Title: Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1)
Author: Yelena Black
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury (12th February 2013)
Source: Faye of A Daydreamer’s Thoughts as part of her blogoversary giveaway.
An elite academy with the darkest of secrets.
A dancer with a talent she never wanted.
A legacy she can’t escape.
Vanessa Adler is dancing in her sister’s footsteps as a student at the exclusive New York Ballet Academy. Margaret Adler disappeared three years ago and Vanessa is searching for answers.
Dance is in Vanessa’s blood, in her soul – and perhaps it holds the key to the mystery. But the academy is a sinister place, plagued by fierce rivalry and scandal. Finding her sister is going to be dangerous, and the sexy, charismatic Zeppelin Gray may lead her far beyond the truth she is looking for . . .
Rating: *** (3 stars)
DANCE OF SHADOWS by Yelena Black is the first book in the series, with a sequel coming out in Winter 2014. It tells the story of Vanessa Adler, the younger sister of Margaret Adler who attended the New York Ballet Academy and then mysteriously disappeared. Three years after this Vanessa follows in her sister’s footsteps and attends the academy, determined to unravel the mystery and find out exactly what happened to her sister.
I should probably confess that what drew me most to this book was not the mysterious disappearance of Margaret Adler, or Vanessa’s determination to find out what happened to her sister. Instead, it was the word “ballet” that really intrigued me. Before DANCE OF SHADOWS I don’t recall coming across a book that revolved around both ballet and mystery/paranormal romance. Having now read the book, it is also one of the things I most like about it. Black does a good job in balancing these aspects in the book, and it was quite fun seeing them entwine as the plot thickened.
Speaking of plot, I will say that this book did remind me a bit of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA but only in terms of themes and the atmosphere of the novel. Like most books that have an element of mystery to them, the plot of this book felt like it should be pretty straight forward but it was a nicely twisty one that kept me guessing as the story progressed. The big reveal at the end of the novel surprised me, but in a good way. Looking back there were some hints, but I totally missed them. There was a lot of potential for a love triangle to develop in this book which made me a bit wary, as they aren’t my favourite device.
I really enjoyed Black’s characterisation though. Vanessa was a really interesting character. I liked the fact that she was so determined to find her sister, though she was easily distracted from this task with the every day rigors of attending a ballet academy. Vanessa’s loyalty shone through the book, which I thought was a nice change. I also enjoyed the friends she made at the academy, and the banter between them made them was on the whole brilliantly done. Then we come to Zeppelin Gray… honestly, I found it very difficult to know what to make of him. He was certainly mysterious, but I didn’t really get much beyond that.
If you’re a ballet fan who likes paranormal romances then you should enjoy this book. Equally, if you’re a paranormal romance fan looking for something a little different then you should give this book a try.