Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1) – Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1) – Yelena BlackTitle: Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1) by Yelena Black
Publishing Info: February 12, 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 24, 2013

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...


I first started DANCE OF SHADOWS and it SO reminded me of Center Stage. Seriously still love that movie despite how cheesy it may have been, so I was constantly making comparisons to the movie and in a good way! Once we started to see the darker side of the book, it felt a little more like Black Swan (or how I imagine Black Swan would be considering I didn’t see it) and I was still digging the first half of the book. I was confused on why so many people were giving it bad reviews. Then I started to turn.

Zep was my turning point. I did not like him the whole book. He always seemed really shady and once he started showing Vanessa a fair amount of attention, I was getting more and more annoyed. I just didn’t trust him. My problem was, I didn’t understand if I was supposed to or not. Was I supposed to trust Zep? We were already led to not trust Justin, but you know there’s more of a story there. Anyway, when the focus turned away from Vanessa being independent and then started fawning all over Zep, I was totally turned off.

Before I started DANCE OF SHADOWS, I knew that there were many, many mixed reviews on this book. After reading it, I think I figured out why. I read the summary, said “Hm. That seems like it’d be interesting!” and had an idea of what I was getting myself into. I didn’t. I was thinking mystery… thriller… suspense… and what happened in the end was quite a surprise. The twist at the end was just too much for me and I didn’t like the direction the book headed after that.

I was disappointed in the twist, about halfway thought the characters just totally fell flat, and I just ended up pretty disappointed. If I wasn’t so pleased and hopeful with the first half of the book, I might have given it a higher rating. I was also pretty disappointed that it’s a trilogy. I think it could have been easily wrapped up in one book.


Vanessa: I actually started off liking Vanessa. I was interested in her story and had high hopes for her. I was hoping she’d be feisty and determined. Once she met Zep, it was all over. She turned into a love sick puppy and it was all I could do not to jump through the book and shake her. Okay, okay, she’s fifteen, but still. I’m sure I acted like that when I was that young too but sometimes it’s just so hard to read.
Zep: With a name like ‘Zep’ (short for Zeppelin) I was destined to hate him from the start. I can’t stand with characters have unusual names because it just makes them so less real for me and too much of a ‘character’. I never liked his character and once he became the apple of Vanessa’s eye, I hated him even more. I just didn’t like him in any way. Ever.
Justin: I know we were led to not trust Justin, but I always felt like there was a deeper story there. I wanted to like him but at the same time, even his character was annoying. All of them bothered me at one point in time. It was just really frustrating.


Library Read

I wasn’t as pleased with this book as I had hoped. It kind of took a very weird turn for me and while I wouldn’t advise AGAINST reading it, I wouldn’t go out and recommend. If this seems like a book you might enjoy, I suggest borrowing it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE DANCE OF SHADOWS


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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8 thoughts on “Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1) – Yelena Black

  1. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    Aww, sorry to hear this was a bit of a disappointment. I haven’t read it yet, but I hope to soon. I’m a sucker for anything ballet, and that cover is too awesome! But it isn’t good if the cover is the best part of the book.

  2. Ashley

    Aww man! 🙁 What a bummer. This one has such a gorgeous cover and such potential. I am also a huge fan of Center Stage and other similar movies, so I thought I might like this one! (But for the record, I was NOT crazy about Black Swan.. too weird for me.) Then the iffy reviews started pouring in and I stayed away. 🙁 It sucks that it took such a bad turn..

  3. Tara

    I reviewed this book today, too! It was kind of crazy and I didn’t like Zep AT ALL, but somehow still came out liking the book. I think there are just some genres (for me, ballet books and dystopias) that I can cut a loooooot of slack.

    1. Brittany Post author

      I’m glad you still liked it!!!! I just didn’t end up caring for the twist at the end. Glad I’m not alone on the Zep front though! I need to hop over and check out your review 🙂 🙂

  4. Fi @ Bookish Outsider

    I have had this one preordered for months because it did sound interesting! Now I’m hearing all the ‘love it or hate it’ reviews and thinking uh oh. I shall attempt to read it with an open mind, thanks for the great review!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Ah, well I hope you still love it! It’s super interesting, but I just didn’t like the way it went. Hope you like it better than I did 🙂


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