Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Ramblings on Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows 
By: Yelena Black
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Author Twitter
Book Provided By: NetGalley

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.
(from goodreads)

My Ramblings:
This was such an interesting and intriguing book. I thought I knew what to expect when I started reading the book, but it took some crazy and awesome turns along the way that made the book exceed my expectation. First let me say that this book was a pretty easy sell for me in terms of picking it up. I started dancing at age 3 (I learned to be a flower!) and continued dancing, teaching and choreographing all the way through college. I still lace up my toe shoes or tap shoes as the mood strikes and dance away all my stress. I love reading books about dance so I was very excited to pick this one up. 

I was not expecting there to be so much depth and mystery in this story and I loved it. From the summary I knew that there would be something about the missing sister, but I didn't at all expect how that would play out. 

***Minor Spoilers Ahead***

So, I initially thought it would be a pretty standard mystery, laced with all the drama that comes with dancers, especially dancers of this level. I did not expect however that the story would tie in ancient folklore and magic. The way that Black ties in the history of ballet and specifically the Firebird is great. It's a beautiful ballet I thought that Black did a great job explaining the themes of the story as well as incorporating the specific lore that she needed for the more mystic elements of her plot. By tying it all together she made really believable and I found myself scouring the internet for more information about not only Firebird, but traditional dances and their ties to the occult and underworld. That's my mark of a great book, it makes you want to know more, not only about the characters or the plot, but about the world. 

I really loved how the entire plot unraveled. I went from thinking the drama at the school was typical dance drama, to thinking that the choreographer had a screw loose, to realizing that there was something seriously hinky going on at this ballet school. By the time I realized exactly how messed up the whole situation was I was so invested in the characters and the story that I bought even the more fantastical elements of the story. The twists and turns kept me guessing at who the good guys were and who the bad guys were all the way until the last page. I also thought that Black did a great job with all the dance terms and even with the feelings that dance gives you, the sense of being lost in the moment, being lost in the music and just letting go.

There was only one little plot point that I thought wasn't resolved, and it bugged me just a bit. Towards the middle of the story Vanessa decides to do a research project on the history and myths surrounding the Firebird ballet. I thought that we would get more out of that little lead, but it didn't really take us anywhere. I personally would have loved to hear more about what she found and how it helped her solve the mystery she was facing as the lead in the ballet.

I really loved how the book ended. Enough loose ends were tied up that I would have been happy if this book were a stand alone. I felt like Vanessa and her friends were left in a place that I could see that they were going to be okay. Changed forever by their whole ordeal, but okay. However, there were a few little strings left dangling that leaves it ripe for a sequel. Did Vanessa really solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance or is there more to discover there? Did Vanessa truly stop the evil that was unleashed as she danced or is there more danger around the corner? These little questions leave the story open to move forward and I'm very excited to see where it goes from here! 

Check out this fabulous trailer

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking forward to reading this book - glad to know you loved it!