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

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Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publish Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 447
Buy the Book: Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★★★

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 . . .

What's up with all these beautiful covers? I like to sit and stare at them and wonder how they were done. There is something eerily beautiful about the fact that the dancer on the main cover is alone and surrounded by fog. Let's just ignore the most beautiful part though, her tutu. Anyway, this cover illustrates both the title and the plot perfectly. It's eery, it's dark, and it's beautiful.

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black tells the story of Vanessa, a ballet dancer, who is just beginning her new life at the New York Ballet Academy. From the beginning, she isn't as interested or as in love with ballet as everyone else and the only reason she seems to be there is to find her missing sister, Margaret. But there is something different about Vanessa. Every time she dances perfectly, the world disappears. She thinks she might be crazy when no one else seems to experience it. What if she is? There is something in this elite ballet school that is turning the prima ballerinas crazy and whatever it is, Vanessa has found herself entangled in it. The answers might come too late and the truth might be further from what she assumed to be real. 

I love ballet, the body movements, the passion, and the discipline. So when I first got this book, all I could think was about how this book talked about something I adore. It turned out to be so much more than ballet. The plot started out with a girl who had determined that she had to go to this ballet school, not because she wanted to but because she felt she had to. This story developed from there, building on things that I had previously learned and leaving me guessing about what I thought was real. I love the mystery that entwined with reality. The twists throughout the story kept me on the edge of my seat and continually reading until the last page. Not to mention the fact that the writing was addicting and beautiful. It brought the darkness of the story to light and made me experience what Vanessa was.

Vanessa is a very selfless character and she demonstrates that during the story. It's very subtle sometimes but her focus always seems to be on someone other than her. She worries about people, she tries to ease pain, and she wants to be the shoulder that people cry on. I was pretty surprised that I even liked her because she almost didn't seem to have a selfish bone in her body. Typically the character's selfishness is something that is very accessible and connectable for readers but then again, this whole story was a different experience. I really love Vanessa though, she is a beautifully written character that I found myself attached to from the beginning. 

The love interests of the story were two guys Zep and Justin. 

Zep is the first guy that she is attracted to, he is the lead in the ballet, and he is the guy that everyone has a crush on. There is a lot of mystery to his character which actually makes him more appealing for girls like me. At least, I like a little mystery. I was disappointed that I didn't learn more about him by the end of the story and that a lot of the questions I gained throughout the story remained unanswered. Maybe by the end, he'll no longer be a mystery and be the guy that ends up doing the right thing. Who knows. This is my wishful thinking. 

Justin is the type of guy that annoys the main character. Okay, he's the type of guy that I am friends with just to smack him upside the head for being stupid. If he wasn't so difficult during the first half of the book, I would've been inclined to find him attractive but for the most part he came off as selfish. Sometimes though, I thought he was the greatest love interest for Vanessa. He was the most challenging for her and there was an underlying sweetness that I only got to witness for the tail end of the story. Who knows, maybe he'll grow on me as the story continues.

I wish I would've gotten to know more about the missing girls. The fact that they were such a huge part of the story was awesome but I wished I would've learned the characters' stories outside of some facts. But of course, the story was packed for time and who says the dancers won't play a bigger part in the books to come?

The story was amazing. I loved the characters, the plot, and the ballet. I would read this book again and again without a doubt.

About the author

Bailee is the type of person you would expect to find with her nose buried in a book or a notebook and a pencil in hand. She loves reading and she loves reviewing the books she reads. This is certainly becoming a passion of hers.