never expected this to be so deliciously dark and mysterious. It was a very pleasant surprise.

This tale filled with beautiful writing and overshadowing left me completely enthralled.

Black did a wonderful job sucking the reader right into the dark life of the New York Ballet Academy (NYBA) while also betraying the wonderful beauty of the actual dance itself.

One filled with exhausting training, brutal instructors, unmentionable pain and a dance that might very well be cursed. Not to mention the secrets and lies hidden within the very shadows of the walls around them.

Really this was a really interesting story. The author did a fabulous job of making me feel like I was right there with Vanessa experiencing the pains and trials that go with being a dancer. I liked the fast friendships (and enemies) that formed and really enjoyed the darker side of the story and the mystery surrounding the disappearances of the lead ballerinas of past, including a new disappearance from Vanessa's group of friends.

I have to say there were some twists in this one I didn't see coming. I didn't like all of them or know exactly where the author will be going with them in the next book but they were nice. Nice in the fact that I didn't exactly see them coming and that I don't know where they will lead.

There were a few things that bothered me about the storyline though that I do feel I need to mention. We know that Vanessa is there to research her sister's disappearance and we know that she wants answers, yet very little of the book is actual focused on Vanessa doing any kind of research or trying to find out those answers. Instead the opposite seems to happen. She seems to get caught up in the world and performance of The Firebird and starts to wonder why she ever suspected anything bad happening even though lots of strange things are still happening around her. There are people she should be questioning and things she should be seeing and yet she sort of puts a blind eye to it all.

I don't know, that sat a little wrong with me. Why be there at all then?

It also seemed as if the story dragged a little in the middle with nothing new really happening. In fact, most of the action happened within the last 50 pages or so, again, not so much a bad thing as just I wish more would have happened during the whole story to keep me really wanting to turn the pages. I was so caught up in the first 30% of the story that I was a little let down by the slow middle and then again turning the pages for the last 30% percent.

Overall this was definitely an original storyline and one that I think shows promise although, I have no idea where the next book will lead. But, then again, maybe that isn't a bad thing. Maybe that only means way more twists and turns will be coming and way more adventure is ahead.

I give this one 3 Solid Stars!


  1. Yep, I think I said many of the same things when I reviewed this, I liked the dark, suspenseful atmosphere and all the ballet stuff but Vanessa was incredibly stupid and drove me batty. I wanted to hit her with a two by four and say wake up how many times do you need to read or hear about ballerinas disappering at this school before you realize your are in danger... and her parents reaction was so weird when her mother called and she was acting all weird and her mom said get some rest, are you kidding me? This had alot of potential but just missed the mark.

  2. The cover is really pretty, but I don't know if I want to invest in this one. It sounds good, though.

  3. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on this one but, I am so intrigued by the book that I might just check it out. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  4. This is definitely one with a lot of mixed reviews but I haven't seen any really good reviews at all. I think it's one I'll need to wait and see how people like the next one.

  5. I love books about dance. So much work they must go through. I in no way have that kind of determination. It sounds like the dance took over the mystery but maybe it was supposed to show that dance was more important than even her sister? I dunno. This sounds interesting and I love the cover!

  6. This is another one of those books I've had my eye on and have been wondering about. Thanks for the great informative review. I'll have to keep it in mind for the future.