Book Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows cover

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Vanessa Alder has been haunted since her older sister Margaret’s disappearance. Three years later she finds herself in Margaret’s place as a standout freshman at the New York Ballet Academy. As the handsome Zeppelin Grey catches her eye and head choreographer Josef hints Vanessa could be up for the lead in the winter ballet, she’s easily caught up in the movements.

However, Vanessa isn’t there to dance. Her main goal is to find her sister. Reported as a runaway, Vanessa is positive that Margaret is lurking somewhere in New York. Yet as the pressures of dance begin to overwhelm her, Vanessa wonders if she is starting to hear and see things. There are secrets hidden within the NYBA and Vanessa will do whatever it takes to discover what happened to her sister.

This book was a real letdown. The cover? Fantastic! The blurb on the back? I need to read this now! The verdict? BOOOOOOO.

Let’s go over the reasons why. 1. The romance not only doesn’t make sense, but it makes the plot clunky and derails from a possible interesting plot. Zeppelin Grey? The name annoyed me so much I hated every scene he was in. 2. It wasn’t executed well. 3. The ending is blurry, and there are bits and characters that are completely forgotten about. This is a first in the series, but there was no alluding to ‘there’s more that lies ahead’ until the last page. 4. Vanessa as a whole is one-dimensional and her heart and soul for finding her sister isn’t followed throughout the book. It’s a mistake that could have changed the outcome of the book.  

I really wanted to like this book; it had such promise. I was excited from the prologue and cover, but this was not carried through with each chapter. I loved the idea of a dark mystery surrounding an elite dance school in New York. The beauty and grace of ballet flitting through the pages. Perhaps someone else can give it a go. I won’t be continuing the series. There isn’t enough intrigue for me to want to know what happens, but kudos to the Bloomsbury marketing team! They did a standout job! I just wish someone had held the author to the same standard as the cover design. It really could have been a perfect match. 

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