{Review} Dance of Shadows by: Yelana Black

12:00 AM

Number of Pgs. 447 (ebook)
Publication date: February 12, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Genre: YA, Mystery
How I got the copy: Netgalley

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 mfen: 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 . . .

I've been using a new way of reviewing that I saw over at Making the Grade.  It breaks the book down and makes it easier to rate.  The way it works is each category gets a score out of ten points.  Then you add them all up + 50 (50% automatically for each book) and that's your score out of 100.

4/10:  Ever wait months and months highly anticipating a book and then find yourself disappointed once you actually read it?  Unfortunately, this happened for me.  On one hand, I loved this book because it revolves around one of my favorite things, ballet.  It also had an awesome mystery that I couldn't solve.  

 Then, halfway through this book it takes a strange turn.  I knew going into this that there would be paranormal aspects.  In fact, that was part of the reason I picked it up.  But I like my paranormal believable and this just wasn't realistic at all.  It was almost to the point where I was rolling my eyes.  Luckily, the rest of the book was intriguing enough that I finished it regardless of my apprehensions.
3/10: I love books that make me second guess the characters.  Yelena Black does this pretty well.  I could not figure out who Vanessa should trust and who she should run from.  Zep, the love interest, never made me swoon and there was something off about him.  Same with Justin.  He seemed reliable, but then he'd do something and I wouldn't be sure anymore.  The romance just didn't seem real at all.  Vanessa's group of friends wasn't really believable to me.  It takes longer than a day to get that close to a bunch of girls.  The main problem I had was becoming emotionally invested in the characters.  I just didn't really root for anyone or care what happened to them.  Also, we never learn anything about Vanessa's life except her obsession with finding out what happened to her sister.
 6/10: Anything set in the ballet world makes me happy.   I loved reading about Vanessa's experience going to rehearsals and the dorm life.  The author was able to make this ballet school set in a big city feel really creepy and dark.  Again, I enjoyed that there was paranormal aspects, but just wished it was more believable.  The magical rosin was cool, but just a little silly to me.    
5/10: The last half of the book, despite my reservations, had me flipping pages quickly to find out what would happen.  I needed to know if my suspicions were right or not.  The beginning was just a little too slow for me.   It took me a week to get through it where as the last half of the book took me a day or two to read.  
5/10: I tend to prefer first person narrative so I'm not sure if the fact that this is in third person altered my opinion.  I think I might have connected with the characters more if it was.  But I am grateful that another author tackled the ballet world and made it interesting by adding a twist of paranormal activity.  Will I read the second book in the series?  Maybe.  I honestly don't know where the story could go from here.  I just hope there's still a lot of ballet in the rest of the series.
If you liked the movie The Black Swan you should definitely try this book.  It's an equally dark, but YA appropriate version.  This won't make my top ten favorites of 2013, but after waiting a whole year anxiously to read it I'm really glad I finally did.  Also, how gorgeous is that cover?!  



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