Friday, 19 October 2012

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release: February 12th 2013
Pages: 300 (Paperback)
Pre-Order: Amazon

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 Josh, 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.

As soon as I heard about this novel, I knew it had to go on my TBR list. But when I found out I had the chance to received an uncorrected proof copy? I couldn't wait. The blurb enticed me initially, promising mystery and thrills that I hope the story would deliver. And let me tell you now - it did just that, and much more.

The story basically follows the main heroine, Vanessa, as she embarks on a journey to the New York Ballet Academy where her elder sister, Margaret, mysteriously disappeared from years before. Needless to say, she isn't just there for the dance - she is there to find out what really happened to her sister. The academy and reporters insist that Margaret just ran away from home, but as Vanessa becomes more intertwined with the school, she begins to learn that maybe she didn't just disappear...and maybe she wasn't alone.

Firstly, I've got to say that as well as the blurb, I was drawn to this book because it was about ballet. Believe it or not, I used to do it every week for years, and even though I don't do it anymore, I can still remember the beauty and grace of it, and how that no matter what your weight is, when you're dancing you feel as light as a feather. I've always found ballet inspiring and majestic  and I haven't come across enough books like this - so I supposed this is an extra reason as to why I actually jumped at the chance to get this.

I'd also like to point out how utterly gorgeous the cover art is! I don't usually concentrate a lot on the book covers throughout my reviews, but this one has got to be the best I've seen all year. This, too, enticed me to the novel. It's absolutely breathtaking, and I don't think anyone can help but just stare at it. It's eye-catching, for sure.

Now on to the actual story. I absolutely adore thrillers - any book that keeps your constantly on the edge; giving you a bit of information, but not enough so that you're constantly guessing about what will happen next. Admittedly, I did spot some of the surprises coming - it was hard not to - but others were definitely shocking! There were so many different people involved in the whole scenario that you don't guess everything as you read, so with this story you will always be sat there at the end, doubled over in surprise. With the way Black wrote, you got a bit of everything - a bit of romance, a bit of suspense, a bit of dance, a bit of friendship. She managed to remember all the different aspects that were going on throughout the story, and she kept returning to them, which made Vanessa and her life seem more realistic, because there wasn't just one sole thing going on.

I also thought the characters were brilliant. I loved Vanessa. Black made her into a character that was obviously beautiful, but Vanessa never complained or constantly spoke about it. Her character was sweet, intelligent, and really just like any other teenage girl. Although the story line is also paranormal, Black wrote in the characters so well that they do seem real, despite the unrealistic things happening around them. I also really liked the two main boys; Zep was sexy and mysterious, and whenever he was in a chapter, I literally could not put it down; Justin was very unknown throughout the tale, but I found myself still drawn to his character. And last but not least, Josef - he is everything a stereotypical scary ballet teacher is meant to be. Whenever Black wrote about him, I couldn't help but shiver - his menace and power and ambition just radiated through the pages, which is an amazing talent that Black has.

Overall, I absolutely adored this book. I'm pretty sure this is her debut novel, and if this is the first thing she has to offer, then I can't wait to see the rest. The story was original and inspiring, and I've never read anything like it. For me, it was like a novel version of the famous film, Black Swan. I absolutely devoured it, and I cannot wait for the next book! If you love the paranormal and ballet, you will love this.
Rating: 5/5