Book Reviews, Reviews

Early Review: Dance of Shadows (Yelena Black)

Review: Dance of Shadows (Yelena Black) Amazon| Goodreads

Summary (from

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

Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Length: 447 pages
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Series? Yes – Book 1 of the Dance of Shadows series
Release date: 12th Feb (UK)

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★
Readability: ★★★
Overall: Borderline ★★

My opinion:
Reading around other people’s opinions of this, it seems like Dance of Shadows is sort of like Marmite – some people raved about it, but I’ve also seen a lot of really negative reviews from people who hated it. That made me pretty nervous, but I couldn’t resist looking at it on NetGalley after I saw that cover! The plot sounded interesting enough, so i thought I might as well give it a go.

Interestingly, I wouldn’t say I loved or hated it – it was okay.  Vanessa wasn’t a character I loved, but she also wasn’t Bella Swann (I’m sorry, she does my head in).  Her continuous lack of confidence in her dancing abilities was irritating, and it would have been understandable (younger sibling etc.) if she didn’t feel perfectly confident taking on the mystery that was her sister’s disappearance.  She just felt a bit contradictory at times.  A lot of the side characters also felt really undeveloped and flat, though I’d love to know more about Justin, who felt like he could have been a really interesting character.

The romance in this was possibly the biggest let down – the blurb to me suggested that there would be a substantial romance, boys vying for her attention etc. In my opinion it was more like boy looks at Vanessa, Vanessa falls in love with him and sees the other guy in question as creepy and stalker-ish. This meant it managed to still feel like a love-triangle without being in any way satisfying!  As this is the first book in a series, I can only assume that it’ll be developed further later on.

I liked the supernatural elements to this – and the fact that for a lot of the book Vanessa wasn’t sure if things were real or if she was crazy.  The psychological elements did make it feel a bit like Black Swan (obviously compounded by the ballet association) but the fact that there was supernatural involvement made it much more interesting in my opinion.  I’m definitely curious to know what happens next, but I’ll probably wait until book 2 is available at the library rather than buying it.

Buy it? Probably one I’d personally borrow from the library rather than buy.
In a nutshell: It was okay.

Other Reviews of Dance of Shadows: Dark Faerie Tales | Nawanda Files | Books with Bite | Great Imaginations

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