Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)
Author: Yelena Black
Series: Dance of Shadows
Pages: 447
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

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 . 

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Thank-you to Bloomsbury Publishing Australia for sending me an advance review copy of Dance of Shadows.

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black is hard for me to rate because there are some elements that I enjoyed, such as the dance aspect but others that had me cringing and left me quite frustrated.

Fifteen year-old Vanessa Adler is a freshman at the elite NY Ballet Academy where her sister Margaret also attended but she is there for a different purpose, her goal is to not only dance but to find out what happened to Margaret three years prior when she mysteriously disappeared.

When Vanessa is chosen to dance the lead in The Firebird, the role her sister was also meant to dance she has no idea of the danger she is in. I was intrigued by the paranormal mystery surrounding the dance and the sinister and ominous presence which played a part, I was quite surprised by the revelation and what was actually happening with the disappearing dancers and the deals they were making with demons, it was an interesting and promising premise but unfortunately the execution fell flat.

I wasn’t Vanessa’s biggest fan, she did a number of things I found to be immature and rash but it could also come down to her age or the fact it was written in third person and I couldn't really relate to her; she seemed blasé to what she was told and just came across as weak and naïve. The secondary characters I found to be under-developed and lacking in personality, we also have two love interests, Zeppelin and Justin but I didn’t find either appealing or believable, it just didn’t come together for me and I wasn’t caught up in the romance.

The cover of this book is stunning but unfortunately the story didn’t quite match its beauty and I was left feeling really underwhelmed. Dance played a huge part so fans of ballet may enjoy this aspect, the mystery was written ok but I wasn't surprised by the 'twist' and all of the characters were lacklustre and I didn’t connect with them at all; I also needed more imagery and sensory detail but it wasn’t there.

Ms Black’s writing was simplistic, the pacing I found to be slow and incosistent, at times I admit to skimming; there was a lot of promise with Dance of Shadows but its delivery just didn’t work out for me.

Overall, despite this book being beautifully presented it failed to draw me in and keep me wanting more, the premise was intriguing but the overall delivery I thought could have been refined. 


  1. I agree with you, this one had a great setup, but something about the book just felt off. Great honest review!

    1. I agree! I didn't mind the dance aspect but everything else was a bit mashed up, it's a shame because the premise was promising.

  2. I pretty much agree with you-my favorite part of this book was its gorgeous cover.

    1. It's such a shame the story itself didn't match the beautiful cover.

  3. I have to like your review about a million times. I wanted so much more from this book too. :( Really excellent review, I love that you were able to break down what was off - it was hard with this one.

    1. Thanks Barbara! I'm learning now to not judge a book by its cover, I expected a lot more.

  4. Aww, that's too bad. I honestly had no plans to read DoS, but the reviews have really solidified that. I do love the cover. Sorry this didn't work out for you.
    Great review, Sharon!

    1. Thanks Andrea, the reviews have been quite mixed, some love it others not so much - it's one of my fave covers though ;)

  5. Too bad this one wasn't great. I agree that the cover is gorgeous!

  6. I wanted to like this one - I really did, because I ADORE ballet movies/books. I just hated that I didn't care for it. I think you've seen my review, so we definitely had the same issues. I felt like all of the characters were so under-developed, definitely. I could have forgiven the plot issues if the characters had been better, but nope. *sigh* Too bad, because that cover is gorgeous.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. I loved your review! You pinpointed everything perfectly and I agree if the characters were further developed I would have let a few things slide and rated it higher.

  7. The cover for Dance of Shadows is what originally held my interest but now I'm not so sure I want to read it anymore. It sounds like a lot of book already out there,, based on the plot.
    Lovely Review
    Lily xx

  8. This was on my list, but so many readers/reviews shared your views on this that I crossed it off my list.


Thank-you so much for stopping by today!

I love to receive your comments, please leave your blog link & I'll be sure to stop by.

I also respond to your comment here on my blog :)