Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Published: February 2013
The cover on this is eye catching and unusual, with a dancer having blood red petals as her dress, which are floating upwards; very telling about the story! My review is based on the uncorrected proof received.
Vanessa doesn’t believe her sister just simply upped sticks and left the dance academy. It was her life, and she was one of the most talented dancers there. Vanessa gets accepted into the academy and begins her quest to seek out clues as to the whereabouts of her sister whilst also coping with the tiring demands of being a ballet dancer at the academy. She discovers things aren’t what they seem, but can she live to tell the tale and not follow in her sister’s footsteps?
Although Vanessa goes to the academy to find answers, she seemed a bit slow when facts are presented to her, and I thought she was too naïve and way too trusting. She falls for someone she knows hardly anything about, even when at times her mind knows something is not right – she just doesn’t piece it together. I didn't trust Zep from the outset; he seemed far too perfect and secretive for my liking. The friendships she has seem fairly superficial. I didn’t feel much empathy with the other characters as I didn’t feel I knew them as individuals, Vanessa doesn’t seem to have a best friend in the book as such, which I thought was a shame. She does have someone watching over her, but even then she doesn’t see things for what they are.
Most of the story did seem pre-ordained and transparent, but I enjoyed the difference in setting – I haven’t come across many books so far that have a dancer as a main character which also has romance, mystery and elements of suspense and the paranormal, so it made for a varied mix. I could really feel the passion and feeling behind the dance moves and the idea behind the story. I did find it odd that given the history with the headliner dancers, at first glance there didn’t appear to be anyone else making the links. I found it unsettling that Elly’s parents would just take someone else’s word for it that their daughter was ok, rather than speaking to her themselves.
All in all, Dance of Shadows got under my skin…possibly not for the best reasons as most of the time it was because I was irritated with the characters for not seeing the obvious or making the same conclusions that I’d come to. It did have a glimmer of a surprise at the end which I didn't see coming. I’m looking forward to seeing other reviews about Dance of Shadows to see what others think about it.
Dark forces are unleashed by the intense passion of one young dancer in a dark, seductive and highly dramatic thriller.
Source – Many thanks to Bloomsbury, a proof copy was received in return for an honest review