Dance of Shadows


Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Published by Bloomsbury Books

 3.5 out of 5 stars

Format: Paperback (also available in alternate formats)

Hmmm. I finished this a week or so ago and haven’t got round to writing the review yet. I don’t know why. I was just nonplussed about the whole thing.

Dance of Shadows is set in the NY Ballet Academy, dancer Vanessa has just arrived, she is full of talent, but no real desire, but she’s on a mission, to find out what really happened to her sister Margaret, who was also a student a few years before, but who disappeared without a trace. The school said she ran away, but Vanessa thinks something else is going. Vanessa soon settles into the school, has some good friends and meets not one, but two boys (of course), the hot guy of the school, Zed and bad boy Julian (or was it Justin? A week later and I can’t remember), she’s cast as a lead in the winter production (an unheard of for a freshman) and things are going good. Except she can’t get the steps right, she doesn’t love dancing the way she should, she still doesn’t know what happened to Margaret and things are a bit weird at the NYBA – shadows on the wall, russian books that can only be read by firelight and a missing best friend.

‘Eerie’ ‘Creepy’ ‘Magical’ ‘Twisting’ – all words used to describe the book (its none of them). It all sounds brilliant, first off – this is a paranormal YA book, the blurb doesn’t say so, but the first chapter is about a girl bursting into flames and ending up in a pile of ash. So don’t be surprised that its PARANORMAL. I was hoping for a black swan type book (maybe not quite black swan) and dancing just lends its self to darkness, misery, mystery and black magic and the like. I’m not sure why it didn’t deliver. It just didn’t. I didn’t give a damn about any of the characters, couldn’t care less whether Vanessa found her sister, and I really didn’t want to know which boy she chose (which is always going to be the wrong one, so there can be a book 2). The magic/paranormal side was weak, there was no depth to it, and the discovery was really under written it was a case of: him: oh its magic/demon/witches/ghosts/vampires/werewolves etc (not telling you which ones as I don’t want to spoil it), her: oh ok then. SERIOUSLY? I bang my head against the wall thinking about it.

The plus points of the book are the cover!, the dancing aspects, the ballet world is beautifully written, and the story is good when its about the dance, but move away from the studio into the characters lives and its all a bit dull, lifeless and bland (yes those are three words for more or less the same thing, but thats just what it made me feel). I gave the book 3.5 stars as it wasn’t BAD. It just wasn’t inspiring or life changing or well, good. Would I read a sequel, yes if it was free, but I wouldn’t pay for it.



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